To Get It Over With

An English girl in trouble abroad, but can her lawyer help? From the old website. By Kenny Walters Sian Gallagher sat down awkwardly on the small chair set in front of the plain wooden table. If they’d asked, she would have sat down voluntarily. Perhaps the two policewomen, both of Oriental appearance, didn’t speak English. More likely, they didn’t feel the need for pleasantries and decided a firm shove would do the job just as well. Having her wrists handcuffed behind her back, Sian continued to sit uncomfortably. At least the two policewomen stood back in deference to the small bald-headed man sitting on the opposite side of the table. “Miss Gallagher, I am Cem Ho Reilly. I have been asked by the British Consulate to represent you at your trial.” “I see.” Sian peered into the grey suited lawyer’s brown tanned features, placing him at around fifty years old and of half European, half Oriental descent. The eyes were as grey as the suit and stared back at her coldly, without compassion nor any hint of the man’s inner feelings. Cem Ho Reilly, on the other hand, liked what he saw. Tall for a girl, certainly in this Malaysian jungle city, Sian Gallagher stood five feet six inches in her bare feet, was pretty in a European way and had long blonde hair that cascaded around slim shoulders. She even looked good in the prison issue grey denim trousers and orange slip-over top. Cem checked the open file in front of him. “It says here you’re twenty-two years old, born Bristol, UK, of American parents. How is that?” “My father served in the United States Air Force, met my mother in California when he was home on leave, then decided to settle in England when he got a job in the aircraft industry. My father died two years ago.” “So you are UK citizen? “Yes I am.” “Your visa says you’re here on vacation. You were apprehended at the airport customs desk with seven point five kilos of heroin contained in two plastic bags concealed in a hidden compartment at the bottom of your suitcase. That is most serious.” Sian Gallagher sighed. “I’ve been trying to tell them, it’s not mine. I know nothing about it. I’m a geology student, not a drug smuggler.” Cem Ho Reilly noted the desperation in the girl’s voice. “So, how did it get into your luggage then?” “I can only assume someone got into my hotel room in Brisbane and put it there. I was in a rush and didn’t have time to check it before I left for the airport.” “Very silly, Miss Gallagher. Mistakes like that can prove fatal when travelling to these countries.” “I’m quite aware of that, Mr Reilly. I’ve seen the signs at the airport.” “Quite so.” Cem could see tears forming in the girl’s eyes and sensed how worried she was. “Can we assume, then, your have no convictions in any country for drug offences?” Sian Gallagher looked down at the floor. The handcuffs were chafing her wrists and the small wooden chair was proving as uncomfortable as the lawyer’s questioning. “I do have one conviction in UK for possessing a small amount of cannabis.” She confessed, before adding in mitigation: “It was for my own use.” “That still doesn’t help, Miss Gallagher.” “No, I can see that.” “What of your mother, Miss Gallagher. Will she support you?” “I understand she’s flying out and should arrive tomorrow morning.” “That’s good. The courts like it when a child is supported by her family. It helps to give a measure of the person they are dealing with.” “Please be honest with me, Mr Reilly. What will happen to me? Am I really going to face the death penalty?” Cem paused thoughtfully. “I shall need to speak with your mother, Miss Gallagher. Then I shall be in a better position to go to the court and see whether some sort of compromise can be struck. I shall visit you in a couple of days to let you know how things are going.” *          *          * The Golden Dawn Hotel was a bustling place to be during the lunch time hours and even at two-thirty, when Cem Ho Reilly shared coffee with Jennifer Gallagher, they both felt the need to lean forward in their seats to avoid their conversation being overheard. “Mr Reilly, whatever it takes I want the best possible defence for my daughter. I’m not a wealthy woman but my late husband left me reasonably well provided for. I’ll sell the house, anything to save my daughter. She’s all I have left in this world.” Cem Ho Reilly smiled, as he always did when these foreigners automatically assumed everything could be solved by the application of sufficient money. Jennifer Gallagher was in many respects an older version of her daughter. Similar in height and shape, similar long blonde hair, just a few more blemishes around the eyes and mouth betrayed the lady’s forty-three years.  “Be assured, Mrs Gallagher, I shall provide your daughter with the very best defence she can have. For the moment, it is not money Sian needs as much as your support. We may have difficult decisions to make later. Your good counsel will be invaluable as will the background information you have provided me with today.” “But surely we need to get her a good barrister? Find witnesses? Prove things aren’t as they appeared when she was stopped at the airport?” “I have spoken at length with your daughter, Mrs Gallagher, as I have with you today. I’m afraid you must accept that things were only too as they appeared at the airport.” “Couldn’t the officials have lied? Couldn’t they have planted the drugs in Sian’s suitcase?” “That is very unlikely, Mrs Gallagher. The penalties for wrong-doing by government officials are very severe indeed. You can be sure they are trustworthy.” Jennifer Gallagher looked far from convinced. “When may I visit Sian, Mr Reilly? I really want to see my daughter.” “Of course you do, Mrs Gallagher. I’ll arrange for you to visit her. Try to raise her spirits. I have much work to do at the courthouse tomorrow. Perhaps we may then meet again in the evening when I will know more of what can be done.” “I suppose there’s no chance of bail?” Jennifer Gallagher stood up, and Cem hastened to follow suit with customary courtesy. “Sian is facing a capital offence, Mrs Gallagher.” “No, of course.” *          *          * “Good evening, Mrs Gallagher. Please join me.” Jennifer Gallagher sat down at the dining table and was immediately handed a menu by an attentive waiter. “Good evening, Mr Reilly. I hope you have some good news. Sian is very down at the moment, as you can imagine.” “Of course. Well, I have had a productive day, Mrs Gallagher. I hope you will feel much progress has been made. The lamb is very good here. I thoroughly recommend it.” The waiter returned and took their orders, leaving Cem Ho Reilly a few minutes to explain. “I have managed to persuade the judges that Sian is of the utmost integrity from a very fine family and would never have willingly become involved in the smuggling of drugs.” “Really? That’s fantastic news. So, they’ll let her go?” “I’m afraid it’s not quite that simple, Mrs Gallagher. The fact remains that Sian did have a considerable amount of heroin in her possession at the airport and by her own admission was extremely careless in checking her luggage. She disregarded all the advice the authorities have gone to considerable lengths to publicise throughout this part of the world.” “Yes, that’s true.” Jennifer Gallagher paused to allow a waiter to place a bowl of soup in front of her. She waited for Cem Ho Reilly to be served his starter of crispy duck before continuing. “But sentencing someone to death for carelessness seems horrendous. Surely that can’t happen?” “It most certainly can, Mrs Gallagher. However, that might also provide us with an opportunity. The judges here are tough but they are not that heartless. How is the soup?” “The soup is fine, Mr Reilly.” Sian’s mother was finding the lawyer’s slow manner becoming rather irritating. “For goodness sakes, tell me! What is going to happen to Sian?” Cem smiled. These westerners were always so impatient. “I have been able to negotiate a possible deal. This would involve Sian serving ten days imprisonment.” “Ten days? Just ten days? Well, that’s unbelievable. That’s fantastic. I can hardly it. Thank you so much, Mr Reilly.” Jennifer Gallagher’s eyes began to water with the release of so much pent up emotion. “There is a little more, Mrs Gallagher.” “What? What else?” Mrs Gallagher sensed there was something awful the lawyer had omitted to mention. “Because Sian has already been in custody five days, she will in fact only have to spend another five days in detention.” Their first course finished, a waiter cleared the crockery from in front of them and Jennifer Gallagher waited until they were alone again. “Even better, Mr Reilly. But I still have the feeling there’s something you’re not telling me.” “You are very perceptive, Mrs Gallagher. I hesitate only because I know some westerners can be a little, may I say, sensitive about such matters.” “Sensitive? About what?” “The deal I have been able to negotiate, a deal which took some considerable persuasion, may I say, means Sian would serve another five days in custody, as I said earlier.” “Yes, yes, you said, Mr Reilly. But what else?” “Before release, Sian would receive five strokes of the cane.” “Five strokes of the…. ?” Jennifer Gallagher ignored the waiter trying to place her main course in front of her. “You cannot be serious?” Cem Ho Reilly did pause long enough for another waiter to place a clean plate surrounded by a selection of traditional Chinese dishes in front of him. “I am always serious in such matters, Mrs Gallagher. But do not worry, we are not speaking of the heavy cane that is used in some instances and which has received much publicity in western newspapers. This will be quite a light cane suitable for females and office workers.” “Yes, but even so. That seems pretty awful in this day and age. Surely something can be done to get around that?” “We need to think carefully, Mrs Gallagher. Do we want to turn down what, in my opinion, is a really excellent compromise and risk the judges becoming more severe in their pronouncement? Do we want to risk them imposing a very long jail sentence? One that would be spent in a very tough prison where Sian might well experience much hardship and even the occasional beating? I beg you to consider carefully before instructing me to reopen the negotiations.” The two continued with their meal in silence while Jennifer Gallagher mulled over the lawyer’s words. It was only after they had finished the main course and the dishes had been cleared away before Sian’s mother spoke. “I see the merits in what you say, Mr Reilly, and of course we haven’t included Sian in our discussions. Perhaps we should see what she wants to do.” “Quite so, Mrs Gallagher. Quite so. However, I feel sure Sian will be very mindful of any opinion you express to her. I would ask you to be very careful when broaching the subject.” “Are you asking me to tell her?” “No. What I propose is that we go to visit Sian together, perhaps tomorrow morning. Then I can inform her of the deal that is available to her. My feeling is that it is the best deal we are going to get, so I shall be recommending she accepts. I would very much like you to support me. Are you prepared to do that?” *          *          * Just after eleven o’clock the following morning, Sian Gallagher was led into a small office and placed at a table with her mother and her lawyer seated opposite. “Can’t they take her handcuffs off?” Jennifer Gallagher asked of Cem Ho Reilly after initial greetings were exchanged. “I’m afraid that will not be allowed, Mrs Gallagher.” “Mummy was telling me you have managed to sort out some sort of deal, Mr Reilly. That’s brilliant!” “That is correct, Miss Gallagher.” Cem eyed the girl nervously. “Did your mother inform you of any of the details?” “No, just that I might be able to be released very soon.” “Well, yes, there is the possibility you could be released after serving another five days. That would make it next Tuesday.” “Wonderful! Thank you so much, Mr Reilly.” “Hold on, Miss Gallagher. I’m afraid it’s not quite so straightforward.” “Why? Would I have to sign something? Say I’m guilty of the offence, or something? That’s no problem. Are they going to deport me immediately? I can understand that.” “No, once the sentence has been served you are free to remain, and there would be nothing for you to sign, other than for the safe return of your clothes and personal effects.” “So, what’s the catch? There’s something you’re not telling me, Mr Reilly.” “Please listen carefully to what I have to say, Miss Gallagher. Think carefully before you reply.” “Okay.” Sian Gallagher’s recent elation dissipated rapidly. “Part of the proposed punishment I have been able to negotiate for you would mean that on the day of your release you would receive five strokes of the cane. The cane used would be a moderately light one, typical of the sort reserved for females.” “That’s it?” “Yes.” “Five more days in prison, then five strokes of the cane? How? Why? Where?” As the lawyer’s words sank in, so did the fear permeate through Sian Gallagher’s mind. “But they can’t! I mean, that’s horrendous.” “That is the deal, Miss Gallagher. It is the only deal on offer. I can’t deny it would be unpleasant, but surely you can see it is your best alternative?” “You can’t negotiate any other deal?” Cem Ho Reilly sighed. “I can always try, but there are never any guarantees in these matters. At best, we may be looking at a long term of imprisonment. Many years spent in a very nasty place. Insanitary conditions, hard labour, beatings even. Think very, very hard before you ask me to renegotiate, Miss Gallagher.” “Darling, I think you should think very hard.” Jennifer Gallagher reached across the table and took her daughter’s hands, then retracted hastily as the two female prison guards stepped forward to intervene. “Are you saying I should let them thrash me, mummy?” “You must make your own mind up, darling. Maybe you need to take the least unpleasant alternative.” “I don’t have any real choice, do I?” Cem Ho Reilly shrugged, while Sian’s mother looked awkwardly down at the wooden floor. “Okay.” Sian Gallagher bit her lip. *          *          * At five past eleven on the morning of the following Tuesday, Cem Ho Reilly and Jennifer Gallagher sat in Cem’s car just outside the main administrative building of the prison in which Sian was being held. “Can we go in, Mr Reilly?” “It might be better to wait here, Mrs Gallagher. There is nothing we can do to help Sian until she is released. I have been told that will be before twelve noon.” “This is just so awful.” “I am sure Sian will be quite alright, Mrs Gallagher. We must just be patient.” “But to be thrashed with a cane, Mr Reilly! A girl of her age.” “It is not a terribly heavy cane, Mrs Gallagher. Unpleasant, certainly. But I am sure Sian will be quite okay.” The two sat in silence for several long minutes before Jennifer Gallagher spoke. “Five strokes. What does that actually mean, Mr Reilly? How is it done exactly?” *          *          * At five minutes to eleven that morning, two female prison guards unlocked Sian’s cell and went inside. They carried her suitcase and a clip-board. “Please, you check the contents of your suitcase and make sure everything you own is there. Then you sign this.” The prison guard who spoke tapped the clip-board. Sian Gallagher, already unnerved by the appearance of these two female guards, knew from experience it was best to do exactly as she was told. After carefully removing the entire contents of the suitcase onto her bunk bed and looking through her belongings, it did indeed seem that all her effects were there. Little remained of the lining of the suitcase where it had been ripped to shreds by the customs people when they removed the packs of heroin. “Yes, everything is here. Where do I sign?” “Here.” The uniformed woman, a girl little older than Sian herself, held out a pen and tapped on the clip-board. Sian was not able to read the language the words were written in, but she signed on the blank space indicated. “That’s good.” The guard took back the clip-board and pen, but neither left the cell. Instead, they both stood smirking at the nervous girl. “What now?” Sian asked, confused and intimidated by their presence “Put your things back in your suitcase. You may put on your own clothes if you wish.” “Really?” Sian didn’t hesitate. The prison clothes were rough, uncomfortable and smelt of disinfectant and just for a moment she forgot her forthcoming ordeal as she changed under the watchful gaze of the prison guards and put on her own soft clean underwear. Pulling on her own blue and white check shirt felt even better and she hunted through her clothes until she found pale blue trousers that went well with the shirt. “Perhaps you just carry them?” The guard with the clip-board suggested, just as Sian bent down to put the trousers over her feet. “Why?” Sian queried, looking up into the face of the uniformed girl who was smiling broadly. “You not need them for a little while.” Now both guards were grinning down at her and Sian began to realise the meaning behind their mirth. “You pack the rest of your things in your suitcase.” “What happens now?” Sian asked, her back to the two guards as she knelt down and packed the rest of her belongings into the suitcase. She received no answer until the suitcase was packed and Sian was sitting on her bunk bed with the suitcase by her feet and the pale blue trousers draped across her lap. “You come with us.” Sian was led along a long corridor with cell doors off to either side, both guards taking hold of one of her arms and hustling her along. They stopped at the end cell on the right, opposite some stone steps leading up. “Leave your suitcase here.” Sian dropped her suitcase to one side of the open cell door and was then pushed roughly inside. She barely had a chance to take in the curious low bench inside the cell before being shoved into a tiny cage at the far end. “We come back soon.” One of the guards announced before locking the cage door. Alone, locked in this small cage at the far end of the cell, Sian finally had time to examine the strange low bench in some detail. Sturdily built of wood with two red leather padded areas, there could be little doubt as to its purpose. Sian trembled. Minutes passed with Sian becoming more and more nervous at every passing one. She’d left her watch in her suitcase with her other jewellery and now couldn’t reach it. By the time she heard approaching footsteps, her fear had almost been overtaken by a desire simply to get the ordeal over with so she could be on her way out of this wretched hell-hole. Suddenly, a short bulky male prison guard appeared in the doorway, flanked by the two female guards. The male guard, holding a wicked looking cane, approached the cage where Sian was confined while the females waited just inside the cell door. “How you want to play this?” The man asked through the bars to the cage. “You want take your punishment or you want we hold you down?” Sian gulped. The guard, a man in his fifties of Oriental appearance, looked very strong and well able to make her comply with his wishes. “I’ll take my punishment.” Sian cared little about the tremor in her voice betraying her nervousness. She knew there was no avoiding this final, painful conclusion to her miserable confinement. At least it should be over with quite quickly. “Okay. Kneel there.” The man pointed to the lower of the two padded surfaces of this strange apparatus. “Then bend over there.” The finger now pointed to the higher of the two red leather components. Sian knelt down on the red leather. At least it felt reasonably comfortable. “Do… do I have to take my knickers down?” Somehow, Sian thought it would be obligatory and preferred to perform the deed herself rather than have this powerfully built man do it for her. “It not necessary.” The man replied as Sian stared up at him with fear etched across her face. “The cane do its job well enough through those skimpy little panties.” “Right.” Sian prostrated her upper body along the upper surface and gripped the wooden uprights. Perhaps she should have been grateful she wouldn’t have to reveal her naked bottom to this man, but the fear of the impending punishment overrode such thoughts. “It good you hold tight.” The man said as he moved round to stand on Sian’s left. Moments later, Sian felt the cane tapping her lightly across the seat of her white pants. “Aaaagh!!” Suddenly the cane struck her sharply across the centre of her bottom, imbedding itself into the soft flesh and burning a searing line across both shapely buttocks. “Aaaaaaahh!!” The second stroke seemed to hit with even more venom, just a fraction of an inch below the first. The pain immediately brought tears to the corners of Sian’s eyes and she renewed her grip on the wooden supports with vigour. “Sheeeesshh!!” The caning was rhythmic, each stroke hitting the bending girl just five or six seconds after the previous one. Each brought a renewed dose of that burning sting that caused so much pain. “Eeeeeeeeeeekkhh!!” Tears now flowed down Sian’s pretty face as she screwed her face up with the intensity of the pain. This would be a lesson she would never forget. “Yeeeeeeeeeeeooowww!!” Yet another scorching stroke crashed across Sian’s tender bottom sending yet another spasm of stinging pain across her entire backside. “That done. You free to go.” By the time Sian, who was struggling to cope with the burning pain spread right across her bottom, looked round the man had disappeared from the cell, taking his awful cane with him. For the moment, the girl was too exhausted to worry about anything other than the agony of her thrashing, so she remained bent across the apparatus. “You getting up some time today?” One of the female guards asked. “Maybe she like it. Maybe she want more.” The other female guard taunted. “No, I don’t like it.” Sian managed to say as she painfully pulled herself back into a kneeling position. “That bloody hurt!” “Ooh! Naughty word from nice English girl. Perhaps we should smack her.” The second female guard teased. “No, please don’t!” Sian covered her bottom protectively with her hands, unaware the two female guards were merely having fun at her expense. “Can I go now?” “I think maybe you should put your trousers on first.” Still nervous of the two uniformed females, Sian cautiously turned towards the small metal cage and retrieved her pale blue trousers lying just inside. She put them on as quickly as she could, hindered by the soreness of her bottom, and then faced the two females. “Come along, we show you way out.” One guard led the way while the other followed on behind Sian. “Don’t forget your suitcase.” They went up the stone steps nearby and through a door and then they were in the foyer of the prison building. One guard held the door open for Sian. “Bye-bye. Perhaps we not see you back here soon?” “I hope not.” Sian replied, unable to return the apparent friendliness now displayed by the two females. *          *          * “Here she comes!” Jennifer Gallagher leapt from the car and waved to her daughter, then stood anxiously as Sian noticed her mother and started walking slowly towards the car. “Hi, mum.” “Are you okay?” Mrs Gallagher watched her daughter’s every step. “How was it?” “Painful.” Sian answered, giving her bottom another rub. “We forgot to bring cushions.” Mrs Gallagher held open the rear door for Sian and took her suitcase. Cem Ho Reilly took the suitcase in turn  and placed it in the boot of the car. “I’m sure I’ll manage, mummy.” Sian eased herself into the rear of the car, flinching only a little as her bottom met with the well-upholstered rear seat. The End © Kenny Walters 2010 Posted on Monday, October 7th, 2013 at 4:46 pm in Judicial Punishments   |  RSS feed Comments and pings are currently closed. Tags: Kenny Walters