Diana’s Day in Court

I overslept and rushed down in dressing gown to tell Diana I’d quickly dress. She wanted me witness to her phone call to the court about not having legal representation because she’d omitted to sign a form. I sat through time, incessant smoke, coffee, story patiently because patience was necessary to get her to court and avoid the police coming on a warrant to pick her up. I got through to the court myself and handed it over to Diana who told her tale. The woman went off to find out whether the bench had a medical document but never came back. Eventually I phoned in again to find she’d tried to but the number was unobtainable. The upshot was Diana had to go to court.

In breaks I’d cleaned my teeth, shaved, dressed to go out and finally made sandwiches and took fruit. I also hesitated over taking wine. I couldn’t find a jar to take the remnant so took the bottle and a glass while Diana phoned for a minicab because she couldn’t manoeuvre buses. In any case we were two and a half hours late for her court appearance at ten.

The foreign cab driver thought the destination was Fulham. I corrected that to Wandsworth, on the 337 bus route.

Security wouldn’t allow my wine in and spent a long time on giving me a receipt to sign while Diana stood by with all the attention off her.

Diana took the steps to the court one at a time and, since we hadn’t signed in and were being ushered to do so, one at a time back down again, in the middle of which she required something to eat to be able to think. “Can she have a sandwich?” I asked the black usher. No! she could not. She had one in the cubicle while she signed in. The headscarfed girl was not keen on the crumbs.

We were directed to seats in the foyer. Diana went out for a cigarette which she was not allowed to smoke at the top of the outdoor steps. She was brought in by a kind policeman who explained there was a warrant out for her because of her not appearing and since was here she should be put in a cell while waiting trial but because of her need for medication he’d see, on consulting the judge, what he could do to let her be. He thought she’d be released that day so I thought to stay on.

The steps to the court were mounted yet again and we sat there, me reading papers I’d brought, she commenting on bits that caught her eye and eating tangerines with her gums, until summoned. I was directed into a public gallery and to sit down. It wasn’t easy to hear. The judge first asked Diana why she hadn’t appeared and once she started he was getting the full story until he interrupted and directed her to the clerk, who read the charge and had her answer to that though she asked what was a plea since she’d omitted to make one at Richmond magistrates. The confused judge asked did she have another charge to answer. On not, he didn’t bother explaining she’d just made her plea but went onto a woman who read out a report of the crime, her brandishing a knife in the Clean Machine, and what Diana had said at it. It sounded very like what she would say in her throes. The judge decided on another hearing for sentencing after probation and medical reports were made, strongly urging Diana to secure legal representation if she had to visit the solicitor to sign a legal aid form to do so that a case might be made for the judge then to let her off with community service. A man was addressed to make photocopies of the medical paper she did have and arrange that the probation service should send her a letter for an interview as the basis for a report to the court. The judge thanked me presumably for getting her there. The man doing the photocopying asked me to stand by to explain what was what.

I retrieved my wine and took a slug to Diana’s amusement outside. In retrospect she found the highlight was the to-do over the wine though she hadn’t been amused at the time.

We decided to try getting home by public transport to save her money. It was one stop to Clapham Junction. The bus driver let her off the fare she was paying with a £20 note.

Rather than try crossing roads again, I suggested the train. She didn’t know where to insert the card and I was on the wrong side of the barrier by then. The boy on the machines helped.

The Reading train was coming to a stop at the platform as Diana climbed the stairs. We could’ve made it and next stop Richmond except she had to stop for breath.

The guard assured me he’d help at Richmond but there Diana snarled at his proffered help for a big step down while continuing to hold onto my hand. She couldn’t have done it without me, she said, and that’s true except, if she hadn’t, the police would’ve come and done it for her.


About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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