– 22 –

 

“When they told me The Trial was over I was glad. Know why? Because it’s been really, really stressful. Just being in the same room with you. So before I pass sentence, I intend to read my own victim impact statement. But first I wanna tell you something.”

Madam Chief Justice Big Grrrrl leaned forward to scrutinize the body cast. “You know what, Smith? I don’t care.”

The judge paused, then asked: “Know what I don’t care about? I don’t care if a person is black, brown — or pink with purple polka dots.”

She paused again and looked around the banquet hall, at the TV cameras and the people in the audience, allowing them to savour her wit.

“I don’t care if a person is pink with purple polka dots,” she repeated. “My country is all about inclusion. There is no place in this country for a racist like you. And if God was here she/he/it/whatever would tell you what I’m telling you now. You’re full of hate. You committed the worst hate crime Canada has witnessed for generations. And against a Jamaican.”

An angry murmur came from the crowd.

The judge’s voice rose steadily. “But you don’t seem to have much to say for yourself, do you? So just tell me, tell me what have you ever done for Canada.” With rising volume, she pressed on. “Tell me how you ever created jobs. Tell me how you ever enriched our culture. Or brought diversity.”

Smith didn’t respond. The angry murmurs grew louder.

Almost laughing for a moment, she added, “Tell me how you ever fled from oppression.”

Smith still didn’t respond. Exasperated groans joined the angry murmurs.

“I’ll make it easy for you, Smith. Just tell me one way you created a job. Or one way you enriched our culture. Just one.”

More angry noises, grunts came from the audience. With still no response from Smith, the judge resumed, louder yet.

“Let me tell you, I’ve been thinking about this sentence since The Trial began.” She was nearly shouting now, as her speech quickened. “You’re going to be so glad when you finally go to the gallows because I’ve got a punishment for you that nobody’s faced, not for hundreds and hundreds of years. You’re going to be so sorry...”

“You go, girl!” Shouts of encouragement came from the audience. “You go, girl!”

“... so sorry for the shameful, the really shameful...”

“Shame!” Someone shouted. Others repeated it. “Shame! Shame!”

“...for the truly shameful...”

“Shame! Shame!” More people joined in.

“... the really, really, truly shameful...”

“SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!” The entire audience picked it up, overwhelming the judge’s amplified voice. Smith’s body cast still sat there, silent, impassive. Infuriatingly impassive.

“SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!”

A champagne glass hit the side of the wheelchair. Still Smith didn’t move. More glasses flew through the air, crashing all around the prisoner’s dock and its impassive, infuriatingly impassive, occupant. The chant broke up into even louder, angrier shouts and threats, some women howling with rage.

Then the crowd surged forward, screaming.

The first to reach the prisoner’s dock, a celebrity anti-racist activist, swung her arm sideways to deliver a long, hard, sweeping slap to the side of the plaster-encased head.

It flew off.

Incredibly, grotesquely, the head flew off. It actually flew sideways and shattered against the judge’s dais.

The crowd froze, incredulous. The hideous, almost supernatural sight of a flying, smashing head shocked them into silence. Then something far more shocking sounded from outside the front entrance.

“BITCH! BITCH! BITCH! BITCH! BITCH! BITCH!”

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