Judge orders switch-off in phone rage incident
AS a tearful hotel cleaner gave his testimony in court yesterday, Judge Prithviraj Fecknah looked up over his laptop where he was taking notes, ears twitching.
The unmistakable sound of a mobile phone signal yet again interfering with court number five's speaker system had caused him to lose his train of thought.
"Once again we have somebody's cellular phone on silent in this courtroom. You have all been warned to turn off your phones," he growled.
"I have had enough of this. We cannot have this interference every time a witness is giving testimony.
"I have mentioned this on 10 occasions already."
He ordered the police officers in the court room: "Get people to show you their mobile phones."
A lot of fumbling in handbags and pockets ensued as more than 100 lawyers, journalists and relatives of the accused dug out their phones for inspection, some trying to switch them off covertly.
Uniformed police made their way through the aisles inspecting phones of every description, ready to haul any offenders before the incandescent judge for contempt of court.
Amid the melee, the judge's ears pricked up again as he heard the court room door slam.
"That man," he shouted, "how was he allowed to leave the court?"
He summoned an unfortunate police man to stand before him.
"You are the police officer in charge of security at this court," he raged.
"Someone left the courtroom right in front of you. Now you better do the needful and bring that person back in front of me. I am going to deal with him for contempt.
"I must now instruct everyone to show their cellular phones before they enter the court. As of this afternoon every single person gets checked."
"Yes, my lord," said the chastened policeman.
The elusive mobile phone bandit wasn't caught, but, there was no further interference on the speakers for the rest of the day.