SALVATION. EPISODE 2. riginal.
...A central Australian gold mining town re-opens. Workers and their families drift in. A pretty young half-caste aboriginal has been raped. Mary's distraught widowed mother files a report on behalf of the hysterical girl.The litigants are flown in to the nearest court-of-law.
Two huge overhead fans bolted to oak convict chiselled scarred beams wobble together in an attempt to disperse the humidity. The old semi-historic building has been partitioned- against public opinion. A council sanctioned monetary 'make do'. A wheezing ineffective air-conditioner tries in vain to help supplement the struggling fans. The judge motions the court clerk to turn the distracting conditioner off. It sighs with relief. A startled hovering insect lands on the clogged up mesh protecting the overheated motor.Birds chirp in the nearby grey gums, puzzled twitching beaks pointed at the small throng of media assembled on the worn bluestone steps leading up to the closed ornate- hinged side door. Unrelenting bullants scurry around a dead cricket on the grass apron, pushing and bumping for their share of the spoils of death. One eager news reporter stands with his ear to the door, young, inexperienced, ignored by the older ranks of the media.The judge suppresses a grimace, smooths a reluctant hand over her papers,she is forty five-looks older. She picks up her glasses folding them,tapping them on the papers. She speaks softly in a practised monotone as she has done in many similar cases. She gestures at the young girl as if apologising for her inability to do what true justice demands The type of incisive justice blunted by high- priced lawyers with smooth tongues...sharp interrogation skills honed on the weak and oiled by legal outcomes documented in thinly veiled deceit and ragged edge rules
"You young lady, i feel extremely sorry for.For what you've been through...and for what the future pain and suffering of that alcohol primed night will ultimately bring. I have no doubt of that." Mary nods,looking down at the polished floor. Her nails bite hard into her clenched fists. No tears. She glances sideways, seeing the resigned look on her mother's face.Her mother shakes her head slightly, as if in rememberance of a past violent time.Irresolute, no tears.She grips her daughter's arm to still Mary's sudden trembling.
The judge deliberately stares past the confident well-dressed rapist to diminish his impending satisfaction. "What?... ME!..." The pre-rehearsed lawyer- orchestrated feigned look of innocence beyond reproach on his handsome face. "YOU!young man." Suddenly making eye contact which momentarily startles the boy. " YOU! can count your blessings; a term i apply reluctantly in this case- as a blessing is something earned. Coupled with a lack of evidence and testimony of two equally inebriated young men that you and the young lady strolled off together,i have no other option than to dismiss this case! Do not wear that scar on your hand as a badge of honour. It is beyond my jurisdiction to expel you from the town BUT to avoid further unrest and possible violence i am stongly advising you to do so sir. You are free to go. Your conscience, however small, may be unwanted baggage at this point in your life. You may apply for counselling Mary. Case dismissed." Dull curses and murmurs of scant congratulations as the court spills out onto the sidewalk.Mary pushes through the small crowd and weeps in her mother's embrace. As if to clear the stale air of past and present injustice in the courtroom the clerk throws open several stained- glass windows,shaking his head in disgust. The boy's father speaks briefly to the media, clutches his son by the shoulder and shoves him abruptly into a waiting taxi...remonstrating with him as the taxi pulls out into the traffic. A few angry fists raised. The media animal has had a lean meal.It would rest, slightly annoyed at the muted feeding ground. Impervious, unashamed, it would hunt further victims along the 'beat up' track. The bullants have eaten well.The skeleton of the cricket laid bare. A bird lands. Happy to swallow the left-overs. The judge reaches up and pulls out a heavy law book from the top shelf of her library...yanks the unfastened shelf over, stepping angrily over the scattered volumes- she storms out.......................................................to be continued.