Monday, February 16, 2009

"they will sumpah you in the kandang"

i had to give a statement in court the other day for an abuse case i handled years ago.
somebody gave me advice on what to expect when i'm in court, "they will bring you into the kandang, and then they will sumpah you.. after they sumpah you, then you sit, and they will start asking you questions.."
those are her exact words.
what she was trying to tell me is that they will bring me onto the witness chair and ask me to angkat sumpah ..

anyway, so here's what happened. it was the first time i ever went to court for anything. i was kinda nervous. in the witness room, i saw the patient's mother, who gave me this advice, "doc, you better say your prayers.. these people sometimes play dirty, and they might voodoo you, you know. that's what happened to me last time, after the lawyer asked me the questions, i suddenly got stomach cramps, i had palpitations, and i just stuttered.. they had to postpone the trials last time! you be careful up there doc!"
umm.. right, the symptoms she described could easily be attributed to nerves, but i didnt tell her that and just nodded my head.

after a 2-hour wait, i was finally called in.
the "angkat sumpah" part went well.
then before i sat down, this lady sitting in front of the judge (the sign on her desk said she's the translator) asked me to say my name outloud.
so i did.
then they asked me to state my age outloud.
so i did.
and to my surprise, she actually repeated the number again, in a much louder voice.
umm..why is that? i had to prevent myself from smirking.
then, she asked me to state my current home address.
i was again, surprised, but did as told. the judge and lawyers copied evrything down in writing, and the judge even made me repeat the address.
umm.. ok.. i know the alleged perpetrator was in the courtroom, and although i was called in as an "expert witness", my statements would actually be working "against" him, and voodoo/black magic aside, isnt giving out my full residing address to the room "risky"? i wonder if they ask all witness in all cases to do this...
like i said..this is only my first experience in court. hopefully it's the last.

another interesting observation in there was that, there was no transcriber/stenographer available. therefore, whenever i said anything, the judge and lawyers all got busy jotting down my words.. there were no eye contacts at all at the time, and i was reminded to speak slowly cuz "we have to write down what you say". so i did, pausing once in awhile till one of them looked up to me to ask me to continue.
even the lawyer who was asking me the questions, would immediately look down again and feverishly wrote all my answers, while he/she was still standing!
it was so unlike on tv!
i felt like putting up my hand and ask "isnt there supposed to be a transcriber-person-with-the-tiny-typewriter that can help you take down everything?"

i felt soo "jakun" with everything that i was no longer nervous, and by the time we were halfway done, i was already, surprisingly, bored!
i caught myself looking at my watch and rolling my eyes once, and then realized "shoot..what if they have a cctv in here and saw me doing that?"

anyway, about 40 mins later i was released from the kandang.
hopefully that was the last time i ever have to enter such "kandangs" ;)
i dont know if my statements were actually of any help at all, or whether the case is finally closed or whether the victim (my patient) won. i also dont know for sure whether the alleged perpetrator in the case was really guilty, there is no way i can be 100% sure, unless i was actually at the scene of the crime when it happened. the only thing that was evident to me was that the girl was obviously emotionally affected, and at the time, there was medical evidence suggestive of a rape. i have no idea if the lawyers or police had any other evidence.
i can only pray for justice to be served.
and glad that i'm not a lawyer.


Mignon said...

Gosh... the title can easily be mangled into "they will sumpah you to be a katak in the kandang", see?

I'd better stop being an academic snob or I'd be sumpah-ed in another kandang in return.

You should've said your age minus ten years, then the judge probably wouldn't bat an eyelid. Heh.

A common friend of ours, who is also a medical doctor was asked to identify a suspect in a line-up a few years back. She went to the balai, innocently thought that she would be taken to a darkened room with a two-way mirror to see the line-up, like in those cop shows we watched on tv. Guess what, she had to see the line-up face to face, and she actually positively identified the perp right in front of his menacing face *shudder* Although she was pretty much safe and sound from then on, she'd lived looking over her shoulders for quite a while after that, knowing that the suspect belong(ed?) to a notorious gang.

And then we wonder why people are reluctant to come forward to help out law enforcers...

emie said...