Dec 2, 2016

Life of a Lagos Lawyer - Episode 5 (Court Room)




It’s 9:00am and we are seated in court. My client who wanted to pay me with yam and bush-meat is in the gallery. Members of his Workers Union have been trooping in to give him support; and about 18 of them are still on their way in the Union Bus. Opposing counsel, representing the Defense, is also in court, in a few minutes now, His Lordship will emerge from chambers.


In this court, His Lordship has a reputation for taking absolutely no-nonsense and a few SANs have received notable Bench- Slaps in this very hallowed chamber, like the Learned Silk who was ordered to pay N500,000 as cost for bringing a frivolous application. A not so lucky lawyer, just last week, almost had himself jailed for contempt, it had taken the pleading of the entire Bar to save him from spending the weekend at Ikoyi Prisons since it was a Friday. 

The court room is sitting quietly when three loud and slow bangs are heard, “Gboom, Gboom, Gboom” followed by the voice of the Court registrar shouting “Court”. We all rise until His Lordship takes his sit at the head of the Court room and we gradually ease into the business of the day. Our matter is number 21 on the Cause List, so I settle in for a long wait.  

My Client has sued his former employers for loss of his hearing due to his working conditions. He was the floor manager at the manufacturing company and 25 years of manning the engines had taken a toll on his hearing. His Lordship seems in a good mood today and has even cracked a few jokes. Finally, it’s our turn, I take a deep breath as the Registrar announces our matter and I am just about to make my appearance when, suddenly, the room is filled with loud gunshot sounds, as if an AK47 had just been unleashed somewhere in the corner, the Judge’s police oddly leaps out of the chair and is about to rush towards the judge when we suddenly realize, it’s a ring tone from one of the Union Member’s China Phone. 

Oh my days, I knew in that split second that this man was certainly spending the evening in Ikoyi, infact I could bet on it. His Lordship is giving the man the death stare and I am wondering why he isn’t dead already. Seize that phone, His Lordship says and Mr Union quietly hands the phone over to the Oddly. At this point I am just glad he is not my client but that doesn’t seem to matter as His Lordship’s smiling face is now replaced with the look everyone has come to know and fear. Oh God, Why me. 

I manage to run through my submissions without hiccups and Defence Counsel was stating his client’s case but the un-approving murmur from the Union Crowd was distracting. It takes only one glance at the gallery from His Lordship to silence them. Witnesses are called, trial is concluded and the matter is further adjourned for adoption of Final Written Addresses. 

My client and his mates are quite happy with proceedings, there are encouraging smiles all around as we were able to prove our case and the Defence was weak at best. Hopefully, judgment should be in our favour. I walk off to my car after a briefing with my client and I am about to open the door when I hear “Dlaw, Dlaw” from behind me and guess who is pacing towards me? It’s ……………….

Join us next weekend for another episode of “Life of a Lagos Lawyer”. An exclusive Legalnaija series. 

PLESE NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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