It is a sunny day and I am standing at the parking lot in front of the court in Nanyuki. Through the open door I see Freddy in the witness stand. He gestures wildly and cuts through the air with an imaginary panga. A police officer keeps me company. He realizes that his lunch is going up in smoke, because the interrogator is taking his time. Because I will testify about the same incident afterwards, I am not allowed to listen. Instead, I talk to the officer about crime rates, full prisons and his son who studies mathematics.
For Freddy and me it was the first time that we took part in a criminal trial. Of course we were familiair with the procedure, by means of all the crime tv series that have passed our eyes. But unlike the flashing detective work and exciting action on the screen, reality seems just slow torture. Perhaps this is why we watched 3 seasons of 24 during the past weeks.
Like in the Netherlands, suspects are entitled to a lawyer. But the lawyers that are freely provided by the government are not the best in their field. Their assistance is of little value. Also, criminals gather a lot of legal knowledge during their career. This is also true for the two men who are suspected of violently robbing us. They are no strangers to the police. In short, the suspects defended themselves and as such also interrogated us.
Our testimony was only the first hearing, the full trial will be in November when we are not here. This weekend we fly to the Netherlands for a short visit, and then on to Madagascar. However interesting the theme of criminality may be, I hope that for the time being I will have nothing to do with it…