Dominic sat in the dock, an absolute picture of misery. Never inspiring to look at except in well posed and prepared portraits, he was now just a crumpled mass of misery, disappointment and baffled lack of comprehension. How had it come to this ? Boris had been so nice to him, had appointed him to the Cabinet, had put his arm round his shoulders and confided that he could not possibly manage to keep the others under some sort of control without Dominic’s presence and assistance. Now Boris had disappeared, and he, Dominic, was at the Old Bailey, all too visible and the subject of innumerable articles and television pieces which once would have been so wonderful. He put his head in his hands and wept like the child that he was.
The Judge cleared his throat. He had no need to do so for bronchial reasons, he just wanted to give Raab a warning that life at the old Bailey had not stopped.
“Mr. Raab !” he began. Raab’s Counsel, already plying tissues, tried to get the man to sit up and at least try to look like an ex minister, but it was of no use, the man was broken and in pieces remained.
“Mr. Raab, I am going to pronounce sentence. Do you understand ?”
No response from Raab. “Mr. Matthews, I propose to pronounce sentence. Do you have any objection. The whole Court has heard me and knows my intention.”
“No, My Lord, we have no objection here. I think for the prisoner’s sake it would be the best course of action as he will get assistance all the sooner.”
“Mr. Raab. The Court finds you guilty as charged. You will be taken to a place of confinement at Her Majesty’s pleasure. You will be given an adequate supply of World Atlases and a country to study each day. Each following day you will be tested to determine the amount of knowledge you have been able to acquire and a new subject will be set for testing the following day. Do you understand ?”
Raab, inert, but still weeping copiously.
“Mr. Matthews, you will I trust explain the sentence to your client fully when he is somewhat recovered ?”
“Yes, My Lord, we will do our best. I think it will be difficult.”
“Indeed, Mr Matthews, a difficult and disagreeable task, but we do not always get to choose our tasks in this legal profession, do we ? I wish you and your team patience, persistence and success. The prisoner will remain in detention until he is able to show some appreciation of the World’s geography. You understand that ?
“Yes, My Lord, we understand.”
“Good. Take him down.”
Two burly security guards pick up Raab bodily, but not unkindly, and he is placed in a wheeled chair and trundled out of court. Outside, despite the police cordon, a crowd boos and throws detritus. Unintelligible cries are heard from them, among which little of sense can be distinguished, apart from the occasional shouts containing the word, “Dover”.