Decko was confident going into the High Courts. They had nothing on him. They had no hard evidence.
Sure, he was as guilty as sin, but he knew how to play the game. Say nothing, deny everything.
He was a little surprised, however, when the Judge asked them to bring in the first witness.
The prosecutor walked outside and a moment later brought in Decko’s African Grey. “Our first witness, your honour,” the Solicitor explained.
“Ya can’t be serious!” mocked Decko. “Ya must be ‘aving a bleedin’ laff!”
The judge rapped his gavel. “Please inform your client to remain silent unless spoken to or I’ll have him up for contempt.”
Decko’s attorney placed a placating hand on his client’s shoulder and pleaded with him to remain quiet.
Placing the parrot cage on the witness seat, the prosecutor opened the door of the cage and allowed the bird to step out. “Place your hand on the bible and repeat after me …” he began. The bird repeated the vow verbatim, nodding his head and squawking occasionally.
“Please state your name for the members of the jury.”
“Jackie Charlton. Jackie bleedin’ Charlton.” The bird strutted forth cockily on the top of the witness box.
“Thank you Jackie, and do you know the accused standing over there?”
“Gobshite!” responded the bird.
“A simple yes will suffice, Jackie.”
“Gobshite!” Jackie repeated.
The judge intervened. “Can we procede? I’ve got a golf tournament to attend.”
“Certainly, your Honour, I’ll get swiftly to the point. Can you tell the jury, Jackie, what you saw on the night of January the 5th last year, at your home: Number 5 Upper Dawson Street, Dublin 9.”
“Death is too good fa ya! Arrkkk! Death is too bleedin’ good fa ya! I sorted ya out, good an’ proppa, ya cheatin’ slag!” The bird’s mimicry of its owner’s accent was so accurate that many of the jury turned to look sharply at the accused.
Decko’s face paled in shock. He’d been drunk at the time, but not that drunk that he couldn’t remember standing over his girlfriend’s body, knife in hand. He had shouted those very words as he glared down at the body.
“… Dat’ll be da last time ya shake ya ass at some bloke!” continued the parrot.
“Objection!” shouted Decko’s attorney, but by then the damage had already been done.
“I’ll rip ya bleedin’ head off, ya traitorous turkey!” growled Decko, lunging forward across the table.
The bird flapped its wings and took to flight, squawking loudly, “Gobshite!”
As the wardens dragged Decko towards the waiting cells, the Dubliner was ranting like a madman, “Your dead meat, Jackie, me-boy. No one grasses up Decko McGivern and lives!”
Two old ladies in the public chamber had to be treated for shock, but the faces of the jury were stony and resolute. The Northsider was going down for a very long time.