It was about midday, and Roderick could hear them coming. He was shitting himself. He saw that there were three other bunks in the litter-strewn cell. Although the inmates were accompanied by police constables and officers, they had free reign to do whatever they wished.
Roderick could hear that they were at the door to the cell. After a combination of locks were undone, and the door finally cranked open, and he saw three tough-looking men.
“Check this out, we’ve got a new fuck buddy,” the short-cropped blonde guy who looked like he’d spent hours in the sun, exclaimed. He had the number “01752” sewn on to his uniform.
“Ooh, let’s have some of him,” Number 02448, who had pallid skin and a clean-shaven head, taunted.
The tough trio laughed menacingly.
Roderick felt a fart coming on, followed by a wet feeling on his inner leg. A moment later, he was literally shitting himself.
Number 02448 asked: “What’s that smell?”
Number 01752 added: “The poor fucker. He’s shat himself!”
The third man had his arms folded across his chest, so Roderick couldn’t see the number. He joined in: “I like a bit of shit on my cock.”
Roderick looked in his direction, shocked, and thought: Fuck this. I’d better give the guard a yell. He could smell and feel the excrement running steadily down his left leg.
He got up and found the courage to shout out: “Policeman! I need some help!” As he said it, it sounded feeble and he regretted saying it.
His cellmates carried on deriding him. After a few minutes, the smell crept beyond the cell door and made the cellmates in the nearby cells aware of what had happened.
“Who’s shat himself?”, he heard another cell inmate ask.
Roderick tried again with a different statement. “Officer.” He felt the shit creeping into his left shoe. Fuck. He was getting desperate and there was no sign that anybody had heard him. The reek was becoming overpowering. He noticed the two men giving him space and backing away as far as possible.
But the third man was uncomfortably close.
Roderick wept. He didn’t know if he would survive the menace these men posed to him in jail. A police officer came along just in time to assist – even though he had good laugh at the shit-in-the-pants episode.
Later that day, after he’d changed overalls, Roderick was allowed to make one phone call. He chose the law firm Oosthuizen and Oosthuizen. As he had no real family or friends, he dialled the lawyers’ number.
The policeman cracked a nasty comment with a dirty smirk: “Bum buddy. I’ll steer clear of your sort.”
He noticed the prisoner whose number had been obscured watching him through the partition that separated them. He winked at Roderick.
Disturbed by this, he almost couldn’t speak fast enough. He heard a female voice say on the phone: “Good afternoon, Oosthuizen and Oosthuizen. May I help you?”
He asked to speak to a lawyer who was competent in handling murder trials.
“I’ll connect you.”
He heard the call being transferred to someone he assumed was a secretary. “Miss Dee told me what you’ve requested, but Mr Oosthuizen is in court at the moment. Can you leave a number where we can call you back?”
Fuck. He didn’t expect that.
“Umm, can you ask him to come see me at the Eshowe jail?”
There was a moment’s hesitation. “What is it about?”
Roderick briefly explained his side of the case to the secretary without wasting a breath. “I realise lawyers cost a lot of money. How much will he charge?”
“You can discuss the cost of the consultation when he meets you.”
“When can he come? I’m available all the time.” He realised that he had just said something stupid.
“I’ll make an appointment in his diary. I realise it’s urgent. It’ll be next week.”
He ended the conversation. The weird man winked at him again.
At 10pm, after an early supper, which was runny mealie-meal (a sort of porridge), a watery gravy and some unidentifiable meat. It was served through a narrow slot in the door. The lights were switched off.
It was Roderick’s first night and he slid as close as he could to the wall. Then he heard a noise, like somebody getting out of bed, and then another noise.
Suddenly he felt himself being held very tight, and his mouth was bound. His struggles were to no avail. So tight was the gag that he could not utter a sound. He was manhandled, pushed to the edge of the bed and turned to face the wall.
Panicked, he tried to fight the men, but they held him fast. There was no way out.
He felt two hands rip off his underwear. He heard deep breathing behind him, and then he felt his arse split open from the insertion of something soft that grew harder. He was terrified and wriggled frantically to get rid of the thing stuck deep in his arse. But, it was no use.
Roderick felt the thing – which he was sure was a penis – working in and out and in and out. He was frantic with anger at the evil of the rape. He was powerless to do anything about it. Each struggle turned into a sob. When he felt the penis go limp, he realised the criminal had climaxed in his bottom and he felt it withdraw.
Roderick felt something dribble down his inner right leg. He immediately felt searing pain in the areas surrounding his buttocks and arse.
“Don’t tell anyone what we did, or we’ll... ” Prisoner number 02448 made the motion of slitting his throat in the pale light.
Afterwards, Roderick thought he should call out, but the threatening words horrified him. He couldn’t sleep.
The next day after the first rape, Roderick became moody and seriously depressed. It was a long week and Roderick was raped three more times in the dead of night. He desperately sought someone inside the jail to trust, but he couldn’t find anyone he could rely on. He resolved to identify the depravity to the lawyer, Oosthuizen.
The afternoon arrived and an officer advised him that a visitor was waiting for him in the meeting room.
A white man with massive eyebrows and no hair on his head or his face awaited. Roderick estimated that he was over 40. He was tall and thin, like a rake, and he wore a nondescript light-brown suit and not dissimilar coloured shirt. The tie stood out. It was orange with bright-blue spots. He was ready with an open leather folder.
“I’m Brian Oosthuizen.” Roderick noticed he had a strong Afrikaans accent.
“I hear you’re charged with murder?”
“Yes. But I have to report a crime first.” Roderick looked around him to see who was listening. He lowered his voice, and said: “I’ve been raped four times.”
“I didn’t hear you. I thought I heard you said ‘raped’?”
Roderick repeated what he said, and Oosthuizen wrote something on a folio.
“That’s a different offence that needs to be dealt with separately. Give me the details of the rape and then we’ll get to what you’re in for – alleged murder.”
Roderick went through the sordid rapes in detail. They left him feeling soiled and ashamed. He collapsed sobbing, which drew inquisitive looks from the prisoners alongside him.
Roderick could see from Oosthuizen’s clouded and dazed looks that he couldn’t work out what to do when Roderick broke down.
Roderick suffered the stares of the prisoners and moaned: “I’ll be okay.”
“That’s a serious offence,” Oosthuizen stated. “I’ll report these cases to the highest official in the police service here.”
“What good will that do?”
“You’re right.” Oosthuizen appeared to be thinking aloud to Roderick. “I’ve got a mate high up in the Durban police, outside of the jail. I’ll report it to him.”
“It’s desperately urgent. Can you call him today? I need to move so that I can be alone.”
“That won’t happen because the prison is overcrowded. I can find out if you are able to share a cell with a single individual, though.”
Roderick envisaged a person being moved against their wishes, and he hated that. He went quiet and let that sink in.
Fuck, fuck, fuck. He wished he hadn’t killed his wife. Look at the trouble into which he’d got himself.
Oosthuizen continued: “Fill me in on the alleged murder. Where were you at the time of the murder?”
“Drinking. I was out of it. I had half bottle of brandy and half of tequila.”
“How did you get home?” Oosthuizen probed.
“You drove? In that state?” Oosthuizen looked stunned. “What did you find at home?”
“A black. He killed Madelaine.”
Oosthuizen wrote something else on his folio. “How can you be sure?”
“I saw him holding a length of pipe and he repeatedly hit her on the head and shoulders,” Roderick stated.
He had it all worked out. He added: “She was dead and I left, fearing for my life. Who knew how many other blacks were in the house.”
Oosthuizen nodded and wrote more on his pages. “We need to appoint a defence attorney, because I can’t represent you in court. I suggest Olivier. He’s based in Durban and he’s excellent at defending people charged with murder.”
“How much will that cost?”
“It’s based on time.”
“Appoint him, but keep me informed of the time that Olivier spends on my case.”
“Yes. I need to tell you how the trial works. Are you ready for this? It’s very involved?”
“The trial will be before the Circuit Court here in Eshowe under the control of the Supreme Court, Durban, and before a single judge sitting with or without assessors. You’ll stay jailed in Eshowe, and you’ll move up to the High Court, which happens once a month in Eshowe.”
“God, how long will I be in here?”
“Months and months. You’ve been charged with murder, and that’s a very serious crime.”
Roderick felt the gravity of what he’d done. He was experiencing the full repercussions of his actions. “Fuck!” he said.
Oosthuizen raised his eyebrows. “Once the case is referred to the Supreme Court for trial, you will be transferred to Durban. In the first instance, it would be before a single judge, again, sitting either alone or with two assessors in Durban. Are you with me on that?”
Roderick regretted what he’d done. In a barely audible voice he asked: “What’s an assessor?”
“In serious criminal cases that appear before the High Court, such as the murder for which you’ve been charged, two assessors may be appointed to assist the judge. Assessors are usually advocates or retired magistrates. They sit... ”
“What is an ‘advocate’?”
“In general, advocates, also called counsel, are ‘briefed’ by attorneys when a specialist skill is needed in court-based litigation.
“Advocates have no direct contact with clients, and are said to be in a ‘referral’ profession. The key formal distinction, however, is the different rights with regard to the courts in which they may appear. Advocates have the right to appear in any court, while attorneys have the right to appear only in the lower courts. May I carry on?”
“They sit with the judge during the court case and listen to all of the evidence presented to the court. At the end of the court case, they give the judge their opinion. The judge does not have to listen to the assessors’ opinions, but they usually help the judge to make a decision. The assessors may also only make decisions on facts, not on the law, which is solely the authority of the judge. Are you with me so far?”
“I think so.”
“If you’re unhappy about the judgement delivered by the presiding judge, either on the facts or sentence, or both, then you would have the right to appeal. This would then be before the Full Bench, which is three judges in the Supreme Court, Durban.
“If you were still unhappy, you could appeal to the Appeal Court held in Bloemfontein. That court’s judgement is final. Are you satisfied with this?”
Roderick looked bewildered. “Not really satisfied.”
“We can go over that at a future time,” Oosthuizen stated. “Is there more that you can tell me about the murder?” he asked.
Roderick was feeling exceedingly uncomfortable. “I’m desperate to get out of the cell with those people. Really fucking desperate.”
“I’ll make that call this afternoon.” Oosthuizen received a signal from the policeman in the corner that he must leave. “I have to go.” He exited.
Roderick was left shivering with terror at the thought of going back to that cell.
The policeman, accompanied by another, held him in a vice-like grip. He unlocked the cell door and pushed Roderick roughly inside it.