At half-past midnight there was almost no traffic on Sherbrooke
Street West. A strong wind blew the thin, granular snowflakes
horizontally past the streetlights, slamming them into the sides
of buildings lining the deserted road. Gazing out a
fifteenth-story window, shielded from the storm, Robert Bratt
stood alone. He was wearing his favorite silk pajamas on the
off-chance that he would ever get to sleep again, and he sipped a
freshly poured glass of Chivas in the hope that it would help get
His thoughts were miles away from the Montreal winter that froze
the streets below him. For the briefest moment his eyes focused
on his own reflection in the window. His tall frame looked
thinner than usual tonight in the pajamas that Jeannie had bought
him for Christmas. His face was gaunt and tired-looking, his
brown hair disheveled.
He blinked a few times and quickly turned his gaze back to the
street where he spotted a lone pedestrian braving the cold night
wind. Bratt watched the man walk, bent forward, head down into
the gale, and wondered where he could be going at that time of
night. The distraction was all too brief, though, and he found
himself deep in thought again. He drank deeply from the glass in
his hand. He was having absolutely no success trying not to think
about what had happened that day.
It was a day that had begun well enough, but had turned sour very
fast. The stars must have been aligned just right for Bratt to
end up in the gallery at Nate Morris's rape trial that afternoon,
instead of being the one defending him. It was one of the few
times in the almost twenty years he had been a lawyer that he had
sat in a courtroom and watched another defense attorney at work.
It turned out to be the worst possible beginning to Bratt's week.
Nate Morris had been a good client for Bratt, well-connected and
willing to pay handsomely for his lawyer's services. Four years
earlier, Bratt had successfully defended him against an identical
accusation and Morris had naturally begged Bratt to defend him
again when he had been arrested last summer. But this time Bratt
couldn't get involved because he knew the victim; knew her very
well, in fact.
Claire Brockway had been friends with his eighteen year old
daughter, Jeannie, since they were both in pre-school. When
Bratt's wife had died eight years earlier Jeannie had begun
spending more and more time with Claire and her family, and he
had been glad to let her find some comfort there. Through their
turbulent adolescent years their friendship had survived and
When he had learned that Claire had been raped, he had shared
Jeannie's grief for her friend. That the alleged rapist had been
a former client only added to his daughter's bitterness and his
own sense of responsibility.
Bratt, of course, had refused Morris's request to represent him.
But when his partner, J.P. Leblanc, had suggested that they refer
Morris to Antoine Perron, the best lawyer they knew outside their
firm, Bratt had agreed after some hesitation. Perron was Bratt's
former protégé, a lawyer to whom he had taught all the tricks of
his trade, before going out on his own five years earlier.
Despite Bratt's connection to the victim his years of training
told him that it was only right that Morris should get the best
defense that he could afford. Jeannie hadn't really understood
that at the time. She had angrily accused him of favoring Morris
over Claire. It had taken weeks before the tension between them
had eased and, until earlier today, he had thought this issue was
As for his own caseload, Bratt had spent the previous eight weeks
fighting a seemingly endless fraud trial, plowing through mounds
of accounting books, questioning tax experts, and generally
boring himself stiff. His client was Cooper Hall, a nervous mouse
of a man who wore rumpled tweed jackets and constantly ran his
thin fingers through his even thinner hair. That those fingers
had allowed him to expertly forge enough bearer bonds to buy and
sell everyone in the courtroom several times over was one of many
confidences that he had made to Bratt, subject to attorney-client
privilege, of course.
On this very morning the seemingly interminable fraud trial had
finally ended. Judge Smythe had granted Bratt's motion to exclude
two very damaging auditor's reports since the auditor who drafted
them had not bothered showing up to testify at the trial as he
had been subpoenaed to do. It seemed that he had recently come
into a bit of money and had spontaneously moved to a seaside
villa in Costa Rica. Bratt wasn't one to look a gift-horse in the
mouth by asking where all that money had come from.
Judge Smythe's ruling had effectively brought the case for the
prosecution to a close. Bratt did not present a defense because
any claim of innocence by his client would have been an outright
lie. Bratt had never been above bending the truth when it suited
him or even ignoring it now and then, but he wasn't prepared to
suborn his client's perjury outright. Hall was such a nervous
wreck his testimony would undoubtedly have been disastrous
anyway, and that would have wasted the masterful job the lawyer
had done of destroying the credibility of the Crown's other
witnesses. Bratt knew he had a better chance of winning by
relying on his own cross-examination skills than by risking
having his client lose his case for him by testifying badly. He
always considered the cases as his own. The clients were just
there to pay him to do what he had always loved best and to
interfere as little as possible with his work.
Sam Brenton, the Crown prosecutor, had asked the judge for two
days to prepare his final arguments, not an unreasonable request
considering the twenty-six boxes of sleep-inducing documentary
evidence he'd be trying to summarize. Bratt, having been left
free to do as he wished that afternoon, decided to join Jeannie,
who had been attending Morris's trial from the morning. For the
most part he had been concerned about how Claire would do on the
stand. But another part of him, the part Bratt would never tell
Jeannie about, had just been interested in watching Perron at
Now Bratt stood alone in his apartment, wondering if he wouldn't
have been better off not going at all and not seeing what he had
seen. He should have realized how different a trial would seem
when he was on the outside looking in. With his daughter at his
side, watching her emotions rise and fall with her friend's
fortunes, he had seen a side of his profession that he had always
known existed, but never cared to think about.
Watching Claire get roughed up on the witness stand was bad
enough, but Bratt felt even worse knowing he had trained the
attorney who asked all those insinuating questions, manipulating
the victim into looking guiltier than the man accused of raping
At home now, hours after the trial, Bratt realized that his
misgivings went beyond this one particular trial. After all, if
it hadn't been Claire, it would have been somebody else's closest
friend up on the stand, somebody else's daughter testifying, and
she would have come out of the cross-examination looking just as
bad, and feeling even worse than she looked. And if Perron hadn't
been the one asking the questions, it might well have been Bratt
doing the hatchet job. It certainly wouldn't have been the first
Such a prospect had rarely bothered him before. In the past he
had considered himself a gladiator, looking down at the mangled
forms of the helpless victims of his cross-examinations, savoring
the taste of victory. He had never spent too much time worrying
about the witnesses who had fallen under his attacks. Their fate
was the prosecutor's problem.
It was winning that he had lived for, that gave him the rush that
nothing else could ever come close to. In his arena there was no
room for the softhearted or the weak-kneed, who were forever
relegated to pleading shoplifting cases at the Municipal Court.
He had always prided himself on his reputation as a "tough as
nails" attorney. It was the only way he knew to do the job that
he had loved for so many years. Yet it was now past midnight and
he was still brooding over the day's events, events that had
shaken his confidence in himself and his work. He wondered if
this wasn't some sort of punishment for his years of professional
Turning away from the window and from his own reflection he
shuffled back into his bedroom, his bare feet sliding along the
thick, cream-colored carpet. He swirled the ice in the glass
absentmindedly, the soft clinking the only sound in the otherwise
silent apartment. He sat down on the edge of his bed and thought
that the one good thing about Jeannie spending the night with
Claire was that she wouldn't be there to see him drinking again.
Then he emptied the glass in one gulp.
I haven't needed a real nightcap like that in a long time, he
thought. This shit has really gotten to me.
He stretched out on the bed, closed his eyes and waited for sleep
to come. But the only thing that came was the sound of Jeannie's
voice, yelling at him in the courthouse corridor earlier that
"YOU'RE A HEARTLESS BASTARD, JUST LIKE HIM! YOU DON'T GIVE A SHIT
WHO'S TELLING THE TRUTH AS LONG AS YOU COME OUT ON TOP."
He couldn't believe that she had spoken to him like that. He
never thought he'd have to defend his chosen profession to his
own daughter, as if he was a hired killer, not a respected
attorney. But, as harsh as her words were, it was their ring of
familiarity and truth that worried him the most.
He rolled over and pulled the comforter over his head, but there
would be no sleep on this night. Instead, the day's scene played
out in his head again and again.
Courtroom 4.05 had been nearly full that afternoon, with family,
friends, and interested members of the public in attendance.
Prior to the judge's entrance the rustle of excited whispering
had filled the cold, gray courtroom in anticipation of Claire
continuing her sometimes-explicit testimony.
Bratt sat in the front row, near the one journalist who was
covering the trial. Jeannie had told him that Claire had
testified fairly well that morning. Johanne Dulude, the Crown
prosecutor, had gently elicited from her the story of the job
interview that had ended up with a rape. Bratt was surprised to
learn that Judge Dion, a notorious misogynist, had actually
managed to avoid displaying his irritation with the
sometimes-tearful witness. The jurors, while evidently titillated
by the lurid details in Claire's morning testimony, had also
seemed sympathetic to her plight.
Finally, the judge and jurors filed in, and a low hum of
anticipation filled the room. From where he sat, Bratt could see
only part of Claire's profile as she stood in the witness box
facing Dion, with her back to the gallery. Jeannie sat at his
right, leaning forward, gazing intently at her friend.
Perron stood off to Claire's right, looking like he was waiting
for a signal to start his cross-examination. Bratt knew that the
hesitation was merely Perron relishing the moment. His
incongruously happy smile showed off his bright white teeth, the
canines somewhat longer than the norm. With his black lawyer's
robe swinging around him like a cape as he moved toward Claire,
Bratt thought he looked like a vampire about to pounce on his
However, Claire should not have been unsuspecting at all. At
Jeannie's request Bratt spent two hours with her the previous
evening going over the kinds of questions Perron would throw at
her. Claire was able to answer them about as well as he could
have expected, but with one look at her pale and tense face as
she stood in the witness stand, Bratt guessed that she had
forgotten every warning he had given her.
Perron, who was all of five foot five, moved right next to the
gangly teen-ager and Claire seemed to tower over him from her
high-heeled shoes. He certainly wasn't fazed by the height
discrepancy. He held a yellow legal pad in one hand and brushed
back his thick black hair with the other.
Dulude sat to Claire's left, tapping her pen nervously as she
waited for Perron to get started. When he finally spoke his tone
was surprisingly casual and Bratt noticed Claire's shoulders
droop slightly as she relaxed.
Big mistake, he said to himself.
"So, Miss Brockway, you had heard about Mr. Morris from one of
your girlfriends before you went for the job interview," Perron
began, his French accent barely discernable.
"Yes, that's true," Claire answered, her eyes fixed on the Bible
she had been sworn in on that morning.
"And you were told that he fancied himself a bit of a lady's
"…and that your obvious good looks would probably improve your
chances of being hired?"
Claire blushed at the compliment, and looked up at Perron's face
for the first time. "I had heard that he was always flirting with
the younger women working there. I didn't expect that it would be
any different with me."
"And you certainly dressed in a manner that would show off your
best attributes, didn't you?"
"I think anybody going for a job interview is going to try to
look their best. That's just normal."
"Well, do people try to look their best when they have to
testify in court?"
"I suppose so. Yes."
"So, why is it that today looking your best doesn't mean wearing
a short, tight leather skirt?"
Claire opened her mouth, then slowly shut it again, unsure what
to make of this question. "I didn't think it was appropriate for
a courtroom," she finally answered.
"But it was appropriate for a job interview, wasn't it?"
"I wasn't going to go there wearing my mother's old house dress."
"No, obviously not. And the blouse you were wearing that day, was
it buttoned up to your throat as your blouse is today?"
"I don't see what difference that makes."
From his right, Bratt heard Jeannie call Perron a prick under her
breath. He understood how she felt, but he could still appreciate
the way Perron worked. There was nothing particularly subtle
about the younger lawyer's strategy. Bratt could see Perron's
questions coming a mile away. Claire was so nervous, though, deep
subterfuge wasn't necessary. Bratt fidgeted in his seat, unused
to being on the sidelines of this little game, just watching.
A slight grin formed on his face as he imagined himself in
Dulude's shoes, jumping up and objecting to every second question
that Perron asked, if only to throw him off his rhythm. But he
knew there was little hope of that happening. Dulude was the type
who rarely made objections, except when she was certain they
would be sustained. She was always worried the jury would think
she had something to hide.
Bratt turned his head and saw that Jeannie was eyeing him with a
critical expression. His grin made a quick exit and, feeling
somewhat guilty for letting his mind wander, he turned his
attention back to the trial.
"So, a lot more of your cleavage was showing," Perron was saying,
"and you could tell that he was having a very good look, couldn't
"Oh yes, I could."
"But you didn't comment about it to him, did you? Or button up
your blouse a bit?"
"Well, no, I didn't."
"Did you do anything, change your seating position in any way, to
try and make it more difficult for him to have such a good look
down your blouse?"
"No, I didn't."
"No, you didn't. And wasn't Mr. Morris's interest also obvious in
the things he said to you?"
"I'll say. He wasn't the least bit shy to tell me what he was
Good old Nate, Bratt thought. Always straight to the point.
"He was very complimentary toward your figure," Perron said.
"You mean he made some disgusting remarks about my body."
"What he said disgusted you?"
"And you showed him how you felt."
"Well…I don't know if he could tell."
"Surely you got up and stormed out of the office."
"What? No, you know I didn't."
"Oh. So you stood up and slapped his face."
"I didn't do anything like that."
"Well, you must have at least told him how thoroughly disgusting
you found his comments to be."
"No. No, I may have said something, but not that."
For the first time, Perron's voice began to rise, as he leaned
even closer to Claire, his expression that of a father scolding a
young child. "As a matter of fact, you didn't say anything, did
you, Miss Brockway? As a matter of fact you were perfectly happy
to see that he was paying so much attention to you, that he was
so clearly taken in by your beauty. As a matter of…"
"I object, My Lord," Dulude finally exclaimed, surprising Bratt
who had almost forgotten her presence. "My colleague is badgering
the witness, not questioning her."
Dion's expression let everyone know that he didn't particularly
like agreeing with her, and he slowly turned his eyes toward
"Perhaps you could rephrase your question," he almost sighed, and
then raised an irritated eyebrow in Dulude's direction to see if
this satisfied her.
Bratt thought that if Dion had to hide his true feelings any
longer he surely would have burst.
The prosecutor was barely seated when Perron took up right where
he had left off.
"You really enjoyed his attention, didn't you? You liked the way
he looked at you."
"What was I supposed to say?" Claire asked, frustrated. "I needed
the job; I wasn't going to piss him off." She turned to the
judge, trying to compose herself. "I'm sorry, sir...I wasn't
going to insult him in the middle of my job interview."
Perron didn't try to hide the sarcasm in his voice as he
continued. "So you giggled like an innocent little schoolgirl,
and blushed and said, 'Oh my, you naughty man. You shouldn't say
"I never said 'naughty,'" she snapped back, just as Jeannie's
clenched fist came down on Bratt's knee. He gave a start, but
realized that his daughter wasn't even aware of what she had
done. He could see by her intense expression how wrapped up she
was in her friend's interrogation. He also couldn't ignore his
own growing feelings of unease, although he tried his best to
analyze the questions and answers objectively.
Bratt knew it wasn't the lawyer's fault that Claire was so easily
goaded into losing her temper. As much as they had tried to
prepare her ahead of time, she was making Perron's job look easy.
Bratt glanced at his watch, to see if Claire would be allowed a
reprieve from Perron's verbal assault any time soon. It was still
going to be a while before the judge called a recess. In the
meantime, she was just going to have to try her best to keep her
composure, no matter how nasty or embarrassing Perron's questions
were. There were moments, Bratt thought as the time crawled
slowly by, when nasty was the perfect word.
"Tell me, Miss Brockway, what's your bra size?" Perron asked at
This question caused several of the jurors to gasp audibly. They
looked toward Judge Dion, as if expecting him to intervene and
perhaps even chastise the impudent lawyer. The judge, said
nothing, though, and the prosecutor made no move to object. Bratt
had read Claire's statement to the police, and he was aware of
how pertinent that seemingly impertinent question was.
Claire's eyes were cast down again as she answered. "I don't
think I need to tell you that."
Perron opened his eyes wide in mock surprise. "Oh, since when are
you so shy about your measurements? You didn't hesitate to give
them to Mr. Morris during your job interview, did you? Don't
worry, I won't quote you here."
"I was stupid," Claire whispered, her voice so low now that
people sitting behind her could hardly hear her.
"I'm sorry, did you say that you were stupid?"
"I should have walked out when he asked me that. He had gone way
Perron's voice also dropped, until he almost sounded as if he
sympathized with her.
"But you didn't walk out, because you really wanted that job.
Isn't that right?"
"And his lewd remarks weren't so bad, after all, as long as you
"I figured I could live with them."
"And the staring down your blouse. You could live with that too."
"I understand that your financial situation at the time was quite
"It wasn't just that; it was a really good job. Something for the
"A really good job," Perron repeated, walking slowly away from
her and nodding his head to show that he was taking in the
implications of everything she had said. He stood facing the
jury, in a brief moment that Bratt recognized as pure theatre,
then took in a deep breath and swung around brusquely to face the
"Miss Brockway, you knew that your chances for getting hired
would be improved immeasurably if you showed up in a very
attractive outfit, didn't you?"
He strode up close to her again, all traces of his earlier
sympathetic expression gone from his face. "In fact, your
appearance was quite sexually provocative, wasn't it?"
Claire seemed taken aback by his suddenly aggressive tone and
posturing. "It…I guess it was…to him."
"Yes, to him. And that certainly wasn't accidental, was it?"
"No, I guess not."
"And not only did you intentionally dress in this sexually
provocative manner, but you went out of your way to be friendly
with him, didn't you?"
"I try to be friendly with everyone/"
"You smiled. You laughed."
"Yes. There's nothing wrong with that."
"He was doing most of the flirting."
"Miss Brockway, are you saying you didn't flirt at all?"
Claire turned her head slightly toward the front row, looking for
help, but Perron would have none of that.
"Miss Brockway, I'm over here," he barked. "Could you please
answer the question."
"Yes, I flirted."
"And I suppose your own flirtations simply slipped your mind when
you made out your statement to the police."
"I didn't think it was that important."
Perron raised his arms in another dramatic gesture, then let them
flop back down to his sides. "You didn't think it was important?
You didn't think it was important to tell the police the truth
about what happened in Mr. Morris's office?"
"I did tell the truth," Claire insisted.
"Did you really? Did you tell them that you went there bound and
determined to get that job by whatever means necessary? That you
dressed in a way you knew would turn him on? That when you saw he
was turned on you flirted shamelessly with him because you wanted
to make sure he hired you? Did you tell them any of these things
that we both know to be the truth?"
Claire said nothing for several seconds, keeping her eyes cast
downward. Bratt felt Jeannie's hand squeeze his as they waited
for her to answer. He turned to look at his daughter and was
surprised to see a tear rolling down her cheek.
Then he asked himself, Why should I be surprised? That's her
dearest friend getting kicked around up there and I'm sitting
here rating the lawyer's work. When did I become such a heartless
He squeezed Jeannie's hand in return and looked back at Claire.
He wished that there had been some way he could have spared her
this public humiliation, but it was what every witness had to
expect when stepping into a courtroom.
Finally, Claire spoke. "I didn't think…I didn't realize that's
how it would seem."
"How it would seem? Miss Brockway, I put it to you that you knew
exactly what you were doing. You were perfectly happy to see that
he was falling for you. It was exactly what you wanted, wasn't
"I never wanted that to happen."
"Didn't you? Were you really fighting so hard against it?" Perron
sneered, even more sarcastically than before. "Tell the court the
truth, Miss Brockway, did he seduce you or did you seduce him?"
Claire looked up brusquely, shocked at what Perron was
insinuating. Her voice seemed to choke, as she whispered, "No,
no." Then her body began to shake as tears spilled from her eyes,
and she sobbed, "Nobody seduced anybody! This wasn't a fucking
The air in the courtroom was heavy with stunned silence. Bratt
could see the jurors were sitting expectantly on the edge of
their seats, seemingly fascinated and thrilled at the pitiful
spectacle that was being put on for them. Even Judge Dion
momentarily lost his customarily bored expression. The only word
that came to Bratt's mind as he looked at the staring faces
around him was "bloodlust."
Claire must have felt the weight of all those eyes upon her. Her
legs gave out and she sat down hard on the small witness bench
behind her. She buried her face in her hands, but couldn't muffle
the sound as her sobs burst out.
Bratt looked away, wishing he were anywhere but there. Dulude
reached out a sympathetic hand and squeezed Claire's arm, looking
toward the judge for some commiseration. Judge Dion, however,
simply dropped his pen onto his desk, folded his arms and sat
back, rolling his eyes in exasperation.
Bratt couldn't see the expression on Nate Morris's face in the
prisoner's box at that point, but on Perron's lips there was just
a hint of a self-satisfied smirk. Bothered by the pleasure Perron
was taking in his work, Bratt decided that the young lawyer had
always been a bit too cocky for his taste.
Finally, Dulude stood to speak. "My Lord, I think this would be a
good time for a recess."
"Evidently," Dion grunted. He lifted his ponderous weight, as the
bailiff hurriedly called out, "All rise." The jurors quickly
stood and began filing out of the courtroom, whispering excitedly
among themselves. Dion strode down the stairs from his dais and
out the back door.
Jeannie pushed past Bratt to rush to her friend's side. Bratt
also moved toward the anguished witness, then stopped, unsure if
he should approach Claire or leave her with Jeannie. Just then
Perron turned toward him and flashed a knowing smile at his
mentor and fellow defense attorney. Bratt attempted to return the
smile but couldn't.
Claire took the time she needed to compose herself before the
jury reentered, but it would make little difference in the end.
Bratt found the rest of her testimony that afternoon to be
anticlimactic. Although he could see by the expressions on the
faces of several jurors that their sympathy for her was still
there, he knew that Perron had managed to plant the seed of doubt
in their minds.
When the questioning continued after the short recess Claire
seemed to lose the will to fight back and was unable to defend
herself against Perron's allegations and insinuations. His
questions led her where he wanted, and no matter what she
answered Bratt was afraid the jury would end up thinking that she
had gone to the job interview ready for some action and she had
gotten what she came for.
He thought that people hadn't changed much, twenty-first century
or not. It was still too easy to believe that the woman was a
slut and the man had simply done what any normal man in his
position would have done.
Bratt knew that, especially with Claire and Nate, these
propositions were as far from the truth as black is from white.
But when it came to getting that message across in the courtroom
there was nothing that he could do about it, and Jeannie should
have known that.
He knew it was trite, but he didn't make the rules, he just
played by them. Perron, whatever she thought of him, had merely
done the same. It was pointless for her to blame the lawyers.
But, blame them she did.
When the afternoon session had finally ended, the jury had been
left with a dozen questions that Claire could not answer. The
questions had ranged from why she wore what she wore, to why she
had waited two days before going to the police to lay charges
against Morris. Despite his sudden dislike for Perron, Bratt knew
these were perfectly fair questions, the kind every lawyer would
ask. Last night, with Jeannie and Bratt in her apartment, Claire
had been able to provide acceptable answers for all these
questions and others too. But her apartment was a million miles
away from the courtroom, and was but a distant memory to her that
Judge Dion had barely left the courtroom at the end of the day
when Claire had rushed out and headed for the nearest bathroom.
Bratt tried to put his arm around Jeannie's shoulders to comfort
her as they walked out the courtroom's double doors, and that was
when she had turned and yelled at him.
"YOU'RE A HEARTLESS BASTARD, JUST LIKE HIM! YOU DON'T GIVE A SHIT
WHO'S TELLING THE TRUTH AS LONG AS YOU COME OUT ON TOP!"
Then she turned and ran down the hallway after her best friend.
Bratt was stunned at being blamed, although he knew all too well
what Jeannie had meant. He'd had nothing to do with Claire's
mistreatment, yet he couldn't shake the sense that he was as
responsible as Perron.
He realized, with some embarrassment, that her loud voice had
drawn some amused looks from several people who had been leaving
the courtroom behind them. He was relieved that the one reporter
covering the case had continued to follow Claire as she ran down
the hallway, and so wasn't able to record Jeannie's words for
posterity. Perron, of all people, had been nearby and had heard
her, though, and he placed a hand in sympathy on Bratt's back.
"That's the problem with young girls, Bob," he said. "They can't
control their emotions."
Bratt glowered angrily, not particularly welcoming Perron's
commiseration just then. He had a strong urge to rip into him,
but stopped short when he noticed the crowd that was gathering
around the smiling lawyer, and the reporter rushing back to get
some pithy comments from Perron for the next day's papers. He
suddenly didn't have anything devastatingly clever to say.
"I gotta go, Tony," was all he could mumble, and he pushed his
way through Perron's gathering admirers and strode quickly toward
the nearest exit.
All that was left of the trial was Morris's testimony, which
would start the next morning. Having heard Morris testify with
calm and false sincerity four years earlier, Bratt knew that he'd
have no trouble getting the jurors on his side.
They would surely waste little time in acquitting him, Bratt
thought, all the while clucking to themselves over the naïve
young girl who had gotten in over her head and now was trying to
hold the older man responsible.
He was as confident of the outcome as if he had pleaded the case