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Lady Justice – extract from The Ambrosia Project

Judith watched Nick while Andy was speaking. After his initial limited interest in his environs, he had bowed his head, and now his eyes were half-closed too. Constance had given him a notebook and pen and urged him to jot things down if he heard anything controversial, but his hands were empty and she could see the top of the book peeking out from his pocket. Innocent until proven guilty. That was what the law said. But you had to be resilient to withstand the pressure, not only of the trial, but also the finger pointing, the absent friends, the ostracism which all accompanied such a serious accusation. As Constance had pointed out, he was fortunate he had his family to support him through this challenging time.

Lady Justice understood how hard it was to stay strong in the face of adversity. A statue in her honour stood tall on the roof of the Old Bailey, sporting a spiky crown, the scales of justice in her right hand and the sword of retribution in her left. Other iterations of Justice existed of course – other portraits and carved effigies. Many of them wore a blindfold to indicate imperviousness to outside influences like politics or celebrity culture. A well-intended but poorly thought-out metaphor, in Judith’s opinion. It was so much easier to interpret the blindfolded image as the law being unable to find its way through to the truth. No, if statues had any value at all – and they seemed to be coming in for a lot of criticism these days – then their symbolism had to be crystal clear and, for Judith, the Amazonian version of Lady Justice, standing 200 feet above their heads, said it all.

It was funny though, Judith mused, that we had no problem with the embodiment of justice being female, centuries before women were allowed to practise as lawyers, although, from her infrequent visits to church, as a child, she remembered that the Hebrews had many women judges.

Judith watched Andy sit down, the judge finish making notes and the faces of the twelve jurors turn in her direction. Even as she admonished herself for day-dreaming further than her rigid discipline regime would usually permit, she reflected upon the women who had come before her and fought so hard to sit in her seat: Ivy Williams, Helena Normanton, Stella Thomas. Harnessing all of their energies, she stood up to begin.

Published inmy journeyTeaser