انگوس فلمیمینگ - نویسنده داستان های مجرمانه

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فصل 10

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 3 دقیقه
  • سطح سخت

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER TEN

A year later, Angus found himself sitting in the High Court in Edinburgh, waiting for the verdict. Susie sat beside him and offered the odd comment on the various police officers present.

Angus had given his witness statement early in the trial, and since then had come most days to follow proceedings.

To his despair, the events of that day on the cliff had not unfolded as he had imagined. The case had had the lot: blackmail, jealousy and gambling.

The undeniable facts, however, were that Mark MacKenzie had indeed lost his coat button on the cliff, having met Stephen McLeod there. He admitted blackmailing Stephen. He blamed Stephen for drawing him into a lifestyle in London that he couldn’t afford and for dropping him when it no longer suited Stephen to hang around with the little island boy.

He agreed he had a motive, but he also had an alibi: someone had seen him in the village at 2.30.

Unlike Mark, Stuart McLeod didn’t have an alibi. Lurther questioning had led him to admit being on the cliff and arguing with his brother. Stephen had made unreasonable demands, wanted to stay and run the estate, which Stuart wasn’t prepared to let him do. They had struggled and Stephen had slipped. It was an accident - one Stuart would never forgive himself for.

The lines etched on Stuart’s face were enough to convince Angus he was telling the truth. But it was up to a jury to decide what the verdict would be.

It had been announced that the jury would be returning shortly with their verdict. Angus wiped his sweaty hands on his trousers and resisted the urge to leave.

After what seemed like an eternity, the jury walked in. Then the judge took his seat and asked the jury whether they had reached a verdict. The thumping of his heart prevented Angus from hearing most of what was said, at least up until the important bit.

“Do you, the jury, find the defendent proven of the first charge of murder?”

“We find the defendant not guilty of the first charge.”

Angus clamped his hand round Susie’s and held his breath.

“Do you, the jury, find the defendent proven of the second charge of involuntary culpable homicide?”

“We find the defendant not proven of the second charge.”

Stuart was being acquitted, was free, though with his reputation in tatters.

Angus felt Susie throw her arm around him, but all he could do was watch Stuart, his shoulders slumping in relief and his hands covering his face.

Time stood still a moment, until the sound of the judge’s gavel released them all.

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