Echoes from the Courtroom: The Only Things that Matters are Facts

Udoka Chukwuma

He walked into the Court with all the swagger associated with a young lawyer. He has been briefed in chambers about the matter. He has gone through all there is in the matter and basked under the belief that he is ready to do the necessary stuff

As a new wig, he knew his matter wouldn’t be the first to be called up, so he slowly looked for a seat at one corner to watch proceeding. Suit no was called up by the clerk and parties names were mentioned. Haba, it was his matter ooh. He was still wondering why it came up first when the Claimant counsel announced appearance and added SAN at the end of it.

‘Wait what, silk?’ He got up quickly and announced appearance. ‘My Lord PW1 is ready’, The SAN said. Jesu. And he thought they were here to seek leave of court to settle out of court. ’Very well learned silk’ my Lord echoed

‘Dude get it together, you can do this. Okay what should I do. Write down questions put forward and answers and seek adjournment to cross examine’ he thought. ‘Counsel are you objecting to the two letters he is tendering’. ‘Letters kwa?’ He was not even paying attention one bit. He collected the letters so it will not look like he did not know what he was doing when it was exactly what it was.

He was looking at the letters for the sake of looking so that after 5 seconds he will give it back and say ‘no objection’ my lord..’ Then his eyes went to the signature columns. He got up with the speed of light, ‘my lord I object to one of the letters. These are two different letters dated same day, signed by same person. Why is one original and the next a Photocopy? My Lord no proper foundation has been led to tender the photocopy. Wait ooh. My Lord, annexed therein is even a picture. Electronic evidence. Nothing has been done on laying foundation. I have a litany of authorities to support my stand’.

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He did not even know which foundation were to be laid or what it entails. He had zero case he knew about that. He could not even recall the sections of the Evidence Act to support him. All he knew was that something was wrong somewhere or everywhere.

‘Counsel next time be elegant in your argument’ his Lordship said. The Lordship was not even aware that he was just talking whatever comes to his head that sounded nice. ‘Learned Silk, your response’. His Lordship asked. ‘My Lord, I am surprised the original of one of the letter as well as authentication certificate for the picture is missing from my file. I will seek for a little adjournment to bring them forth’

‘My Lord, I was so ready for my cross examination, but let me indulge the learned silk this time’. He knew he was only ready to screw up  Matter was adjourned. Wait, did he just do that? Mumbled some things that came to mind and it came out sounding smart. Having sweated in odd places during his brief but illuminating encounter, he waited for his body to be dried by the AC before he swaggered back to the office to report to his boss.

One thing was now clear to him, the name or title does not affect the issue, does not win an argument, does not sway the mind of the court. All that matters are facts properly canvassed and presented


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