Written By: Eldergod Selven
Warning: This article was written without intention of point fingers at anyone in particular, It is based on a true event, but, No names have been divulged, and nothing was meant to point at anyone in particular, I have as far as possible made this a count of my day.
Among all the weird things going on in Mauritius, I had to expect that one coming, I happened to have been given a speeding ticket whereby I felt I didn’t deserved it.
So I thought I’ll just try instead of “just blindly paying the fine”, why not try to having a chance at a fair trial, since I had a few things i didn’t believe was right about that fine (lack of proper speed limit boards present) . So I asked the policeman to give me a form 96 so as I can have a fair chance at trial.
Fair enough, he gave me that after grumbling a bit.
So being very detailed as I am, noted down every thing, and took some pictures, and returned back to my usual life, until a few months later I got a letter, summoning me to court on some said date.
Le jour J
When I reached the court, I was pretty surprised to see that the judge was very young. I always assumed a criteria of age was attached to that post. I also noticed that she had to shout at people constantly to tell them to speak louder while here was a mike in that courtroom but it was not bloody working.
I really felt bad when a woman who underwent some kind of sexual trauma, had to be shouted at SEVERAL times to narrate the same thing over and over about what the accused did.
Does human psychology ever mean anything to these people? How do you expect people to go and ask for help from the law if the law makes it possible to ridicule you or scare you? Weird Country
The first encounter
Maybe some politeness is needed in our court, but then I realized something, my back was in horrible pain since I was inside this room for a long time already. I held my elbow against the dossier of the bench on which I was sitting, nothing rude, nothing brusque, nothing indecent, just holding elbow on a dossier, as normal as possible, and suddenly she looked at me from above, and said:
She: “Eh ou la kot ou pensE ou etE?”
Me: “Huh, moi? ”
She: “Ou dans ou salon la kisa, kot sa ou etE la?”
I straightened my back and looked at her confused, why was she telling me that? And why would she be talking in creole in the courtroom. So I decided that I better answer
Me: “Mo dans la cour”
She looked pissed off and said : “Leve ou, vinn devant”
I did just that.
She: “Kumsa 1 Facon pou sizE dans lacour sa?”
Me (still confused at the turn of events): Huh, wi, mo ledos ti p fermal.”
She: “B pas mo problem sa, mo amenn 1 sofa pou ou lot cou? Ou pensE gagne droit siz kumsa?”
Me: “DesolE, mo pann trouve okenn mention de la facon correct ki mo bizin assizE dans sa ti notice code of conduct dehor la”
Actually I was indeed following every single rules and regulation that was written on the court door, me being always picky at respecting the detailed rules of any places I am at.
Basic rules to be followed during court proceedings
These are the rules written at the entrance of the court room:
- No talking in Court during proceedings
- Any person ( Accused, Witness, Police Officer, etc) having business in Court MUST be seated INSIDE THE COURT ROOM, and not outside
- Switch off all mobile phones when entering Court premises.
- Mobile phones ringing in Court room will be confiscated and will amount to contempt of court
- Members of the public entering the court room, when proceeding have already started, must do so silently. Disturbance of court proceedings amounts to disrespect to the court, which will be liable to penalty by the magistrate.
- Anyone entering or leaving the court room during proceedings must do so discretely to avoid disturbance. This applies to any member of the public and includes Police Officers, Counsel, Attorney, etc. Unnecessary and unwarranted movements in and out of court will be sanctioned.
- All persons attending Court are requested to check on Notice board in which Court their cases are listed.
- Court wil consider a person ABSENT if at the time he/she does not present himself/herself IMMEDIATELY when his/her name is being called in Court Room. Court will still consider the person absent even if the person is present within the court premises (for example, sitting under a tree or roaming outside the court room) but not physically present in the court room.
- Anyone attending court must be dressed decently – Shorts are not allowed in Court Room.
Back to the story
In the meantime, I had no idea what to do with my hands, so I placed them in my pocket wondering why is this human wearing black coat shouting at me and why was she sounding so violent to me…
She: “ Ici ou dans MO lacour, et ou pas gagne droit siz kumsa, Mo pou donne ou 1 lamann Rs10,000 et 5 ans prison, et tir ou lamains dans ou poche kan ou koz ar moi”
Well, I thought that if she wanted to give me Rs.10,000 fine and 5 years of prison, I can’t really do anything about it, she is the judge, but why would she do that, I was a bit confused by this whole situation, since I have been like a total law abiding citizen when i got in why me???
So I just shrugged my shoulders and looked at her wondering.
She: “al dehors depi mo lacour”
I walked outside and a policeman told me that I will be called when It is my turn.
Before lunch time
Then around 11:48, I saw everyone going out of the court, i was wondering what is happening, i try to look inside the court, but she told me not to get in I couldn’t get in, but from outside when the door opened I saw that the room was empty, where did everyone go? Why wasn’t I informed of anything, what is happening? Since i was already kicked out of the courtroom and no one was inside and there was no informative board set on the door about any resume time, I thought i’ll just quickly grab something to eat, because well, I am a human being after all, and I have bodily needs, and i figured it must be lunch time for these other humans also. I met someone and asked when is the court resuming, he said 12:30, so I went to grab something to eat.
12:27: I came back to the courtroom, people were saying that she was asking for you, I got there in time, and then my name was called:
She *angry tone*: “Kot ou ti etE?”
Me:”Mo ti al ManzE”
She:” Redir sa 1 coutt?”
Me: “DesolE mo ti al manzE, mo in tann dir la cour p resume 12:30”
Now she looked really pissed off. Why should someone be pissed off if I am speaking the truth? What are we, in this society, raged at if we speak the truth? Why??? Should I have said that I had an urgent need to go to the toilet or something like that? I can’t lie why should I lie or be expected to lie????
In a sacred courtroom also no way!
In a very pissed off tone, she added:
“Eh ou la kot ou pensE ou eté la? Mo pa travail ar ou moi, warrant fini sorti lor ou nom, et ou pou gagne 5 ans for contempt to court et Rs.10,000 lamman”
Now I thought this is getting a bit too serious, this human who gets paid by tax payers, and who is a government servant with immunity is saying that she doesn’t work for the common people, why would she say that? The reasoning behind this really got me confused, I kept thinking, where is the logic, I must be missing something, so I decided to reply to her questions before she starts adding more years of jail time on me, and I decide to express myself in English then as I believe it would be easier instead of me using dual language:
My apology to the judge
So with a wandering gaze I said:
“Hmm, my deepest apologies if it seems I may have in some way infringed any rules set by this court, but it seems that I am being prejudiced about something I currently do not even have any clue of. My apologies again if my seating position was incorrect, as I mentioned earlier, I had a back pain, and I remembered never seeing any points mentioning seating position outside in the rules of that courtroom. Also to note, you told me earlier to GET OUT OF YOUR COURTROOM, and I did just that, everyone went out for lunch, I was the forgotten man outside the courtroom standing for hours and who no one felt it was good to inform me that lunch was happening between which and which time and why everyone left the courtroom. I have not in anyway intended to be of any problem here, I came to court to find help and get a fair trial”
She talked about something in such a violent tone that I didn’t even hear her question
Me: “I’m sorry I didn’t hear properly, can you repeat that.”
She: “Eh ou la, tro c’est tro, mo pa pou tirr sa warrant la vue ki ou pas ti present lerr in apell ou, Ou comprend ki lapolice pou ferme ou asterr la em”
Well I thought, she is the judge, she just made a statement and didn’t ask me a question, so I am to say yes I understand here or shrug to show that I understand, so I shrugged and stared at her wondering what is so wrong in that human why such violence in her words. Also, I sincerely didn’t hear what she said earlier that’s why I asked her to repeat (note that I did repeat when she asked me earlier on something she didn’t hear or understand properly.)
But then she just decided for some weird reasons to cancel the warrant and gave me another date to come to the court (grateful to that actually 🙂 ), and while i was walking to go
She : ”Let’s hope next time you come, you don’t end up in my courtroom, I won’t be so lenient”
I felt my fair trial chances slimming down that moment:
- Was that human being warning me that she would actually be even more negative to me the next time?
- Was that really a warning that I might not get a fair trial, will it be filled with less fact and more emotions next time?
I fear that, I always believed people can be capable of removing emotions aside and keep themselves subject focused, but maybe it is not for everyone.
And as a final advice I was told
She : ”Mr. xxxxx you are an educated man, act like one, certain actions I can let if it was done by someone who was not educated, but I simply will not tolerate such answers from you.”
The unanswered questions
Why did she said that to me, I always thought everyone whether educated or not are all equal in a court of law. Why is it because I am educated,
- I don’t have the right to reply with the truth?
- I can’t hold my elbow on a dossier because of back pain?
- I can’t eat?
Why why why, all these questions kept popping in my mind as I walked out of that courtroom. Did I miss something fundamental about our society, am I supposed to live a lie and never reply with the truth? Do I have to teach my children to lie?
I left the courtroom yes, but it somewhat made me change a bit, our human society used to be that of wild men waging war to see who is right, then we became more civilized and decided to make group decisions about who is right or not.
Then we started defining rules and decided to pay a portion of our taxes to some people who have learned those rules well and who are known to have a fine judgement to do these judgement for the society, and they shall be the highest form of “who is right or not”, but then, can we really know when there’s emotions in it or not?
No one can do anything, that’s just then I realized, yes, we are in Mauritius, we can only bow down and either be liars or well just be silent, as truly, if someone with power wants it, she can do whatever she wants it is up to them, there’s no real form of editing that. Forever it goes on it seems. Maybe as someone “illiterate” about matters of law I don’t get to know, and these facts will just remain hidden.
I will never understand this, but I only answered what I was asked honestly, and I was shouted at by someone who is supposed to be neutral, not so emotional.
Anyway, it is not my job to JUDGE, I just relate what happened like any honest citizen.