“No Shame” sees Stacey going through the ordeal of a trial following the aftermath of “No Virgin”. Many victims unfortunately do not get justice. Here’s an extract of the second novel.
Trial, Monday. You all set?’ Annie said.
‘So you arrive with Mum and Dad and go straight to the witness rooms. There you’ll meet your barrister, Ms Gardner, who is absolutely brilliant and has prosecuted many of our cases. Mr Parvez will be there too. Ms Gardner will go through some of the proceedings with you and then you, as a witness, will have to stay in those rooms until you are called to the stand. Your parents will be able to go into the court if they wish, although they may want to stay with you.’
I knew all this; we’d been over it before.
‘The examination by Ms Gardner will be hard. You remember that your barrister will take you through it detail by detail. She’ll have to go into embarrassing stuff, yeah?’
‘I know that.’
Annie had shown me transcripts of old cases where the barrister focused on every intimate detail.
‘And if you think that’s hard, you wait until you’re cross‑examined. Then it’ll get ten times worse.’
‘Right. I know that too.’
‘Yeah,’ Annie sighed, ‘You think you know it but you don’t really.’
‘Are you trying to cheer me up? I thought this was meant to be a last-minute pep talk.’
‘It is. I just want you to be on your guard. I’m not going to lie to you, Stacey. These people, like Martin Connaught, they will stoop to low levels to persuade the jury to believe them.’
I’m not going to lie to you. It was one of the first things Annie said to me when we met at the Rape Crisis Centre. I’d been sitting in an interview room that looked like an IKEA stand. The sofa was soft and I found myself hugging a cushion while looking at the pictures of skyscrapers on the wall. Annie came in and sat on the corner of the coffee table in front of me. I was startled by her forwardness but I was also confused by the way she looked. I’d been expecting a policewoman and I’d got some sort of hippy.
‘I’m not going to lie to you, Stacey, this will be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. I’ll help you as much as I can.’
She paused to let me speak but I had nothing to say.