The Tribunal

A follow on from Katherine’s story ‘Over the Limit’, the Correctional Services Officer involved faces a disciplinary tribunal.

By Katherine Jones

“Turner, please stand.”

Lucy felt her Union Official, Anna, grip hold of her hand and saw her offer a supportive smile as she began to get to her feet. Once stood, Lucy looked across at the sombre faces of the all-male disciplinary panel who were about to pronounce sentence.

Lucy had been the Correctional Services Officer who had supervised the caning of TV sports presenter Lizzie Arnett six months ago. The leaking of the CCTV footage of Lizzie’s caning had caused a nationwide scandal and a desperate hunt for scapegoats within the Correctional Service. As she awaited the outcome of the disciplinary hearing Lucy knew that, whatever the verdict, she had played no conscious or intentional part in the leaking of the CCTV footage.

Lucy had not initially felt much sympathy for Lizzie who seemed to be a well-paid minor celebrity trying to avoid the consequences of drinking before driving. However she had warmed to Lizzie during their time together as she prepared her for her caning. The release onto the internet and coverage in the written press of the CCTV footage of the caning had horrified Lucy and had made her genuinely sorry for her inadvertent part in its release.

Lucy was suspended from duty and placed under investigation within 48 hours of the completion of Lizzie’s caning. How she had regretted allowing the good looking young man she now knew to be the journalist, John Long, posing as an IT engineer, to have control of her laptop for that crucial 20 minutes later in the day of Lizzie’s caning.

The CCTV footage was linked into Lucy’s system and Long was able to get all that he needed from it to start the circulation of the highly prized material. Lucy had also chatted very openly with Long about Lizzie’s caning and these details found their way into both tabloid and broadsheet newspapers along with still photos from the CCTV film.

Long had been working undercover for several weeks awaiting this opportunity and Lucy had met him several times and enjoyed his company. Lucy flushed with embarrassment every time she thought about how she had flirted with him on that day, using his obvious interest in Lizzie’s caning to hold his attention.

“Lucy Turner,” began Sir David Brooks, the Chair of the Panel. “This disciplinary panel, constituted under the terms of the Correctional Services Agency Act of 2016, finds all four allegations against you upheld. As a result there will be sanctions applied to you. These will have three elements:

Firstly, you will be fined the equivalent of one month’s salary,

Secondly, you will receive a final written warning regarding your future conduct and this will stay current for 18 months from today’s date,

Thirdly, you will receive 12 strokes of the cane on your bare buttocks. This part of the sentence will be executed immediately at the rising this disciplinary panel.

However, on completion of the caning your suspension from work will be lifted and you will return to you duties at a time to be agreed with local managers.

This Panel is now adjourned.

Security, please take her to the punishment suites.”

Lucy had only a very short opportunity to thank Anna for her support before two blue uniformed guards were at her side.

“I never expected a whacking,” she said, grim faced and with tears beginning to fill in her blue eyes. She offered her hands compliantly for the inevitable handcuffs and was then ushered out of the back door of the disciplinary meeting room into a short corridor. Punishment Room 3 was the destination and it was quickly visible on the left hand side. Lucy was led through its door into a small but brightly lit white walled room.

Lucy was not at all prepared for this turn of events. She had anticipated the panel would sack her as a way of proving their determination to root out the staff who had failed in the Lizzie Arnett case. She was happy to accept this as she planned to move on anyway and had accepted the offer a nursing post in Singapore.

In fact, this sentence was the worst possible option for Lucy who now realized that she would need to resign to be released from her employment with the Correctional Service. In order to achieve this, she would have to pay the fine and worst of all suffer the caning before her departure from the Service could be agreed.

Lucy’s life had changed following her suspension. The media coverage which had shown her acting very carelessly had put her relationship with her partner, James, under pressure. However, speculation on the internet about the nature of her relationship with Long was the last straw and James had finally left the house they shared a month before the disciplinary hearing. He had never agreed with her decision to change career from nursing to supporting the administration of corporal punishment and had now returned to a senior consultant’s role in a hospital in his family’s home town in Indonesia.

The offer to Lucy of a nursing post in Singapore had been set up by an old colleague, Sadie Porter, who was now working in a hospital in Queenstown. For Lucy, this seemed like the opportunity for a new beginning in a part of the world she had grown to love through her relationship with James.

Inside Punishment Room 3 was Phil Davies. He was calm and experienced and immediately signalled by a quick movement of his eyes that the security staff should leave the room. He went across to Lucy, smiled gently and then released her from the handcuffs. She felt some confidence and reassurance from Davies’ manner as she fought to hold back her tears.

“You must be Lucy Turner. Hello, I am Phillip Davies and I am the Correctional Officer who will be working with you today.”

Lucy now sat in the chair opposite Davies’ desk and acknowledged his use of the corporate script of introduction to a new client with a tiny ironic smile. She looked at the very familiar scene within the room and realized now fully that she was on the wrong side of the table from her usual situation and was just another very vulnerable and frightened young woman awaiting her punishment.

“I guess you probably know why I am here?” Lucy said blankly letting her head drop and averting Davies’ gaze.

He looked across the desk at her. She was prettier, he thought, in real life than in the hastily taken newspaper photos he had seen of her covering her face and hiding from the flash of the camera. Her long reddish-brown hair was tied back tightly and held neatly with an attractive navy floral hair claw. Lucy was 27 years old and at about 5ft 6”; she was beautifully proportioned and in the peak of condition. Her suspension from work had given her time to work out and relish long cycle rides alone.

Davies replied to her softly: “Well actually I do know why you are here and I intend look after you better than anyone I can think of. I do know what you have done but I understand your situation and have a lot of sympathy for you. I think you are a victim in this and have already suffered enough.”

“Maybe,” said Lucy as she sat back in the chair and began to tell Davies her story. He listened supportively and as they talked he got the necessary blood pressure and pulse check completed. However, once all the checks and form filling were almost done they both knew that they were nearing the business part of their brief relationship.

“Philip, you have been very sweet but I know how this works,” Lucy said. “I need you to tell me who will be conducting the punishment.”

Davies replied: “I am afraid it’s Carol Bedford.”

Lucy’s mood suddenly switched as she became silent and looked increasingly anxious. Davies avoided further eye contact and focused on the final part of his paper work. Carol Bedford had reputation as a woman who took no prisoners and Lucy felt she was unlikely to have the same amount of sympathy for her as Phil Davies had shown. Lucy’s hands moved involuntarily to begin to rub her bottom.

When there was no more paper work he could do, Davies turned to Lucy and said: “I am sorry, Lucy, but it’s time for me to call Carol and for us to go through into the caning suite.”

Lucy shrugged and said in a very quiet voice: “I know, Phil, let’s just get on with it.”

Davies concluded the brief telephone call to alert Carol Bedford, then got up and pointed Lucy through the door at the back of the room. To her surprise, this led straight into an attached, more calmly lit room dominated by a fearsome looking caning frame. Lucy had expected a further journey to the punishment room but when she realized she was already at the end of the line she was further taken aback by what she saw.

This was a caning frame the like of which she had not seen before. It was a padded A frame with a long bench as its centrepiece which had an additional padded area at its near end. Restraints hung down from both sides awaiting Lucy’s legs and hands. She realized she was about to be told to stand close to it and then be stretched tight across this frightening looking frame. It was designed so her bottom would be raised up and exposed for punishment.

Lucy decided to get herself ready for this ordeal without waiting for Davies to provide instructions. He was looking increasingly anxious anyway. She quickly removed her dark blue jacket and placed it on the desk in front of her. She loosened and then quickly refashioned the arrangement of her hair so that it was again held tight. She then took off her expensive burgundy patent leather shoes and unzipped and then dropped down to the floor her dark blue trousers.

Her momentum seemed to fade as she moved slightly uncertainly to slip her fingers inside her lacy red panties and then slide them to the floor. This delicate process complete, Davies reluctantly said to her: “I am sorry, Lucy, but you will have to remove your blouse as it is too long and might get in the way of the strokes.”

Without complaint Lucy undid the buttons and dropped the white blouse onto the red panties which lay at the top of the pile of clothes on the desk. She was now naked except for her white lacy bra.

The door then banged open and Carol Bedford came through dressed in a white coat and carrying a cane in her left hand. Lucy froze momentarily and then, determined to show no weakness, moved towards the caning frame and bent across the padding, arms outstretched towards the restraints.

Davies, having been rather paralysed by Lucy’s determination to control events, now hurried to the frame and secured her hands. He had to move her legs apart in order to strap in her ankles. All was now ready but Lucy felt she had won a small victory over the system she knew so well and asserted some control of this awful situation.

Davies looked at the stretched and straining figure in front of him and felt an over whelming sympathy as he took in the sight of her very tight bottom raised up and presented for its punishment. His eyes were mesmerized and his body fully aroused by the sight of Lucy’s most private places now completely exposed and on show to him. She lay now fully restrained with her head turned and lying on her left cheek, her auburn hair providing a stark contrast to her pale stretched skin.

For Carol Bedford, the contest was only just beginning. As a Senior Manager in the Correctional Service the events of Lizzie Arnett’s caning were a major embarrassment to her. Carol had seen the CCTV footage of the whole process and followed the coverage in the press of Lucy’s careless attitude and loose talk. She had also seen Lucy’s push on Lizzie and audible instruction to “bend over Arnett” as she strapped Lizzie into the punishment frame and felt it to be highly unprofessional and unnecessary.

However as Carol approached Lucy, now strapped tightly over the frame, her pent up anger was offset by her realization of the immense vulnerability of the brown haired 27 year old now strapped down and awaiting her punishment. As Carol prepared to deliver the strokes Lucy began to push and pull against the straps which held her and then almost tearfully call out to Carol that she had meant no harm to Lizzie Arnett and that others, mostly men, who were also culprits in the leak of the CCTV footage, were being let off without a caning.

Carol paused and said that she understood Lucy’s frustration but that her actions were careless and that she had thought Lucy’s treatment of Lizzie Arnett was unprofessional.

“Yes, I do have many real regrets and I am so sorry,” said Lucy tearfully, her pushing against the restraints gradually ceasing.

Carol took her cane into her left hand and without warning landed the first stroke. Davies, his composure regained, called out “stroke one” and continued his count as the second, third and fourth blows lashed into the flesh of Lucy’s exposed buttocks. The fifth stroke seemed to be delivered upwards by Carol and it burned into the crease low down on Lucy’s bottom.

The sixth stroke was aimed at the same place but this time caught the top of Lucy’s slim and tight thighs. She screamed and began to cry, all her defences now down. Carol Bedford, becoming uncomfortable with her task, paused to let Lucy compose herself and then landed stroke seven and eight in quick succession. Nine followed and Lucy screamed again in a mixture of anger and excruciating pain.

Carol paused again. As she had left her office to conduct the caning, Carol had told her secretary that she intended to “make that Turner women pay for her stupidity and think about her brainless actions every time she sits down for a month.”

As she looked at Lucy now, she knew that she was neither stupid nor brainless. In fact Carol had found her to be brave and determined but also full of remorse for her actions. Lucy had made a good point about others within the Service who had been taken in by Long but had not suffered any consequences. Lucy’s senior managers had literally been able to protect their own backsides, she reflected. They had however been quick to hang Lucy out to dry.

Carol looked at the scene before her and then pulled back her arm to deliver stroke ten. However it landed on Lucy’s bottom very gently. Eleven and then twelve followed, again without causing any great pain or making a mark. Carol then threw down her cane and turned to talk to Davies.

“Phil, this punishment is at an end. Please record that all 12 strokes were fully administered.” Continuing, she added: “Come on Phil, let’s get Lucy off this frame and across to the treatment room for Doctor Pearce to have a look at her. Ours is difficult work and Lucy has made mistakes but she has suffered more than enough.”

Lucy lay panting and crying as Carol and Phil began to release her. However she was desperate to talk to Carol and finally raised her head to say “thank you” in a very weak voice. As Lucy began to regain her strength and composure, Carol offered her arm to Lucy to support her as she struggled to get up.

“I am sorry we had to meet in these circumstances,” said Carol. “I hope everything works out for you.”

Half an hour later, Davies was with Lucy as she sat wrapped in a blue robe in the treatment room as they waited for Doctor Pearce. Despite the pain and feelings of humiliation, Lucy could now see that her two years with the Correctional Service was about to end and she could begin to think about her new life in Singapore.

Davies also had this thought and asked about when Lucy planned to leave the Country.

“I think I will need a few weeks to recover from this whacking,” she said. “I hadn’t planned for being in this state but I hope they will hold my job open in Singapore. I was hoping to meet Lizzie Arnett later this week but I think that will have to be postponed, “she added.

Lucy had contacted Lizzie early on in her suspension to apologise and do what she could to make amends. They had spoken at length, kept in touch and agreed to meet before Lucy left the Country.

Davies was surprised by this news and they discussed how Lizzie had managed to reinvent herself following the caning. However, Phil’s mind was really on Lucy’s trip to Singapore and as Doctor Pearce came into view he commented jokingly: “You will need to be careful over there, Lucy. Remember, they have corporal punishment for both men and women now since they changed their laws.”

Lucy smiled for the first time and replied with feeling: “Don’t worry, Phil, I can tell you I am finished with corporal punishment for the rest of my life!”

The End

© Jane Smith 2014