Forgiving Justice

"...So it came a bit of a shock to me when I saw what was happening between Bella and Theo. No one would have guessed that anything like that could happen to us: the happy go lucky Balmers and Kensits living in the big house on the corner. But that’s the funny thing about life.
You never know what’s coming next."

Fifteen year old Natalie Balmer/Kensit has never really felt like she belongs. Throughout her childhood she was continually bounced from one home to another- whilst keeping a terrible secret that her older sister Bella was being brutally abused.
Now, living in care, seperated from her family and in a steady relationship with boyfriend Jasper, Natalie is shocked to find her past being dragged out in front of her.

Theo is back. And his story's in court.

Natalie, as the only witness to Bella and Theo's injustice, is now compelled to make a life changing decision- Keep her families together?

Or serve Bella justice and send her sister to prison?

Coming soon!




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33. Guilty.

Bella fell, as lifeless as a doll: a rag-doll; straight from her seat to the floor. It happened so quickly that I wasn't sure whether it actually happened or if it was just a figurative metaphor for the savage circumstance of sisterly betrayal.

A solitary tear fell onto my clasped hands resting on my lap. The rest of the courtroom had erupted into chaos, but my ears were closed to any voice except my own conscience.

From the corner of my eye I saw Jasper gripping Bella by her shoulders, gazing desperately into her half-open, half-closed eyes; begging a response out of her. It was a picture of absolute acceptance. Two opposing sides of the family holding each other, embracing, on mutual terms, comforting each other by realising just how terrible this whole situation was.

Lottie interrupted my calm. She stood up, panting, hot tears pouring down her perfect face. "Excuse me! I've got something to say."

The room fell silent. I slipped from the witness box silently, tiptoeing stupidly, as Lottie stared at me with furious eyes. Suddenly she pointed, not at me, but at my poor semi-conscious sister. Her voice was wobbly from the crying. "Natalie was... was lying!" She hissed. "Bella was... always violent! She was a... a mental case! She always... always attacked my brother, and us!"

Before I could utter a word, before anyone could, Lottie continued her evil speech. "What happened that night, that wasn't... self defense!" She laughed unpleasantly, "that was just the ending, the end of a never ending cycle of abuse."

My jaw dropped. Lottie: the sweet, pretty, delicate Lottie had just told perhaps the biggest pack of lies I had ever heard, slap bang in the middle of a court case. Sneering, she got down from her seat carefully and sat down as if nothing had happened. Her sister, staring straight in front of her, looked as if she was about to cry too.

All of a sudden, everything made sense.

This was all a big trick.

Chrystal and Lottie had planned this all along.

When I had expressed my somewhat disarrayed feelings about defending Theo or Bella, they had known that they had to do something. They couldn't stand to see their brother in prison, with his delicate mental health and million-dollar mansion.

Their kindness had been a great, big, ugly mask.

Chrystal hadn't stuck by Bella at all. As soon as Theo had got to her, that was it: bye bye Bella. Chrystal and Lottie had been terrified by their brother, and I realised for the first time that even now, a decade later, they still were.

I was so absorbed that at first I didn't see the Judge stand up majestically. His face was grave, and his old, worn face was creased up like a folded napkin. He cleared his throat.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. You have a difficult task ahead of you. You must consider whether or not Isabella Balmer was acting within the boundaries of the law, considering her mental fragility, and if she was wholly responsible for the severe crippling of Theodore Kensit. I would ask for you to strive for a unanimous decision either way. Thank you."

                                                              *      *      *

"All rise."

The sound of a human voice shocked me awake. I looked around me, and realised that the room was just how I had left it before I had dropped off; except the jury were re-seated in their places again, faces as sombre as a group of pall-bearers.

The Judge surveyed us all before addressing the jury once more. A young woman, possibly in her early thirties, stood up and stared straight at him.

"Have you managed to reach a unanimous verdict?"

The lady nodded. "We have, your Honour."

"On the count of causing grievous bodily harm by pushing Theodore Kensit down a flight of stairs, how do you find Isabella Balmer?"

The words affected me like a separate stab in my back. "Guilty, or not guilty?"

I held my breath, everyone did. For the first time in the entire day, the room was silent. You could hear a pin drop. Bella raised her head slowly, agonisingly; her thin eyebrows set low above her lifeless eyes, as if she knew what was going to happen, almost as if whatever happened she knew that there was no hope left either way.

The woman didn't look at Bella. She didn't look at anyone but the Judge as she breathed the word.

"Guilty."

"No!" a mad, crying, distressed Mattie ran screaming from his seat to where Bella sat, behind the glass screen. "No!" he sobbed, "You can't take her!"

"Mattie," Bella said. She put a shaking hand up to the glass to mirror his on the outside. "Mattie, I'm sorry. But these things have to happen."

Her voice was calm, soft, soothing. Bella seemed more at peace now than she had ever been the whole of her life.

"Not to you," Mattie begged, his face wet with grieving tears, "not you, Bella."

Strangely, she smiled at him. It wasn't a happy smile by any means. It was a smile that said, 'accept it'. "It's justice, Mattie. It's called forgiving justice. You might not want it to happen, but at the same time you can't stop it happening. That's why you need to accept it. Sometimes in life things just happen out of our control." She looked around the courtroom. "This is one of those times."

Mattie had been led back to his seat, sobbing and screaming by the time Bella had spoken the last word. She sat down, perfectly calmly: her arms folded together in her lap, her face open and attentive to the Judge who now spoke:

"There is no easy way to describe what happened that night other than as a tragedy. Not only did a young man suffer terrible injuries, but the three other people we have heard from during this trial have for different reasons, had their lives ruined too. Throughout today I have witnessed a family being torn apart at its' seams, and that is not the way families are meant to be." He turned to a celebrating Theo grimly. "Theodore, you were not on trial here today, but it seems like your actions that night, and undoubtedly in the past, contributed to the harm that was caused to you, and to the mental health of Ms. Balmer.

You will both have to live with this for the rest of your lives.

So instead of sentencing Bella to five years in prison, which I personally believe will do her no good, I am going to offer her a suspended sentence of three years, and a place in a Mental Health Asylum in order to improve her mental health and offer her the support that she needs.

Case closed."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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