Sleep is impossible when the following day you know you are facing the biggest experience of your life. Whilst I know I wasn't on trial and this experience was actually happening to my husband, the feelings of gut wrenching sickness for him was overwhelming. As he stood there in his suit 3 hours before we were due to be at the court, I wanted to just take the pain away for him. He is honestly, the nicest kindest man you could ever want to meet and he should never have had to experience this.
Entering the court and going through security, my heart was pounding out of my chest. I had no idea what to expect or really what was about to happen. As I looked at the listings board, there was his name ... court 4. I was secretly hoping he might not be on the list but obviously knew that was not going to be. As I stepped back and turned around, I bumped into a woman who had been reviewing the board over my shoulder, I quick apologised and walked off. This cold rush of panic quickly went over me, was that her? As I scanned the room, I had only just noticed how full the corridors were. A vast array of different people sitting on the metal chairs that lined each wall, all with the similar anxious expression, a group of gobby lads in one corner expressing their general disregard for the criminal system and lots of legal people dashing around with arms full of paperwork and their black gowns flowing behind them. As we sat outside court 4 waiting for the legal team, the remaining bit of colour dropped from Harry's face. Eventually, shortly before 10am, the barrister walked towards us. I didn't recognise her immediately as she looked so different in her wig. She explained that our judge was regarded as being quite slow and particular and she made it clear she was not happy with the judge we had been assigned. As we continued to sit there, Harry pointed to a tall man in a blue suit and explained "thats the policeman involved in my case". As he glanced over towards us, he said good morning and went into a side room. No response from Harry.
Our barrister went into the court room and a few minutes later a court official came out and shouted Harry's name at the top of her voice. He stood up and followed her in. As I was included on the defence witness list, I was unable to go in the court room until I had given evidence. The court door slammed behind him and as I watched him turn right through the window in the door, I knew he would now be in the glass cage. Tears began to pour down my face. I looked around incase anyone was watching me and realised that the corridors had emptied as the court rooms had filled and actually I was alone. At this moment, this was the most alone and powerless I had ever felt.
A short break in proceedings was had an hour later, everyone came out except Harry, who had access to a toilet in the cage. It was only a short break, apparently the judge was renowned for frequent stops, late starts and early finishes. As our barrister walked passed me, she smiled, nodded and reassuringly said "he's ok". I suddenly noticed people in every day clothing leaving court 4. I hadn't noticed these people this morning going in, who were these people? Were they just being nosey or were they something to do with the case? Was one of them her? No surely not?? 15 minutes later and they were all back in, the legal people quickly followed by this small group of normally dressed people.
Another hour and a break for lunch. Harry came out looking quite bewildered and explained he wasn't allowed to leave the court building and he had to be back in the court in one hours time. I had packed him a sandwich and as I tried to force him to eat it, I knew my attempts were futile. We went to get a coffee and I gingerly asked him what had happened. He explained, nothing really, it was just legal talk and he believed they were just formally opening the case.
The afternoon was equally as fragmented as the morning including a short break in proceedings mid afternoon and the closing of the first day by 3.30pm. The afternoon consisted of swearing the jury in and presenting them with the opening details of the case. It had taken a little longer to swear the jury in as some people had declared an issue with their ability to sit on sexual abuse cases and our barrister had removed one juror who was a police officer. The jury was made up of 7 men and 5 women of varying ages.
On the way home, Harry wanted to call in at his sisters as he knew she would be worried about him. The rest of the afternoon/evening we closed the door at home and tried to come to terms with the events of the day.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!