Jake O’Grady – Judgement Day
By Jake o’Grady
“I hereby declare that you, Kian O Donnell shall be imprisoned in a maximum security jail for the next five years for your crime” said Judge Johnson banging his gavel. “Please your honour, I’m innocent, I’m telling you the truth” said a terrified Kian. Judge Johnson ignored him and stared at his papers as if he felt guilty about the verdict. The prison officers handcuffed Kian and led him away. Kian shouted to me “Help me Ruairi, you are my only hope”. And that was the last time I saw him for a while.
Kian and I grew up living next door to each other, we went to the same pre-school, primary school, secondary school and now we were in Trinity College, Dublin together. We were always best friends and hardly ever rowed.
As I left the courthouse and headed back to Trinity College, I was finding it difficult to believe someone as good hearted as Kian would ever cross over to the dark side and steal something. Besides, what use would he have for an item as precious as the Book of Kells, it’s not as though he was involved in or has any connections to the criminal underworld.
I decided to go to the library to research criminal law, the library is situated right beside the surveillance room and then as luck would have it I noticed that the room was vacant, the security officer was obviously on his rounds. Seizing the opportunity I entered discreetly before I was noticed and I went over to the computer. Fortunately I had my USB with me and I quickly plugged my flash drive into the USB port and downloaded all the video footage from the week leading up to the robbery and then left as fast as I could before I was discovered.
Every hour I had to spare, I looked over the footage. At first everything looked pretty normal until I noticed a suspicious looking character wearing his hood up, observing the guards routine checks and looking at the Book of Kells. This character walked around until I lost view of him. I looked through other cameras but I couldn’t find him. “He must be in a blind spot” I thought with annoyance. He was extra careful to not look at or face the cameras. A few minutes later he made his way to the exit. I caught a side view glance of his face which should be enough for facial recognition I hoped. I started to notice a pattern, I kept seeing that same guy coming to the library everyday at random times until the day before the robbery happened. He came once more just before closing time the night before the book went missing. However, I did not see him leave. Is it possible he hid all night and took the book? Kian would have been the obvious suspect as he was there that night cleaning and the book was not noticed stolen until morning and yet no alarm went off. I continued watching the footage, the museum reopened the next morning as normal and there as casual as you like he walked out surrounded by the daily visitors with his backpack on his back looking bigger and fuller than it had been the previous evening when he arrived.
I knew what I had to do then. I got into my red Nissan Leaf and I drove down to the Garda station. I walked up to the front desk. “I need to speak with the Chief” I said to the secretary. “I’m sorry, he’s busy right now, maybe come again tomorrow” she said without looking away from the computer screen. “I need to see him now” I demanded raising my voice. “It is important”. By then everyone was staring at me and wondering why I was yelling.
A giant muscular man came out from one of the rooms. “What’s going on here, I heard shouting” he said in a deep, low voice. “Chief, this man insists on seeing you” the secretary said to the Chief as was drinking his cup of coffee. “I have potential evidence to the stolen Book of Kells case” I retorted. The Chief raised his eyebrows. “OK kiddo, I’ll give you a chance” he replied politely. I took out my laptop and showed him the footage. He scrolls through the tape. “I’m amazed how eagle eyed you are” he said. “I need to get this to the detectives in charge of the case and get it reopened. You may have the true culprit right here”. I left the station with a dash of hope that I was right and Kian would be freed from prison.
A week later Kian was released and all charges were dropped. The police were very sloppy with their work in my opinion, they should have been more thorough but at least justice was done in the end and his conviction was overturned. Kian could get back to college because he missed a lot of work and studying while he was detained. That day we celebrated, we played “Call of Duty” on the PS4 and ate Papa John’s pizza. We also watched the RTE News and the newsreader said: “Kian O Donnell has been released from prison this morning after being wrongly convicted by the Gardai. The actual culprit is a man named Arthur Kingsford, a known gangster and was arrested just a few hours ago. It is believed he has an accomplice, anybody with information are requested by the Gardai to call this number” and it appeared on the bottom of the screen.
All my hard work and observations finally paid off and I got my best friend back. It is important not to be too quick to judge.
Jake O’Grady, 5th Class, Esker National School, Athenry, Co. Galway