It was a bright and beautiful morning today. The golden rays of the sun gave the fertile earth a striking radiance. I serenely watched the sun ascend the sky and listened to Nick Ferrari on LBC 97.3 while taking my nephews and nieces to school. It was there where I discovered the trial of the failed London Bombings of 21/7.
Half an hour later, I was outside Belmarsh. I wanted to hear the proceedings of the case and joined a long line of TV presenters, journalists, Photographers and Cameramen all standing in the cold, outside Woolwich Crown Court. One by one, they went through the metal barriers and extensive security checks. Having placed my bag and all contents of my pocket in the screening unit, I walked through the metal detectors and they started beeping. I had to take off my jacket, re-assure him that it was my belt buckle, raise my hands and stand for a full body search just to be let in. Several police officers carrying firearms guarded the place and walked back and forth. I became anxious. What if one of them trigger-happy ones just pointed it at me?
Court Room 3. That’s where the case of the six men – Mr Ibrahim, 28, from Stoke Newington in north London, Mr Mohamed, 25, from North Kensington in west London, Mr Omar, 26, from New Southgate in north London, Mr Osman, 28, of no fixed address, Mr Asiedu, 33, of no fixed address, and Mr Yahya, 24, of Tottenham in north London – accused of plotting to murder Londoners was to be heard. I went upstairs squeezing past the swarm of journalists. I felt a bit uneasy, but went through the double-doors where a uniformed man guarded the entrance. As I approached him, he took one glance at me.
“Are you a friend, family member, relative, what?” he asked
“None,” I replied.
I was the only Somali person there. To be honest, there were three black people there altogether including me. Nevertheless, I was rather surprised by his automatic assumption that having the same complexion or similar features as the accused men makes me somehow related to them or an acquaintance.
“then, you are?” he asked inquisitively
“the Public,” I answered, emphasizing the word public. Yes, I was simply an enthusiast of the courts.
“Sorry mate, the public gallery is already filled,” he replied
“How about the press gallery?” I enquired, presenting him my press card.
“That has been filled too,” he replied, looking at me slightly puzzled.
Maybe i should have just said Family, then he would have let me in. Hmm…
Other cases of Drug trafficking etc, were to be heard in other courts, but not as interesting as this one, so I made my way home disappointed. To be there and hear the case unfold is far more rewarding than watching its review on the screen, isn’t it?