Chapter 1

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The court room was cold and bland, everything made of deep cherry oak wood and hideous dark green carpet covering every inch of the floor. I'd never been in a court room before, and it was exactly how I'd imagined it would be apart from the scale of things - everything looked oversized, almost comically really, like it was built for giants. This room alone must've been ancient, and sound echoed eerily off the walls of the enormous room as I try to quietly take my seat.

It makes no sense as to why it's me that's nervous, it's not my court case. I'm just here as a member of the public to watch the case for school. I was told by my law teacher that it'd really help my studies next year if I went to sit in a public gallery for a Crown court hearing over the summer, and along with working to my advantage I thought it'd be really interesting as well.

A few other people joined me in the public gallery before the officials started to take their seats too; the jury, barristers and solicitors, the prosecution and defence, the clerk and usher. The chattering and shuffling that came with the room filling up put me at ease and I began to feel excited. Was it wrong to be excited to watch the possible abominable fate of another person be decided?

I looked around in awe at the experts preparing themselves for the trial, they were at the point in their careers that I was aiming for. I wanted nothing more than a successful future in the world of law, it fascinated me and always had since I was young. The more the nerves subsided, the more I wished it was me down there on that floor fighting for justice.

The professionals all began to hush suddenly and stood to their feet as the judge came through the door wearing a dark gown, a sash over his shoulder and a white wig. Like most judges he was old, maybe in his sixties, and white. He was very intellectual and serious looking as he approached his seat at his desk and nodded in appreciation to everyone around him, gesturing for them to take their seats. Everything that was going on had distracted me from the fact the defendant was now sat at the dock accompanied by what I assumed was his lawyer. I hadn't seen his face as he slipped in unnoticed, but he appeared to be young, his hair was on the long side falling to his shoulders in a mess of brown curls and he had a patterned short sleeved shirt on. His head was bowed, looking down at his hands. I could tell just from the back of him that he was probably a delinquent and this was either going to be a very juicy or very childish case.

The jury were sworn in and finally the clerk rose from his seat at the front of the court room and cleared his throat to silence the last few voices.

"Ladies and gentlemen. In the Crown court, The Queen vs Mr Harry Edward Styles. Charged as follows: one account of Arson with intent to endanger life. Offence committed on the 21st of June 2014. May I introduce to you your judge for the trial, the honourable Judge Williams."

"Thank you," Judge Williams addressed the clerk before turning to face the jury. "It is for you, the jury, to decide whether the evidence you are going to hear proves the defendant's guilt. It is your job to consider the evidence and not the law, where points of law are involved I will guide you if necessary."

The judge looks over to the two barristers sitting at their tables and they stand. "Your honour, everyone, good afternoon. I am Mr Smith and I appear on behalf of the prosecution, this here is Mr Johnson who is appearing on behalf of the defence. It is the prosecution's responsibility to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the offence that he is before the court for today," the short man explains.

"I will now proceed to open the case by outlining the offence and explaining the evidence you will be shown. At approximately ten AM on the twenty-first of June two-thousand and fourteen, Mr Styles and his two friends Mr Louis Tomlinson and Mr Zayn Malik were arrested for one count of Arson with intent to endanger life. The three nineteen year-olds were consuming a large amount of alcohol in a barn located on a field owned by Mr and Mrs Thatcher in the early hours of the morning. They proceeded to empty the remaining liquor onto the floor of the barn and set fire to it, burning it to the ground and fleeing the scene. It is believed that the men had direct intent to damage the property and knew there was a large risk of the fire spreading and putting lives at risk. All three have pleaded 'not guilty' to the charge."

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