Grudgingly, Lily almost had to admire Martin's bearing as he walked to the stand.
He looked serious but confident, as if sure he had done nothing wrong. He was immaculate in his college uniform of blazer, grey pants - and the gold and purple tie which reminded Lily of how she had been bound...His hair had been trimmed. A woman in the jury sighed audibly, a reaction to his youth, and also to his clean-cut good looks. Lily's father shouted an obscenity and was warned by the court ushers. Martin ignored him. Lily glanced at the woman who had sighed, and then at the rest of the jurors. She recognised none of them. Clearly Pemberton had insisted on a jury made up of people who were not local, to ensure the odds were not tipped in her favour. After the oath had been taken, Pemberton said: “Before we commence, it is important to remind the jury of an important fact. Martin,” - the use of his forename seemed to make him seem somehow innocent - “you have been told clearly that because of your tender years, you did not have to give evidence.” A nod. “I was, sir.” The voice was clear and steady. “Why then have you decided to give evidence?” “I wouldn't want anyone thinking I'm hiding behind the law. I want to tell everyone what happened.” “Thank you. We have already established that Miss Harris was trespassing in your grounds on the day in question. Is such trespass a frequent occurrence?” “Yes. A lot of the townspeople come into our grounds. They throw litter down, generally make a mess.” “Is that all that happens?” “No! You have to be careful of the local yobs. They hate us. Before now they've attacked us in the grounds. As well as when we go to town. We've even done charity stuff for local kids, sponsored runs and that, but they blame us for their coal pit closing. I wasn't even born when it closed!” There were murmurs of sympathy from some of the jurors.
Lily, and any local person, telling half the story. The plenty of trouble – picking trying to seduce town girls Lily's scorn.)
knew that Martin was only college students caused fights with local youths, and (sometimes successfully, to
“Had you seen Miss Harris before the day in question?” “Yes, she often cycles through our grounds. We told her she was trespassing before.” “How did she react?” Martin smiled awkwardly. “I...I couldn't repeat what she said.” Butter wouldn't melt in your mouth, you little bastard! Lily thought. “So,” Pembroke continued, “you decided on an understandable, if inadvisable, course of action.” “Yes. I know it was stupid, but...we were going to take her uniform and fly it from the school flagpole. Warn off all the people who thought our grounds were a public park or something. It was going to be like a university Rag Week stunt. Just a prank.” A couple of the jurors giggled. “Before my next question, I remind you that you are on oath. Did you plan beforehand on any sexual contact with Miss Harris?” “No. I'd hardly even kissed a girl until...that day.” “Indeed. Describe in your own words what happened when you put your plan into practise.” “We got her uniform off her. She was going apeshit- I mean mad. Saying she'd kill us. We had to tie her.” Martin paused. His breathing was more heavy. Lily realised that he was becoming aroused at the very recollection of her ravishing. “Then I looked at her. She was just wearing..those things you showed the jury. We thought under her uniform she'd be wearing a petticoat or something.” There were murmurs
from a couple of the male jurors. “I just got...well, excited. I couldn't help it. I kissed her. It was like a chain reaction. I was kissing her and my hand was on her bum – I mean her bottom.” Laughter form the jury. He pointed to Lily's underwear on the exhibit table. “Those stupid little things..they weren't clothes! got rid of them and then..” We
He looked helplessly at the jury. “it just had to be! We couldn't stop! We...did it!”
Lily's father stood up and ran towards the witness box, fists clenched. He had to be dragged out by the court ushers and police. The court was in uproar for a few minutes, but finally Pemberton could ask his next question. “Martin, you may be embarrassed by this. But before this...event, were you a virgin?” “Yes, sir. I was.” “I have no further questions.” It was the turn of Lily's counsel. “You said: we couldn't stop. We did it. But what you meant is you couldn't stop, couldn't control yourself. This poor girl was bound and held.” His voice rose. “She wanted no part of it. You raped her!” “Objection, m'lud.” Pemberton was unruffled. “Counsel is bullying the witness.” The judge frowned. “Prosecution will refrain from shouting.” “Apologies, “You forced whatever of correct? In anguish!” m'lud.” The young lawyer spoke more quietly. yourself on this girl who showed no sign consenting to your advances, is that not your lust, you had no thought for her
martin stared calmly at the jury. “It didn't feel like
that when we kissed. I had no thought for anything. I couldn't think!” Lily realised that the defence gambit, putting Martin on the stand, was working. He had thrown himself on the jury's mercy, and they were being won over. But her lawyer wasn't finished. “And were you thinking after your bestial lust was satisfied? Because you didn't release her. You were abducting her when a teacher happened by.” Martin shrugged helplessly. ”No, I wasn't thinking then! All I knew was...” He paused then said in a kind of righteous anger: “Lily Harris is mine! She belongs in my bed, and we were taking her there!” The lawyer grinned as if he had tricked an admission the youth. “No further questions.” * * *
It was time for both lawyers to make their final remarks to the jury. Lily's spoke first. “Members of the jury, Martin Bromley stands condemned out of his own mouth. Recall his words. Lily Harris is mine! She belongs in my bed, and we were taking her there! “Ponder those words, their chauvinist arrogance. To him, a woman is a mere package, to be enjoyed regardless of her wishes, then kept for his further pleasure. He intended to have her delivered to his bed as if he were ordering a pizza. And if she had arrived there, you may imagine only too well what further horrors were in store for her. “So you must not be swayed by his lack of years. He is a monster. Heaven knows how or if his victim can recover; it is probable that she will never be as she was. For the sake of justice, and the safety of all women, Bromley must lose his liberty, and so must the gang who aided him in this shocking crime.” He sat down. Pemberton stood, hands on the lapels of his suit. He paused theatrically.
“My learned friend calls Martin Bromley a monster,” he began. “In a way, he is right. Any man in this courtroom, if he is a man, has been such a 'monster'. An adolescent boy! A seething mixture of hormones, urges and emotions. Ladies of the jury, I must ask you to be sympathetic. Gentlemen, you know of the difficult, wonderful journey that Martin is making; you have made it yourselves and you can remember it. “What of Lily Harris? Remember that if she had not been breaking the law in the first place – trespassing – the entire incident would never have happened. Later, Miss Harris might have been able to talk her way out of the predicament she found herself in, if only she had been diplomatic and cool-tempered. But as we have seen during this trial, she is neither. In fact she escalated the situation, by her manner and by her near-nudity once her uniform had been removed.” He gestured towards the bra and knickers on the table. “She says that such skimpy attire is necessary for coolness and comfort. Perhaps she is right. “What is certain is that she is a sexually experienced young woman. Unlike my client, she was not a virgin before this incident. The prosecution claims she 'will never be as she was.' You have seen that she is exactly as she was: assertive, argumentative. In modern parlance, bolshy.” Lily heard her mother shout something. Pemberton only smiled again. “My learned friend speaks of – what was the phrase – further horrors, in store for Miss Harris if the abduction had succeeded. Horrors? Let us be realistic. Martin Bromley intended to carry her off and make love to her. And I use the phrase 'make love' deliberately, because at no time was she harmed. Certainly, this passionate youth, giddy with his first experience of sex, would not have given her the opportunity to sign a consent form!” A juror chuckled. “But will you condemn him simply for being a young male? Consider those words of his again. Lily Harris is mine! She belongs in my bed!” Hearing the phrase made Lily want to shout with fury. “Arrogant? Or simply a cry from the heart? The cry of an infatuated, hot-blooded boy! A boy who does not deserve
to have his life ruined and his liberty curtailed!” He had finished. One or two jurors actually began to applaud. * * *
The jury had retired, but in only a few minutes were back. Never in her life had Lily been so nervous. “Have you reached a verdict?” The foreman was asked. “We have.” “Is it the verdict of you all?” “It is.” Lily glanced at her lawyer, hope on both their faces. “Do you find Martin Piers Bromley guilty or not guilty of rape?” “Not guilty.” In the uproar, it was almost impossible to hear that all five boys had been found guilty on the charge of attempted kidnapping. The judge spoke. “Usually, it is a serious offence to try to abduct anyone. But I have heard the facts of this case. As counsel for the defence pointed out, no harm was done to the intended 'victim'. She seems to have an unfortunate attitude, and a high opinion of her own status and dignity. So in view of the circumstances, the age of the defendants, and their exemplary backgrounds, punishment would be utterly inappropriate. They are free to go, and they leave without a stain on their character.” As he left the court, surrounded by his friends and family, Martin looked across at Lily. Neither looked away until he was out of sight.