Monday, 16 November 2015

Go Your Own Way

Arcadia Meets with Her Solicitor, Siobhan Blanco
About a week after Arcadia Thiessen had been charged with the fraud offence she attended the office of her solicitor, Siobhan Blanco, and discussed her case and her situation. Blanco told Arcadia she had been in contact with the police again and had received further information about the evidence the Crown proposed to lead against Arcadia.

Blanco told Arcadia, “The police have obtained closed circuit television from the hotels you were in on your relevant work trips. That video evidence was of you and Garlick Duckworth together in the foyer and / or the restaurant and / or entering your hotel room of those hotels. That evidence coincides with the room service bills the police have collected in respect of your hotel attendance.”

“In addition, on two (2) separate occasions Duckworth was also seen with another woman at a hotel at which he stayed with you. The Crown propose to lead that evidence against Duckworth only.”

“In short the case against you, Arcadia, is that there were eight (8) relevant episodes over two (2) years (which is roughly one (1) every three (3) months). It involves $800.00 for meals made up of $50 spent by you on your meal and also $50 spent on the meal of Duckworth for each of the relevant eight (8) separate episodes you two were together.

“The Crown have calculated your accommodation at an average of $220.00 per night per hotel stay and over the eight (8) relevant episodes, it totals $1,760.”

“An expensive outcome for you for what seems to amount to $2,560. Of course that does not include the airfares your work paid to and from Sydney. They are not part of the Crown case.”

“Your offending is said to be aggravated because the aforementioned work resources of your employer were spent on your private life and divorce, which you planned with Duckworth over the course of your relationship.”

“The Crown case against Duckworth will be that he dishonestly gained the benefit of accommodation and food you provided via manipulating your work perks.”

Arcadia took a little time to reply to Blanco, “None of that sounds very good for me.”

Blanco: “That is an accurate assessment, Arcadia. The Crown case is strong and none of it speaks well of you. Knowing what I know about you, I see little prospect of you successfully defending the charge.”

Arcadia: “What does that mean for me?”

Blanco: “Of course you have the right to go to trial on that charge and put the Crown to proof. However if you are convicted after a trial, you will have lost your opportunity to demonstrate cooperation, remorse and contrition. That will mean you lose any opportunity to have your sentence discounted for those considerations. Alternatively if you were to plead guilty to the charge, it could be said to the court that your plea of guilty at an early stage demonstrated cooperation, remorse and contrition on your part and saved the Crown the expense of having to prove the case against you. Your sentence could be discounted accordingly and that may mean the difference of you staying out of jail. The Crown will say this is an offence which was reasonably well planned and took place over the space of two (2) years, thereby demonstrating significant dishonesty and deception on your part.”

Once again Arcadia appeared uncomfortable with what she was hearing. “It does not seem like I have too many choices. If I am going to be convicted of this offence, I do not do myself any favours by going to trial, because I lose any discount on sentence I may receive for pleading guilty at an early stage.”

Blanco: “That is my assessment of your situation, Arcadia, uncomfortable though it may be to hear. If you were minded to plead guilty to the charge, I recommend we obtain a psychological report on you to provide to the Judge and the Crown at your sentence hearing. You may want to take a little time think about what you want to do in relation to the charge. I have not got all the material from the Crown as yet, so I am not in a position to finalise your instructions in that regard.”

Arcadia: “I need some time to think about what I want to do and what it all means.”

Blanco: “We will leave it there for today and perhaps get together again next week and discuss the case further.”

Arcadia: “Yes. I like that proposal.”

Arcadia then left the office of Blanco and went home.

Siobhan Blanco Receives Material From The Crown
About a week later Blanco received the material against Arcadia from the Crown. Blanco skimmed through the witness statements. No surprises appeared immediately to her. She then watched the video evidence of Arcadia and Garlick Duckworth together in the foyer, the restaurant and entering her hotel room of the subject hotels. On each occasion Arcadia was clearly identifiable and she and Duckworth looked like they were a couple when they were together.

Blanco then read the witness statements more thoroughly. They confirmed what had already been told to Blanco was the Crown case and there seemed little room for Arcadia to successfully defend the fraud charge.

When Blanco was finished familiarising herself with the Crown case she telephoned Arcadia and told her the evidence had arrived from the Crown. They made an appointment for Arcadia to attend the office of Blanco at 10:00 am the following day.

Arcadia Meets Blanco To Prepare For Court
Arcadia arrived at the office of Blanco shortly before 10:00 am and they started work on the defence of Arcadia almost immediately.

Blanco told Arcadia, “I have read all of the evidence against you and it does not say anything different to what I had been previously been lead to believe. Before I get into the specifics of the statements, I will show you the video evidence the Crown intends to lead against you. It does not look good for you.”

Blanco then played the video evidence on her computer and Arcadia could see for herself that she was clearly identifiable with Duckworth in the foyer, the restaurant and entering her hotel room of the subject hotels, as the Crown alleged.

Arcadia said to Blanco, “I really do not have any choice but to plead guilty. There seems little point in going to trial.”

Blanco: “The evidence contained in the statements and the room service bills does not get any better for you. The Crown case seems to be compelling.”

Arcadia: “How much of a mess am I in?”

Blanco: “With an early plea of guilty and reasonable to good psychological report, I am confident you can stay out of jail.”

Clearly worried about her situation, Arcadia said, “I will plead guilty to the fraud offence and see a psychologist, so you can get a report on me for the sentence hearing. I do not want to go to jail.”

Blanco: “I will ultimately get signed instructions from you about the plea of guilty and also an authority from you about seeing a psychologist for the purposes of a report for the sentence hearing. I will also read through all the witness statements with you and ask you to comment upon them where relevant, so you are aware of all the evidence against you. The process will also enable you to provide any relevant explanation as to your behaviour and motivation.”

It took Blanco just over an hour to finalise the instructions of Arcadia and get the relevant authority signed. After that paperwork had been completed there was discussion about the Court case itself.

Blanco knew from all of her dealings with Arcadia that she was infatuated with Duckworth, that much of her behaviour was to ingratiate herself with him and be with him. Blanco could also see that Duckworth was a vain, self-obsessed man, who used people for whatever he could get out of them and that he had little concern for anyone but himself.

Blanco: “Shortly I will write to the Crown and tell them that you will plead guilty to the fraud offence, with little challenge to the facts the Crown have presented. Your plea of guilty will in essence be on the basis that you were infatuated with Duckworth and much of your behaviour was to ingratiate yourself with him and be with him. Uncomfortable though it may be for you to hear such a description, it seems to be accurate, based on what I have observed of you. Unless you tell me otherwise, that is what I propose to do.”

Arcadia took a little time to reply to Blanco, “Your assessment is accurate.”

Blanco also said she would brief a female barrister she knew from University to appear for Arcadia at the sentence hearing. Arcadia did not argue with the suggestion.

Shortly thereafter the meeting between Arcadia and Blanco ended and Arcadia went home.

Correspondence with The Crown and The Psychologist
Blanco promptly drafted a letter to the psychologist requesting a report on Arcadia for the sentence hearing and also a letter to the Crown informing it of the proposed plea of guilty of Arcadia.

A few days later Blanco received a letter from the Crown indicating it was happy with the basis upon which the plea of guilty of Arcadia was offered. The Crown also confirmed that Duckworth intended to plead not guilty to the offence with which he was charged and go to trial. The Crown said Arcadia would be arraigned at the start of the Duckworth trial and any sentence hearing would take place at the end of that trial.

Blanco then wrote to Arcadia and told her of the news in respect of both herself and Duckworth. Blanco also said Arcadia would have a conference with the barrister appearing for her the day before she was being sentenced.

When the psychological report on Arcadia arrived at her office, Blanco was not surprised to read that the psychologist found some evidence of Borderline Personality Disorder in Arcadia. Blanco was equally unsurprised to read that Arcadia starstruck by Garlick Duckworth. The recommendation of the report writer was that with some treatment and the end of the relationship with Duckworth, the likelihood of Arcadia repeating this offending behaviour in the future was very small.

Conference with Barrister, Solicitor and Arcadia
Arcadia was nervous when she attended the Chambers of the barrister for the conference about the sentence hearing. The presence of Siobhan Blanco calmed her nerves somewhat. Whilst nothing went wrong during the conference, it was clear to a more experienced observer that Blanco knew more about the matter than did the barrister.

It was explained to Arcadia that the diagnosis by the psychologist of there being some evidence of Borderline Personality Disorder in Arcadia was not something that was expected to have a detrimental impact on sentence Arcadia received for her offending behaviour. The plan was to ask for the Court to make a probation order in respect of Arcadia and also that she do some unpaid community service work. It was also acknowledged that restitution may be sought by the Crown for the amount said to have been wrongly spent in the offending behaviour. It was all the proposed to ask that the Court not record a conviction against Arcadia. However it was acknowledged that that request may be difficult to achieve in the circumstances and that keeping Arcadia out of jail was the main priority.

Arcadia seemed happy enough with what she heard at the conference and she went home without asking many questions of either the barrister or Blanco.

Trial Day
Trial day arrived and there was a degree of excitement around the Court. The case had attracted media interest and media were present for the trial. Arcadia confronted that reality when she arrived at court with Blanco and the barrister. The three (3) of them proceeded directly to the court room allocated to hear the trial.

When she arrived at the court room she saw Duckworth for the first time in many months. He was accompanied by his solicitor and barrister.

Stiles Parsons, Bonham Trudeaux and Marcellus Breadfern became aware of the trial by virtue of the media attention and the three (3) of them decided to attend the trial together. However none of them spoke to either Arcadia or Duckworth. Nor did they speak to any of the lawyers or the media.

As expected once the trial started Arcadia was arraigned and pleaded guilty to the fraud charge. She was then remanded for sentence to the end of the trial and was granted bail on the same terms as she had previously.

Parsons, Trudeaux and Breadfern were somewhat surprised that the trial they would now watch was that of Duckworth alone and not Arcadia. As Duckworth said he was not guilty, all the available evidence was called and it was quite an educational experience for the three (3) male friends of Arcadia. They learned more about her during that trial than they had expected.

During the trial Bonham Trudeaux commented about Duckworth: “Arcadia was going to leave her husband for Duckworth, yet he was clearly just using her for what she could provide for him.”

Marcellus Breadfern added, “Seems he had the same attitude to the other woman with whom he spent time at the hotel.”

During the breaks in the trial the three (3) men commented to each other how deceptive Arcadia was to them and how Duckworth was clearly a complete jerk, to put it mildly.  The video evidence was damning for Duckworth, they thought. Especially of the second woman he accompanied to the hotel. It did not surprise Parsons, Trudeaux and Breadfern when the jury returned with a guilty verdict in respect of Duckworth.

The Sentence
The three (3) men were also very interested in the basis upon which Arcadia was sentenced for her offending.

Stiles Parsons said about the sentence imposed upon Arcadia, “A better qualified barrister or advocate would have got two (2) years probation and 180 hours community service for Arcadia, in addition to the restitution she has to pay, instead of the three (3) years probation and 240 hours community service the Judge imposed. Arcadia may have even escaped without a conviction”

Marcellus Breadfern said, “Whilst I agree with you Stiles, I am not entirely unhappy with that outcome. Arcadia has betrayed all three (3) of us and plenty of others too, it seems. There is a degree of poetic justice in that sentence.”

Bonham Trudeaux said, “I tend to agree with Marcellus.”

Children of Arcadia Hear The News
The media interest in the case of Arcadia extended to Cairns, North Queensland. Before Tabernacle Calderone even knew the news report of the trial of Arcadia and Duckworth was on the nightly television news broadcast, both their children had seen a detailed news report of the trial. The children learned about the infidelity and dishonesty of Arcadia in a way Calderone would have preferred to avoid.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The Carnival Is Over

The Hard Slog Café
Bonham Trudeaux had not seen Stiles Parsons for some time, so he telephoned him and arranged to have lunch with him at the Hard Slog Café near his home. As Trudeaux was walking from his car to the Café he saw Marcellus Breadfern also walking along the footpath. He caught up to Marcellus and spoke with him. After initial salutations Bonham said he was going to have lunch at the Hard Slog Café with a friend and he invited Marcellus to join them. Marcellus accepted the invitation and they walked to the café together.

About three (3) minutes later they were seated at a table at the café. Almost immediately Stiles Parsons joined them. Stiles and Marcellus had not previously met, so Bonham introduced them. It did not take long for them to realise that they all knew and had had interaction with Arcadia Thiessen.

Bonham Trudeaux said that he had received a telephone call from Arcadia informing him that she had genital warts and he may wish to see his doctor to see if he had contracted them.

“I promptly attended my doctor and was told that I had no symptoms whatsoever.”

Upon hearing that news, Marcellus Breadfern revealed that whilst he had relatively recently had a sexual relationship with Arcadia, he did not receive a telephone call from her about her genital warts. Marcellus made it clear that he was angry about not being told.

Marcellus said, “The story Arcadia told me about her history and her marriage lead me to believe she was not promiscuous."

Bonham interjected, “You are not the first man to be mislead or deceived by Arcadia.”

Marcellus continued just as Bonham was finishing, “Clearly that is not the case. I doubt that I need to say it, but I am not happy about her dishonesty”.

Stiles joined in the conversation. “A lunch sharing our experiences and our time spent with Arcadia. I doubt there will be too many positive stories about her. From what I have seen and heard, Arcadia never supported anyone, she was only ever in relationships for herself.”

Bonham: “To my mind the genital warts were evidence of Arcadia having sex with other men.”

Stiles: “Hard to argue with that contention.”

Marcellus: “You two seem to know a different Arcadia to the one she presented to me.”

Stiles: “Arcadia was very good at deception when it came to telling her story.”

Bonham: “But her story does not stack up when people who know her get together and share their experiences, as Stiles and I have done.”

Marcellus: “ The affair Arcadia and I had gave her happiness, enabled her to feel loved, wanted and appreciated. It was more than just travelling to see me or to see each other. It was almost daily contact by telephone and text message to continue the happiness. Her children benefited from the lift in spirits the relationship gave her.”

“Our interaction had to accommodate the children not finding out about the affair. In part that involved me leaving the room during telephone calls whilst she was away from home for work purposes.”

Stiles: “Like I said, Arcadia was very good at deception when it came to telling her story.”

Bonham: “I realised the hard way Arcadia is like a sponge. She will take all of the good from you and give nothing in return, when you get past the sex and meals. It is not love she gives you. It is her way of taking all the attention you can give her.”

Stiles: “It is pretty hard to deal with when you had as much contact with Arcadia as you did, Marcellus, and Arcadia not remember you to tell you about the genital warts she had contracted. Sadly, we all seem to have disappointing stories to tell about Arcadia.”

New Management Goes Over Old Ground
Whilst the three (3) men were having lunch and discussing Arcadia, they were unaware of another development in her life. A change of management occurred at her former employer. An investigation was undertaken into the work travel Arcadia undertook for the two (2) years prior to her leaving the company. The new management formed the view that Arcadia was improperly organising work trips to Sydney so she could be with her Sydney boyfriend, Garlick Duckworth. The investigation revealed that several of the room service bills during the trips Arcadia made contained expenditure indicating two (2) people were present. No approval was ever sought by Arcadia for her employer to pay for the expenditure on another person. Accordingly a complaint was made to the police by her former employer about both Arcadia and Duckworth.

Police Investigation
The basis of the fraud allegation against Arcadia was that she dishonestly gained the benefit of air travel, accommodation and meals when she improperly organised work trips to Sydney, so she could be with her Sydney boyfriend, Garlick Duckworth. The basis of the fraud allegation against Duckworth was that he dishonestly gained the benefit of accommodation and meals when his Melbourne girlfriend, Arcadia improperly organised work trips to Sydney so she could be with him.

Police decided to pursue Duckworth prior to pursuing Arcadia. As part of the investigation he was interviewed by the police. Duckworth admitted that he knew Arcadia was organising her work trips to Sydney to see him and she was providing him with accommodation in her hotel and meals paid for by her work when she did so. He said they were reasons why he was seeing her. He said he never paid for anything when he was with Arcadia, she paid for everything, either through her work or out of her own pocket. Duckworth also told the police as many times as he could remember when Arcadia travelled to Sydney to see him.

The police were armed with the information provided by her employer and Duckworth when they approached Arcadia at her home to accompany them to the police station for a formal interview in relation to the fraud allegations. Arcadia was shocked by the news the police gave her, but showed a surprising degree of enlightenment, given her past behaviour. She told the police she wanted to speaker with her solicitor before she spoke further with the police. The police acknowledged her request and promptly left her premises.

Arcadia Contacts Solicitor, Siobhan Blanco
As soon as the police left her house Arcadia telephoned her solicitor, Siobhan Blanco, and told her about the police request for a formal interview in relation to the fraud allegations. Blanco said she was surprised to hear the news and she would contact the police to see if she could find out the details of the allegations. Blanco could tell that Arcadia was worried about her situation.

Blanco then rang the police and spoke to the detective handling the investigation. The detective told Blanco that the former employer had provided the police with evidence to support the complaint of fraud. He also said the information Duckworth provided in his interview enabled the police to identify a number of specific times when Arcadia and Duckworth were together in Sydney.

Blanco told the police she would be advising Arcadia not to participate in a formal interview.  The conversation between Blanco and the detective then ended.

Blanco then telephoned Arcadia and told her about the telephone call with the police.

Blanco: “The news is not good. From what the detective told me, they have a decent case against you. You certainly do not want to give the police any more evidence by having an interview with them.”

Arcadia: “So what should I do?”

Blanco: “I can contact the police again and tell them you do not wish to be interviewed about the matter. I expect the police will then want to make arrangements for you to attend the police station to be charged. I can go with you when the charging happens.”

Arcadia: “This is all very upsetting for me. I will do as you suggest and I would like you to come with me when I go to the police station.”

Blanco: “I will ring the police and tell them of your position.”

Blanco then telephoned the detective handling the investigation. She told him in accordance with her advice, Arcadia would not participate in a formal interview about the matter. Arrangements were then made for Arcadia to attend the police station the next day to be charged.

Arcadia was nervous when she arrived at the office of her solicitor the following day. This was an entirely new experience for her and not one to which she was looking forward. There was little conversation between them as Blanco drove them to the police station.

As they got out of the car in the police station car park Blanco said to Arcadia, “Do not say anything whilst you are with the police, with the exception of providing your identification details, of course”.

Arcadia could feel her heart pounding and her mouth was dry. Her reply was brief, “OK”

Once inside the police station Blanco introduced herself and the investigating detective attended upon them shortly thereafter.

The detective said, “This should not take all that long and I am happy for you to be present during the entire process, Ms Blanco”.

That gave some comfort to Arcadia when she heard it.

Arcadia thought she was handling the process rather well up to when the police took her fingerprints. Then her situation became very clear to her. She knew she was in a lot of trouble. She thought her heart was beating so loudly she could hardly hear what the police officer was saying to her. The fingerprinting process took about fifteen (15) minutes to complete in real time, although it seemed much longer to Arcadia.

Shortly thereafter Arcadia was asked to sign her bail undertaking and then the police told her she was free to leave.

Almost as soon as it was given to Arcadia Blanco took the bail undertaking from her and put it in the folder she was carrying.

The investigating detective said to Arcadia, “The effect of all of this is that you have been charged with the offence of fraud and you have been released on bail on your own undertaking, with no special or reporting conditions. You will have to appear in the local Magistrates Court in twenty-eight (21) days from today.

“Mr Duckworth has also been charged with fraud, the same offence as you.  He also has been released on bail on his own undertaking, with no special or reporting conditions. He will have to appear in the local Magistrates Court in twenty-eight (21) days from today. At this stage we expect your cases will be dealt with together.”

“If you have any questions, I am sure your solicitor can answer them for you. You are now free to leave.”

Blanco then gently took Arcadia by the arm and lead her out of the police station. They walked directly to her car. When she got into the car of Blanco, Arcadia burst into tears. Her reaction was not a surprise to Blanco.

After about three (3) minutes Blanco spoke to Arcadia, “Do you want to come back to my office or would you like me to take you home?

Arcadia struggled to answer.

Blanco: “How did you get to my office?”

Arcadia: “I caught a bus.”

Blanco: “I will drive you home.”

The Home of Arcadia
Arcadia composed herself a little more during the drive home. When they got to her house, Blanco went inside with Arcadia and they chatted a little more.

Blanco: “In the next few days I will contact the police and ask them to provide me with the evidence they have in your matter, even if it just a summary at this stage. We can talk then about what you are going to do in relation to the charge.”

“Just in case you were wondering, I would not talk to Duckworth about this or at all, if I were you.”

Arcadia: “OK.”

Blanco: “You seem to be better now, so I will return to my office. We will chat soon about all of this and you will be better informed about your situation.”

Arcadia: “OK and thank you for all your help today.”

Blanco: “You are welcome”

Blanco then left the home of Arcadia and returned to her office.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Word Gets Around

42 year old Mrs Page Abernathy was the Chief Executive Officer and very much the public face of the Keeping Families Together Charity. She created for herself a high celebrity profile and appeared to be a trustworthy public figure. In stark contrast to that public persona she was having an adulterous affair with low profile, Mr Lachlan Tedeschi, a 46 year old litigation lawyer, and also the very high profile and married Mr Herbert Strauss, a 50 year old Chief Executive Officer of the Major Bank.

Art Gallery Opening February 2013
Page Abernathy and Lachlan Tedeschi met at an art gallery opening in February 2013 and immediately struck up a friendship. During their interaction at the art gallery Page was very encouraging of Lachlan and shortly before the function was due to end they went home together to the house of Lachlan Tedeschi.

“My husband understands my affairs, so long as I keep them discreet and he is away a lot on business”, Page told Lachlan, as they were getting to know each other a lot better at his house.

Lachlan replied, “Being discreet is not a problem for me.”

Page: “We can spend a fair bit of time together, work schedules permitting and apart from my husband, you are the only man I am seeing.”

He had no reason to doubt her at the time and she seemed very charming. Their relationship had effectively commenced.

Early the next morning Page Abernathy left the home of Lachlan Tedeschi to return to her home.

Dinner with Friend, Wesley Tunstall
Later that day Lachlan Tedeschi went to work as normal. After work he had dinner with his friend Wesley Tunstall, the nurse, and he told Wesley of what happened the previous evening.

Wesley said, “I have heard of Page Abernathy. She has quite an ability to draw attention to herself. Having a discreet relationship with her would be something of a contrast for her and a challenge for you both, I suspect. I am not surprised to hear her ‘my husband understands my affairs’ line, although it sounds a little cliched and I wonder how accurate that statement may be. Still time will tell, I guess, and ultimately it is a decision for you.”

Lachlan: “It is hard to argue with the cliched observation and as you say, time will tell as to the veracity of her contention in relation to her husband. If history is any guide, we will be discussing this relationship and Page Abernathy from time to time, so we will probably be able to judge the extent to which you are correct.”

Wesley: “I may take a keener interest in the public life of Page Abernathy, now that you have shared your news with me.”

The rest of the evening was uneventful for Lachlan and Wesley and after about another hour, the dinner ended and they each went to their respective homes.

May 2014 Herbert Strauss Appears On The Scene
Page Abernathy and Lachlan Tedeschi spent quite a bit of time together over the next two (2) years, mostly at their respective houses, but sometimes venturing into public together. Because he had spent so much time at her house, Lachlan became quite familiar with it, including where Page kept her diary.

By May 2014 Lachlan noticed something a little unusual in the behaviour of Page Abernathy. The most obvious change was that she spent less time with him than she had done in the preceding months. That behaviour change was due to the arrival of Herbert Strauss on the scene, but Lachlan did not learn of his presence until many months later.

Page Abernathy was not only having an affair with Herbert Strauss, she was also recording significant intimate details of that affair in her diary.

Lachlan was still keeping in touch with Wesley Tunstall and from time to time they would meet to socialise. Discussion of the relationship between Lachlan and Page Abernathy was part of their interaction. Wesley gradually got a clear sense that all was not as well as it could be between Lachlan and Page.

December 2014
By December 2014 Lachlan Tedeschi had a very strong suspicion that Page Abernathy was seeing someone in addition to him and he expressed his concerns to Wesley Tunstall. The diary of Page Abernathy was a part of their discussion by that stage and whether it may contain any details of this possible new man.

Wesley Tunstall: “If you are going to read her diary, you would best do it in circumstances where she is not likely to catch you doing it. I would wait until she is out of the house, if that is possible.”

Lachlan Tedeschi: “I still get invited to her house from time to time, so I will see if any such opportunity arises.”

January 2015
Early January 2015, while Page was out of her house, Lachlan read the diary she kept in her bedside drawers. He discovered entries confirming that Page had been having an adulterous affair with Herbert Strauss.  Lachlan took photographs of the diary entries which described the relationship Page was having with Herbert Strauss in lurid detail.

Once he had taken photographs of the diary entries, he contacted Wesley Tunstall and arranged to meet with him almost immediately. They had a discussion about what Lachlan had discovered and Wesley convinced Lachlan to provide a copy of the photographs to him.

Wesley Tunstall: “I am only telling to you what you have told to me on numerous occasions about controlling and preserving evidence.”

Lachlan Tedeschi: “That is sound advice and I am glad you are giving it to me.”

Within ten (10) minutes Wesley had a copy of the subject photographs on his mobile telephone. That seemed to give some comfort to Lachlan.

Wesley could see that Lachlan was distressed by his discovery and he tried to comfort him, rather than further aggravate him. They stayed together for about ninety (90) minutes and when they parted to return to their respective homes, Lachlan seemed to be in better spirits.

Private Investigator
Wesley Tunstall could see the adverse effect the relationship revelation had upon Lachlan Tedeschi. He decided to take some action of his own and hire a private investigator to enquire into Page Abernathy and Herbert Strauss. Wesley had no intention of telling Lachlan of what he was doing, at that stage.

It did not take long for the private investigator to provide photographs to Wesley of the relationship between Page Abernathy and Herbert Strauss. Once he had the photographs, Wesley discharged the services of the private investigator. He kept the photographs to himself and did not tell Lachlan of any of this activity or discovery.

January 2015
A little later in January 2015 Lachlan Tedeschi confronted Page Abernathy about her affair with Herbert Strauss. A heated argument ensued for several hours. Lachlan agreed to delete the images of the diary of Page, provided she delete the contact details of Herbert Strauss from her iPhone and iPad. The relationship between Page and Lachlan continued.

1 March 2015 - 2 March 2015
However, a few weeks later, on 1 March 2015, Lachlan discovered Page still had the contact details of Herbert Strauss. Lachlan then threatened to expose her affair with Strauss.

Lachlan challenged Page over the affair again saying: "I want to expose you both for what you have done. I have got enough evidence to do that."

After this argument, Page left the house of Lachlan in the early hours of 2 March 2015. Page formed the view that Lachlan did not delete every photo of the diary and had evidence to damage both herself and Herbert Strauss.

Once again Lachlan contacted Wesley Tunstall and told him what had happened with Page Abernathy. Wesley could see that Lachlan was very distressed and he did not wish to distress him further. He did not tell Lachlan about the private investigator and the photographs of the relationship between Page Abernathy and Herbert Strauss. Wesley thought it best to do that at another time.

After about two (2) hours Lachlan Tedeschi left Wesley Tunstall to go home, seemingly in a better frame of mind.

Legal Action
Page Abernathy started legal action in her local Supreme Court to obtain an interim injunction and gagging order under the Human Rights Act. She sought a ban on the publication of the diary entries to prevent Lachlan Tedeschi from leaking details to the media of her affair with Herbert Strauss.

The application of Page Abernathy proceeded in the absence of both Lachlan Tedeschi and Herbert Strauss.

Page Abernathy argued that

  • The potential damage which could be done, both to her, as a public figure of trust, and to Herbert Strauss, as a public figure who is married to someone else, is enormous
  • If the documents stolen from Page Abernathy and her affair with Herbert Strauss were shared or published in the public domain, “both she and Herbert Strauss would be irreparably damaged, and there would be enormous financial repercussions for both of them”
  • Herbert Strauss is unaware of the present situation
  • She feared it would “tip off” Lachlan Tedeschi and he would publish the diary entries before she could obtain a court order, if she were to notify him of her application for an injunction.

Sitting in the Supreme Court Justice Baldwin-Taylor granted the interim injunction sought by Page Abernathy.

Justice Baldwin-Taylor

  • The hearing was allowed to proceed without Lachlan Tedeschi being present
  • The fears Lachlan Tedeschi would rush publication of the diary entries before it was possible for Page Abernathy to gain the injunction were well founded
  • The right to respect for her private life of Page Abernathy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights outweighed the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 in publishing that private life
  • On the evidence the reasons for publication are motivated by malice entertained by the defendant Lachlan Tedeschi towards the claimant Page Abernathy

Service of The Court Orders
Within a very short time of the Court granting the interim injunction and gag order that Page Abernathy sought, both Lachlan Tedeschi and Herbert Strauss were respectively served with a copy of the orders.

Lachlan was astounded when he read the orders and he contacted Wesley Tunstall almost immediately. Wesley was not working and they agreed to meet about forty (40) minutes later. Wesley took the photographs the private investigator took of Page Abernathy and Herbert Strauss to that meeting.

When they met Wesley could see that Lachlan was distressed and angry. Wesley tried to stay calm and reduce the aggravation of Lachlan, if possible. Wesley was doing his best to remember the advice he had heard Lachlan give on a number of previous occasions.

Wesley Tunstall: “I still have a copy of the photograph you gave me in January 2015. As far as I know, no one knows I have them at this stage and there is no reason for that situation to change. I am well aware that you want to reveal the affair between Page Abernathy and Herbert Strauss, but you do not wish to put yourself in a position where you will breach the Court order. I may be able to assist you in that regard.”

“After we met in January 2015 I hired a private investigator to investigate the relationship between Page Abernathy and Herbert Strauss. It did not take him long for him to provide photographs to me of their relationship. Once I had the photographs, I discharged the services of the private investigator. I kept the photographs to myself and did not tell you of any of this activity or discovery, because I did not want to distress you further.”

“The significance of this is that you now have independent evidence of the relationship between Page Abernathy and Herbert Strauss and that evidence can be released to the media, seemingly without breaching the court orders.”

Lachlan Tedeschi: “At the very least it seems you have paid attention to what I have said from time to time over the years.”

Wesley Tunstall: “It is also worth considering whether my releasing the material to the media might be a better strategy in the circumstances.”

Lachlan Tedeschi: “That is very well done, Wesley Tunstall.”

The Next Day
The next day multiple media outlets ran with a double story: a report on the Court case which revealed no identities of anyone involved; followed by a revelation of the affair between Page Abernathy and Herbert Strauss, accompanied by the independent photographs of them taken by the private investigator.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Destination Unknown

Dinner at the same hotel was how their paths crossed. 42 year old Mirabella Northcote was a senior manager in an energy company visiting Rockhampton, central Queensland to speak at a conference. 48 year old environmental scientist Cassidy Cheltham found himself in Rockhampton to inspect a site to see if it could be restored for residential or commercial development.

Initially they were both dining alone. Mirabella made sure Cassidy was aware of her. She smiled at him several times during the early part of her meal. On her way back from the toilet to her table just after Cassidy had commenced his main course, Mirabella invited to Cassidy to dine with her at her table. Her wedding ring was clearly visible to single Cassidy as she extended her invitation to him. He accepted her invitation and took his meal and drink to her table.

After initial introductions and pleasantries, it did not take Mirabella long to tell Cassidy she was trapped in a bad marriage. She did not say much positive about her husband, Derwent Northcote, the few times she spoke about him. She said she was staying with him because it was best for her two (2) children, Miss 10 and Mr 7.

Mirabella put on a good performance. She managed to talk about enough topics to take the focus off her “troubled” marriage and appear charming to Cassidy. When they finished their dinner they talked for a while and then Mirabella successfully asked Cassidy to go to her hotel room with her.

Inside her hotel room Mirabella removed her clothing, but not her wedding ring. Cassidy participated in the encounter and spent the evening with her. So began their adulterous affair.

When they returned to their respective homes, they kept in touch via telephone calls and text messages, with the occasional e-mail.

Throughout their affair Mirabella kept her story consistent in one regard, she complained her husband Derwent was a serial cheat, who had had many lovers before she commenced her affair with Cassidy. From the start Cassidy urged Mirabella to leave Derwent and he continued to do so for the entirety of their relationship.

Mirabella always said she would stay with Derwent because that was the best for their children. If she left him, she was always worried about him doing something to the children. There was never any complaint of physical violence, but there were regular references to emotional abuse from Derwent to Mirabella.

Mirabella was also consistent with her demands that she did not want her husband, Derwent, to know about her affair with Cassidy. Cassidy complied with her request, even though that made contacting Mirabella a difficult exercise at times. She did not always keep her spare mobile telephone close by.

They saw each other as often as their business schedules would permit and they saw the inside of several hotel rooms together.

For eighteen (18) months things went well between Mirabella and Cassidy, Mirabella was a kind, loving, caring woman. Occasionally during that time she would contact Cassidy and seek comfort from him because of what she said was an unpleasant interaction with her husband. Those exchanges were always the same, Derwent had allegedly said something horrible to Mirabella and whilst she endeavoured to stand up for herself, the outcome was unpleasant and very stressful for her.

Mirabella maintained that their children never saw nor heard any of this dysfunctional relationship. As far as they were concerned, their parents had a reasonably happy household. Cassidy and Mirabella disagreed often on that issue and Mirabella never accepted that Cassidy may be correct.

Many times Cassidy said to Mirabella that he was interested in a full-time relationship with her and that she should make plans to leave Derwent for that purpose. Mirabella always rejected that offer and said she would stay with Derwent because that was the best for their children. If she left him, she was worried about what he might do to their children.

During that time there were also four (4) or five (5) hysterical telephone calls from Mirabella to Cassidy after Mirabella got upset over something Cassidy had allegedly done. There were several more occasions when Mirabella telephoned Cassidy seeking his support and comfort after what she said were arguments she had with her husband Derwent. Cassidy was always available and supportive when Mirabella rang. In stark contrast to the carefully controlled availability Mirabella offered him.

Their relationship changed after about eighteen (18) months, when Cassidy learned through social media that Mirabella had become very interested in two (2) or three (3) other men. Mirabella always denied she was having an affair with any or all of those men when she and Cassidy discussed the matter. But she was clearly starstruck by the attention those men were giving her.

Mirabella made herself even less available to Cassidy and whenever she did ring him, it was clear to him that Mirabella was always available for her new men. This caused great friction between Mirabella and Cassidy. He saw several instances online where Mirabella was flaunting the time she spent with her new men.

Cassidy also noticed another change in Mirabella. Ever since she started associating with her new men, her dishonesty increased significantly. There were several things she said to Cassidy that were demonstrably not true. The friction between Mirabella and Cassidy was growing steadily.

The Separation
After about six (6) months of that friction laden, deteriorating relationship, Mirabella announced to Cassidy that she was separating from her husband. By that stage she contended that separation was the best for her and her children. The friction between Cassidy and Mirabella grew significantly once Mirabella made that revelation.

Cassidy received several more hysterical telephone calls from Mirabella telling him she did not want her husband to learn of their affair. Typically those telephone conversations involved Cassidy telling Mirabella that Derwent would see from her social media activity that she was having affairs with her new men. Mirabella always said she was worried about what harm Derwent might do to their children if he ever found out about her affair with Cassidy.

That contention became less credible every time Cassidy heard it, particularly in light of how Mirabella was flaunting on-line her relationships with her new men.

Once Mirabella had separated from her husband, she told Cassidy she no longer wished to continue her relationship with him. She wanted to concentrate on her divorce and she did not want any relationships with other men to complicate that situation. Cassidy was not happy when he heard that news. It was clear from her social media presence that Mirabella had increased her activity with her new men, both online and in person.

From time to time after ending their relationship Mirabella telephoned Cassidy because she wanted something or wanted to discuss something. She never rang him to comfort him. It was curious behaviour on the part of Mirabella, Cassidy thought, when she could easily consult any of her new men for assistance.

A feature of those conversations for Cassidy was how Mirabella coped with the pressure of being a single parent and the primary carer of her children. It looked to him as though she was not coping well. Another Mirabella behaviour Cassidy thought curious was Mirabella continuing to flaunt her relationships with her new men when she said to him she did not want Derwent to know of their relationship. That was an issue Mirabella refused to discuss whenever she rang Cassidy. Yet it seemed to be the motivation for two (2) or three (3) hysterical conversations Mirabella had with Cassidy after her separation from Derwent.

By that stage Cassidy thought the criticism of her husband was a projection by Mirabella of her own problems.

Mirabella never shared with Cassidy that her children witnessed and were subjected to several episodes of severe mood swings by her, once she has separated from Derwent and she had to care for the children all by herself. Nor did she share with Cassidy that she had seen doctors on several occasions to get assistance to sleep when she had to care for the children all by herself.

The Road Trip
Cassidy had not heard from Mirabella for about two (2) moths when she undertook her four (4) hour road trip to her camping holiday with her children. During that last call Mirabella was completely hysterical about her now estranged husband finding out about her affair with Cassidy and Derwent thinking she was having affairs with other men.

Mirabella told her children they were going on a road trip and a camping holiday. When they asked her where they were going, Mirabella replied, “We will find out when we get there”.

To the outside world Mirabella, the mother driving her children on a four (4) hour road trip holiday, was highly educated with a very good professional job. She portrayed an impressive image of herself to the outside world. Mirabella ensured she was well prepared for the holiday by taking a large supply of her sleeping tablets with her. She told herself she did not want to have problems getting to sleep during the holiday.

Soon after the road trip with her two (2) children commenced it became clear that Mirabella had not planned for the enormous stress to which she would feel exposed with her and her children in such close quarters for a long time. During the drive Mirabella became paranoid about her double life with men other than her husband being discovered. Several food, drink and toilet stops interrupted the troubled thought processes of Mirabella, which was fortunate for the children.

The Camp Site
When they arrived at the camp site Mirabella told her children, “This is where we will be staying for the next week.”

The three (3) of them then unpacked the car and set up the tent. All seemed well for Mirabella and her children. Their first night at the camp site proceeded without incident. As did most of the next day.

Dinner on the second evening saw that situation change. Mirabella became convinced that her double life with other men would be discovered by her now estranged husband and he would take her children away from her. She took a large number of her sleeping tablets and put them in the food she cooked for her children that evening.

Not long after dinner was finished the children went to sleep. They never awoke.

Several hours after putting sleeping tablets in the food she cooked for her children, Mirabella drove away from the camp site and returned to her home.

The next day other campers found the children of Mirabella and Derwent dead in the tent in which they went to sleep the previous evening. Of course Mirabella was nowhere to be seen at the camp site and immediately the campers contacted the police.

Later that day the police located Mirabella and took her into custody.

Derwent was devastated when he heard of the news about his children and Mirabella.

Cassidy was also upset when he heard the news. He said to himself the hysterical telephone calls from Mirabella were some evidence of the delusions she created for herself from time to time.

Subsequently Mirabella was examined by a psychiatrist and was found to be suffering from paranoid delusions at the time of her road trip holiday. Having been found to be of unsound mind at the time of the road trip and the offences, the prosecution against Mirabella was discontinued. Mirabella spent a considerable time in hospital receiving treatment for her mental health problems.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

When Selfish Is The Primary Focus

Daniel Soames answered the telephone. It was his instructing solicitor Toussaint Wilberforce.

“We have a family law case in Sydney in two (2) days, Mr Soames. I thought I would ring you and confirm that all appears to be in order here. How are things with you?”

“All appears to be in order here as well, Mr Wilberforce”, Soames replied.

Wilberforce: “You will recall, Mr Soames, the mother was living with the father in the Central Coast area of New South Wales. They had two (2) children in their relationship. The mother left the marriage and the Central Coast with the two (2) children to live in Wollongong with her then boyfriend. The four (4) of them then moved to Queensland to live. That relationship did not last and the mother subsequently moved to Rockhampton with her current partner and his two (2) children. The children of the marriage are now settled in Rockhampton, attending school and doing well.”

Soames: “Yes, Mr Wilberforce, I recall.”

Wilberforce: “The Independent Children’s Lawyer agrees with the recommendation of the Family Report writer that the children should remain living with the mother in Central Queensland. The Family Report writer concluded that the children had finally achieved a degree of stability in their lives, although it was limited to that point. Accordingly on the available evidence staying in that environment would be the preferred option for the well-being of the children.”

Soames: “That is a handy position in which to be, Mr Wilberforce. But the attitude of the Judge is the most important factor and that remains unknown at this juncture.”

Wilberforce: “Quite so, Mr Soames, and I sense that our welcoming may not be all that warm in the Court in Sydney.”

Soames: “I share your assessment and concern.”

Wilberforce: “I will see you at the airport tomorrow.”

Soames: “Yes, Mr Wilberforce, tomorrow, at the airport.”

The telephone conversation then ended.

The Airport
When Daniel attended the airport he proceeded through airline security as is normally the case. Quite unexpectedly on this occasion he encountered his friend Conchita. She now worked for airline security and after initial salutations, she spent about ten (10) minutes regaling him with stories of people travelling who are seemingly cheating on their partners. Several of them were people she knew in one form or another.

Their respective work demands meant they could not continue their discussion and so it ended. Daniel proceeded through the remainder of airline security and then went off to meet his instructing solicitor and travelling companion, Toussaint Wilberforce.

Soames shared the news of meeting Conchita with Wilberforce

“What a handy resource she may prove to be in the future”, Wilberforce said.

Soames replied, “Not everything is about work, Wilberforce. However I agree him that Conchita may prove to be a useful source of information in the future.”

That discussion filled part of the time whilst they waited until they could board their plane. The rest of the time did not involve any significant discussion of their case, due to the public nature of their location.

On The Plane
Once on the plane Soames and Wilberforce were seated together and next to Wilberforce was a man who was very keen to chat. Once he found out Wilberforce was a solicitor who practiced in family law, his travel companion was very keen to tell his story of a woman he knew who was on a music podcast. According to the travel companion if you listened to that particular music podcast, the woman co-host progressively revealed her divorce and effectively bragged about her affair with her two co-hosts.

During the telling of the story Soames said to Wilberforce, “Work rarely seems to stop for you”.

Wilberforce replied, “The information and knowledge gained can be useful in the future, Soames.”

Soames: “Point taken” and they smiled broadly at each other.

When the travel companion finished his story, there was little other conversation between him, Wilberforce and Soames.

Soames and Wilberforce spent the remainder of the flight discussing minor matters. It was a pleasant and otherwise uneventful flight.

When Soames and Wilberforce landed in Sydney they went straight to their hotel, checked in and proceeded to their respective hotel rooms. Once settled in his room, Soames commenced preparation for the trial the next day.

The Trial - Day 1
At the end of the first day of the trial, Soames reflected upon its progress. All things considered, the evidence proceeded as he thought it would and no one took an unsurprising approach. The Judge was somewhat more angry at his client, the mother, than he had anticipated, but not so much as to need to fundamentally revise their approach to the trial.

Soames and Wilberforce briefly returned to their respective hotel rooms after the day in Court and then met again for dinner that evening. During dinner, Soames and Wilberforce discussed the case and how the trial was progressing.

Soames: “Mr Wilberforce, I have considerable disquiet about the behaviour of the mother. Rewarding it by allowing the children to remain living with her seems an uncomfortable, perhaps even unsavoury, result.  There were many valid criticisms of the father which were canvassed today during the trial and they counted against the children living with him. However I am not sure the new man in the life of the mother is a significant improvement. He seems to be the same type of man as the father we have been criticising, only nicer.”

Wilberforce: “Nicer, for now, Soames. I expect he will become like the father in time to come.”

Soames: “That is hardly a comforting prospect for the children in this mess.”

Wilberforce: “Indeed Soames, but it is the way these cases invariably unfold.”

Soames: “In fact the more I see of him, the more I tend to not like the new male partner of our client. Happily there has been no need for him to give evidence in these proceedings.”

Wilberforce: “He has also failed to ingratiate himself with me and I have spent considerably more time with him than you have done.”

Soames: “Some of the bad behaviour of the mother seems to have been stemmed since meeting this chap. She has remained living in Rockhampton and the children are now settled in Rockhampton, attending school and doing well. Perhaps he has some redeeming features.”

Wilberforce: “If the new man is responsible for that apparent stability, perhaps he does have some redeeming features.”

The dinner continued in an otherwise uneventful fashion and after about an hour both men then retired to their respective hotel rooms.

The Trial - Day 2
With all the evidence having been completed during day one (1) of the trial, all that remained on day two (2) were final submissions.

In addressing Soames during his final submissions on behalf of the mother, the Judge said, “It was common ground int the trial that the mother had facilitated very little contact between the father and children since they left the Central Coast of New South Wales. That was something to which the father referred often when presenting his case and it was something about which I often criticised the mother.”

“There was significant criticism of the mother that she was not child-focussed in her behaviour and had not been child-focussed for some time. That criticism came from the father, the Family Report writer, the Independent Children’s Lawyer and me.”

“That criticism supported a return of the children to live with the father on the NSW Central Coast.  However it was tempered by the fact that the children had finally achieved some stability in their lives and disrupting that stability to return to the Central Coast would be detrimental to the development of the children. That is a matter of some significance for the case of the mother.”

“Again, the father, the Family Report writer, the Independent Children’s Lawyer and I were all very critical of the mother, that she had organised her life to suit herself and not the children. That meant there was a significant element of rewarding the very bad behaviour of the mother in allowing the children to continue living with her in Central Queensland.”

“You can hardly argue with those criticisms, Mr Soames. I believe I have made it abundantly clear during this trial how unhappy I am about the behaviour of you client, the mother, in this case.”

Soames: “No, Your Honour, I do not propose to argue with the criticisms you have raised and you have made your displeasure with the behaviour of the mother abundantly clear. Notwithstanding all the criticisms of the mother and her behaviour, as Your Honour pointed out earlier, the children have finally achieved some stability in their lives and disrupting that stability to return to the Central Coast would be detrimental to their development. Accordingly in our submission, Your Honour would grant the orders sought by the mother and permit the children to continue living in their present circumstances.”

The Judge retired for approximately two (2) hours to consider her decision.

Opportunity Knocks
As they were waiting for the Judge to make her decision in the trial, Soames and Wilberforce decided to go to a café to get something to eat and drink.

On their way to a café across the road from the Court, Wilberforce grabbed Soames by the arm and spoke quietly in his ear,
“Soames, you know how you told me work never ends for me, well something about which I know a little is occurring right in front of us. The woman in a passionate embrace with the man is known to me. She is from Melbourne and that man she is kissing is not her husband. He is a Sydney local and is known to me too.”

Soames could clearly see the wedding ring of the woman involved in the kiss.

By this stage Wiberforce had used his mobile telephone to take two (2) or three (3) photographs of the embracing couple. Wilberforce maintained his concentration on the couple and noticed they were walking into a nearby hotel. He took more photographs of them entering the hotel and he followed them. Soames followed Wilberforce, without saying a word. When the embracing couple got into the hotel elevator together Wilberforce took his last photograph of them.

It appeared to Soames that the couple were oblivious to the presence of Wilberforce.

Soames and Wilberforce then went to a café and during their meal, Wilberforce told Soames the story of the embracing couple.

Wilberforce: “Some months ago I was retained to assist in a divorce and do a little investigation and advice work for the husband of the woman we saw in the embrace. She travelled quite a bit for work and the husband suspected she was having an affair. I was supplied with some information, including photographs of the wife. It turns out a Sydney solicitor I know also knows the Sydney man involved and he was quite happy to tell me about him. I was told the Sydney man was a giant rat, who likes to promote himself and make fun of other people. He has no loyalty whatsoever.”

“This will be unexpected information for my Melbourne solicitor colleague. I propose to provide it to him as a professional courtesy. I expect he will tell me the wife was in Sydney “on business” or ”working”. The circumstances of the working or business I have seen and photographed may be different to that told to the husband by the wife.”

Soames: “That is very decent of you, Wilberforce. And very alert as well. Experience tells me those are the moments one does not want to miss when it comes to evidence collation.”

Wilberforce: “I thought it warranted an immediate response. I am grateful for your cooperation.”

Soames: “No trouble, Mr Wilberforce. It has added a little more excitement and diversity to our day and our Sydney visit.”

Wilberforce the rang his Melbourne solicitor colleague and told him what had just occurred. The Melbourne solicitor said he made significant notes of the conversation. Wilberforce said he would write to him about it and send the photographs to him when Wilberforce returned to Brisbane.

At the end of the telephone call Soames and Wilberforce discussed the passionate embrace couple a little more and then turned their attention back to their trial.

About twenty-five (25) minutes later the associate to the Judge rang them to tell them she was returning to deliver her judgment. Soames and Wilberforce immediately returned to the Court.

The Decision
Upon her return the Judge gave her decision immediately.

  • “I find that the behaviour of the mother since separation and to date in removal of the children, the manner in which she changed their residence and her failure to assist the children in the maintenance of their relationship with their father was inappropriate and reflects poorly on her understanding of parental responsibility.”
  • “There is little evidence to date of a willingness on the part of the mother to facilitate a continuing relationship between the father and the children.”
  • “There is considerable evidence of the inability of the mother to focus on the needs of the children, preferring instead to focus on her needs.”
  • “The attitude of the mother to the responsibilities of parenthood is very unsatisfactory.”
  • “There have been repeated relocations and her choice of previous partners permitted to live with the children reveal irresponsible parenting.’
  • “An inability to focus on the needs of the children until very recently is apparent.”
  • “Notwithstanding these significant criticisms, the children are settled in their current environment and their relationship with their mother.”
  • “It would now not be in the best interests of the children to require them to relocate to the Central Coast of New South Wales.”
  • “I am not comfortable making orders that seem to reward the behaviour of the mother which has been bad in so many respects, but these orders represent the best interests of the children after proper consideration of all the evidence.”

Court ended quickly after the decision was given. Everyone packed up their material and left the Court room promptly. Soames and Wilberforce went to an interview room nearby and had a short conference with the client and her new partner. They were still holding hands at every opportunity, to the significant annoyance of Soames.

After a brief explanation of the judgment to the client and her new partner, which they both seemed to understand, they announced they had to leave to catch the flight home they had booked. They then thanked both Soames and Wilberforce and left for the airport.

Soames and Wilberforce once again attended the café where they ate during the Judge considering her decision. On this occasion it was an entirely uneventful visit.

From there they caught a taxi to the airport for an uneventful flight home.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Cold, Cold Heart

Hermione McEwan telephoned Jason Haldis to invite him to accompany her to a barbeque to which she was invited. He accepted.

“I will be at your house at 7:30 pm tonight to pick you up”, she said.

Whilst at the barbecue they meet Pedro Devine, a friend of the sister of Hermione. In conversation with him he told them he was the jilted lover of Chastity Lewis. She had dumped him after lying to him for six (6) months about not having other lovers, yet she flaunted them via social media.

During their conversation with him neither Hermione nor Jason revealed to Pedro what they actually did. Jason told Pedro they were both security consultants.

Pedro said, “Chastity was in town speaking at a conference I was attending. We met during the lunch break and she asked me if I would like to have dinner with her. I agreed. At dinner she was extremely charming and told me she was trapped in a bad marriage.”

Hermione interjected, “You are kidding? She said she was trapped in a bad marriage?”

Pedro continued, “No, I am not kidding. That is what she said and her story was convincing. During dinner she was quite seductive, in her own way too. When the invitation to go back to her hotel room with her arrived, I was not going to resist. Chastity had a compelling quality about her. The sex with her was spectacular that night and I wanted to see her again. She told me she would contact me every time she was in town for business and we could see each other then. She seemed happy with those arrangements.”

Jason: “I expect she was very happy with those arrangements.”

Hermione: “How did you contact each other in between times?”

Pedro: “Chastity gave me her personal mobile telephone number and we rang each other and / or sent text messages to each other most days of the week.”

Jason: “I gather her husband did not know anything about this arrangement?”

Pedro: “Not as far as I am aware.  Our contact arrangements were such that he would not find out, so Chastity told me.”

Hermione asked Pedro, “Can you tell me the telephone number of Chastity Lewis, please?”

Pedro located the number and gave it to Hermione.

“I will make some enquiries about her”, Hermione said.

“So will I”, Jason added.

Hermione: “Does Chastity Lewis work for InterStellar Insurance?”

Pedro: “Yes”.

Hermione: Is she a Risk Assessment Analyst?”

Pedro: “Yes”.

Jason: “Does she speak at conferences?”

Pedro: “Yes”

Hermione then showed Pedro her mobile telephone.
“Is that her picture and biography on the Conference Speaker List?”

Pedro: “Yes”

Hermione: “How long did the good times last?”

Pedro: “About fifteen (15) months and then Chastity started lying to me for about six (6) months about not having other lovers, yet she flaunted them via social media.”

Hermione: “Did you see her during those six (6) moths?”

Pedro: “Very rarely. She always had excuses as to why we could not see each other. But she always seemed to be able to travel to see the men she was flaunting on social media.”

Jason: “And then she dumped you?”

Pedro: “A disinterested telephone call was all I got from her telling me our relationship was over. She had clearly moved on to these other men by that stage and I was of no use to her, so she discarded me.”

Jason: “Not a bad life for someone ‘trapped in a bad marriage’.”

Pedro: “It certainly did not make me happy.”

Hermione: “I do not expect it did.”

Jason: “Would you like someone to have a chat with her?”

Pedro responded immediately, “I would like someone to do a lot more than just have a chat with her.”

Then he looked at Hermione and Jason and reconsidered the question. His next response was a little different.

“Yes, I would like someone to have a chat with her.”

Jason: “We will see what we can do.”

Hermione: “You say you managed to keep your affair with Chastity Lewis quiet and very discreet. It would be helpful for all concerned if you were similarly discreet about this conversation.”

Pedro: “I understand completely.”

Jason: “That would be very helpful.”

Pedro: “Here are some of her social media posts about where she is next likely to travel for business over the next few months.”

Pedro then showed his mobile telephone to Jason and Hermione.

Jason read the social media posts to which Pedro referred him.

“Thank you, Pedro. I have made copies of them”, Hermione said.

Jason then returned the mobile telephone to Pedro.

Jason: “We should probably mix with other people here tonight, Pedro. So as not to draw unnecessary attention to ourselves.”

Hermione: “We can perhaps chat again later in the evening, if we need to.”

Pedro: “OK. Thank you for talking to me.”

Pedro then went and joined a group of six (6) or seven (7) people, who seemed to be having a humourous conversation.

Hermione: “I am interested in having a chat with Chastity Lewis.”

Jason: “That is a little forward for you, Hermione.”

Hermione: “My sister has told me many times what a nice guy Pedro is and how much Chastity Lewis upset him by the way she treated him.”

Jason: “Your enthusiasm has captured my attention and so has your proposed project. I am also interested in having a chat with Chastity Lewis. It seems she will be at The Troubadour Hotel next month and you are quite fond of The Troubadour Hotel.”

Hermione: “It is true I know my way around The Troubadour Hotel. It will be no trouble to set up an audio-visual feed in the room in which Chastity Lewis is staying at the Hotel.”

Shortly thereafter Hermione and Jason left the barbecue, without anyone apparently being aware of their departure.

As Hermione parked her car outside the house of Jason, he said to her, “That turned out to be an interesting barbeque and evening, Hermione.”

Hermione: “Pedro Devine was not the reason I invited you. He just happened to be there. But it has certainly been an interesting evening. I will speak with you again tomorrow.”

Jason said “Thank you” and walked inside his house.

Hermione then drove home.

Troubadour Hotel Room Surprise
Eight (8) days later Jason said to Hermione, “So, Hermione, it is off to The Troubadour Hotel.”

“Yes, Jason. I have already installed the audio-visual feed in the room.”

Jason: “If things go as we suspect, Chastity Lewis will have an audio-video souvenir of her adulterous visit to The Troubadour Hotel.”

Hermione: “Which she will share with her family, friends and work colleagues.”

Jason: “Our taxi to The Love Shack awaits.”

Hermione: “Then let us not delay.”

When they arrived at The Troubadour Hotel Hermione told Jason, “I have arranged for us to have a room nearby the Love Nest. It will make our operations a little easier.”

Hermione: “I also managed to upload a bug to her mobile telephone, so I should be able to tell when Chastity Lewis is in the hotel.”

Jason: “Very helpful.”

About an hour and twenty (20) minutes after Jason and Hermione arrived at The Troubadour Hotel Chastity Lewis arrived. A man accompanied her as she checked in.

Hermione said to Jason: “I believe the star of the show has arrived and she appears to have a male companion.”

Jason: “I expect it will not be long before the floorshow starts.”

Hermione: “You would think the companion would be a little discreet about attending here with Chastity. Presenting at the Reception Counter with her draws unnecessary attention to them.”

The Chastity Lewis Hotel Room
After checking in, Chastity Lewis and her male companion proceeded to their hotel room.

Jason: “Your equipment seems to be working very well, Hermione. That is quite a view we are getting.”

Hermione said, “The sound is working too” as she let Jason listen to her headphones.

Jason: “Obviously getting to know each other is a higher priority for this pair than unpacking their bags and the like.”

Hermione: “She is clearly a very willing participant in this interpersonal interaction and a rather vocal one as well.”

Jason: “I suspect her experience is far superior to his.”

Hermione: “Yes and I predict that they will call for room service shortly. That will be our cue. I have enough audio-visual material for our purposes, so we can proceed with the next stage of our plan.”

Jason: “I think I am ready.”

Room Service
As Hermione predicted, ten (10) minutes later, Chastity telephoned for room service.

Wearing an earpiece from Hermione and disguised as room service staff, Jason visited the hotel room of Chastity Lewis with a trolley carrying food. Whilst he waited outside the room and knocked on the door, Hermione told Jason that the male guest of Chastity Lewis had gone into the bathroom, which was just inside the hotel room door.

As Chastity let Jason into the hotel room, she walked over to the table where she said to Jason she wanted him to put the food. Jason detoured from that path, walked in to the bathroom and shot the companion of Chastity dead, using a gun with a silencer.

He then walked back into the main hotel room area and spoke with Chastity, whilst pointing the gun at her.

“Do not say one (1) word”, Jason said sternly to her. “Sit on the bed and watch the television.”

A stunned and scared Chastity did as she was told.

Hermione then played the recording of Chastity entering the hotel with her my companion and the subsequent sexual liaison between the two (2) of them on the television in the hotel room.

Chastity was in shock at what she was watching.

Jason again spoke to Chastity, “Do not worry about your mobile telephone. It has been disabled. And do not get any clever ideas. We are going to have a chat about your infidelity.”

“That very entertaining video you have just watched is going to be shared with a variety of people from the address book of your mobile telephone, including your husband, your parents and your employer.”

Hermione told Jason the video distribution was complete.

Jason continued to Chastity, “I was also going to make you make some telephone calls and confess your infidelity, but that is too much trouble. Instead, you can join your lover.”

Jason promptly shot Chastity Lewis three (3) times and killed her.

Jason then telephoned one of his contacts and they immediately attended the hotel room, disguised as cleaning and housekeeping staff. Both the dead bodies were put in trolleys covered by soiled laundry. They were then taken downstairs and transported to the Central City Hospital.

As Jason helped the cleaning crew clean up after him, Hermione removed the audio-visual feed she set up for the room. They had all clearly done this before because it was done quietly and with precision. Within twenty (20) minutes they were all walking out of the hotel room and it looked like nothing untoward had happened.

Fifteen (15) minutes later Jason and Hermione were greeted by his friend in the furnace room in the bowels of the Central City Hospital. Without delay the bodies of Chastity Lewis and her lover were put into the furnace with lots of waste from the hospital that was being destroyed. Like that hospital waste, they were never seen again.

Once Hermione and Jason finished the job, they had lunch together.

During the lunch Hermione telephoned Pedro Devine and told him Chastity Lewis and her lover would not be attending any further conferences.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Everything Has a Price To Pay

“This is a modern song, this is a social situation. Background for your casual conversation.” That is The Numbers doing Modern Song, Daniel Soames thought to himself as he approached the entrance to The Exchange Hotel, in Brisbane City, the venue for the gig by JFK & The Cuban Crisis he was attending that evening. That is a pretty good way to open the entertainment for the evening, he added.  Once inside he saw Tabasco Cortez, Felicia, Charisma, Trent, Hamish and Mirabelle. Others arrived a little later.

This group of roughly fifteen (15) to twenty (20) young people met as a result of attending music venues such as this one, night clubs and parties.  There was a roughly even spread across the sexes and they tended to continue to keep each other's company as they frequented the various performances and parties.  They could hardly be called a Scooby Gang, but friendships were formed, some of which were tighter than others.

Perhaps not surprisingly sexual experimentation takes place within the group, as does experimentation with so-called recreational drugs. Many of the group were "trying to find themselves". This all took place whilst they held down jobs and some were also studying at university.  For the most part they all got along, but it was not always smooth sailing within their respective relationships.

As the Disc jockey followed The Numbers with Almost with You by The Church, Daniel thought there existed a reasonable sized original music scene in Brisbane for him to enjoy and he dismissed the talk that he so often heard from people from Sydney and Melbourne about the apparently limited entertainment available in Brisbane, Queensland Australia circa 1982.  He knew from experience the Brisbane scene included a diverse range of live bands, dance clubs and parties.  In fact later in the evening there was discussion amongst his group of friends about a party being held at Paddington the following afternoon, Saturday.  Daniel was told that he should come along.

A little later in the evening Daniel had the following exchange with Tabasco Cortez:
Daniel: Have you heard the new album by Blue Rondo a la Turk, Chewing The Fat?
Tabasco: I thought Billy Idol or Altered Images would be more your style?
Daniel: How long have we known each other?
Tabasco: About twelve (12) months.
Daniel: Where did we meet?
Tabasco: The same as with the rest of our group, at a music venue like this one.
Daniel: What do we talk about what we get together?
Tabasco: Mostly music.
Daniel: So how is it against all of that background, you seem to not know my taste in music?
Tabasco: I guess I do not pay as much attention as I should.

JFK & The Cuban Crisis then started their gig and the rest of the world could wait, as far as Daniel was concerned.

Buoyed by the wonderful experience of the JFK & The Cuban Crisis gig Daniel decided to attend the Paddington party Saturday afternoon.

Shortly after he arrived at the party Daniel happened upon a conversation involving Charisma, one of the females within the group, and a few other members of their group present at the party.  Charisma loudly expressed her opinion about Trent and Hamish, two (2) of the younger males within the group, both of whom were only months out of high school. Daniel understood each of them to have some heterosexual experience under their respective belts, including a dalliance or three (3) with one (1) or two (2) of the girls within the group.  However thanks to Charisma, he learned that those two (2) young men apparently decided to partner off or at least get together. Charisma was kind enough to share with anyone who was within earshot that she considered that this liaison was not a union based on love, but a youthful experimentation. Her disdain was clear for all to see and hear.

Daniel thought this was a surprise admission from Charisma because previously she had not expressed any sexual or romantic interest in either of the males concerned and ordinarily she was rather quiet and reserved.

Notwithstanding that obvious disdain from Charisma, Felicia asked the group if anyone had seen either Trent or Hamish that day.  Mirabelle said that she had heard they both were admitted to hospital, having taken too many drugs the night before.  She did not seem too concerned for either of them.

Charisma added “That is hardly surprising news.  It is not the first time they have done that and I suspect it will not be the last.  I expect it will mean days off work again for both of them.”

No one seemed to be arguing with Charisma.

Daniel then saw Tabasco Cortez was at the party, so he went over to talk to him.  They each said that they intended to go to The Underground night club that evening.

Reality Bites
Over the next two (2) to three (3) years the Scooby Gang stayed together, for the most part, but the demands of work and life started to chip away at the group and by 1985 it had all but disintegrated.

As far as Daniel was aware, the fledgling Trent / Hamish relationship continued during that period, even though both parties apparently saw other people from time to time.  Their life of experimentation had introduced them to not just social scarring, but also physical and mental scarring. Their at times rather obvious relationship was not generally accepted in the wider community. Charisma and her disdain was something with which they could deal, they thought, but dealing with the disapproval from their respective work colleagues was much harder for them individually and together. They found advancement opportunities were much rarer for them than their respective work colleagues and they ultimately realised that did not occur by accident.

Their drug taking caused them both health problems and their sexual experimentation introduced them to sexually transmitted diseases on more than one occasion.  It was not uncommon for them to have to spend days in hospital to deal with the consequences of their excesses.  The complications that created at work made their lives even more difficult.

Whilst they had each other they were fine and they did not notice the increasing isolation they were experiencing as the Scooby Gang chose to mix with them less and less. They also failed to immediately notice how the greater community was also not as accepting of them individually or together as that community accepted the other members of their Scooby Gang. They lived in their own bubble of youth, ignoring the outside world. When the bubble burst, the culture shock the real world had in store for them was severe.

The End is Near, The Final Curtain?
By early 1986 the increasing tension in their relationship became too much for Trent and Hamish to bear and they ultimately ended their relationship. It was then that they found out the difficulties that their previous life choices had created for them. Their respective working environments were seriously not accepting of their homosexual disposition and lifestyle, whether it be one of convenience or genuine. They were also both experiencing increasing health problems from their considerable drug and alcohol consumption and carefree attitude to sex.  Hamish learned that his liver was failing and he would probably soon need a transplant.  Trent discovered that his kidneys were in a similar state of deterioration.

A future of increasing isolation and deteriorating health was not one either of them foresaw
when they decided to get together only months after they initially met. Whether their relationship was genuine or merely one of convenience, its ultimate consequences for them were very real and they both respectively acknowledged that they did not possess the skills to deal with those difficulties alone.

Hamish pursued relationships with women from time to time, none of which lasted any significant time. Both he and Trent foresaw no prospect of a reconciliation between them and they pursued separate lives.

Trent moved out of the home of his parents and into shared accommodation with two (2) other people he had met in his recent night-clubbing forays. He tried to form friendships that might offer some support to him in a life which appeared to be decaying relentlessly for him. His new friends liked to party and abuse alcohol and drugs. After five (5) months Trent realised that that shared accommodation was not a healthy environment for him and he moved back in with his parents. They continued to urge Trent to remain sufficiently focussed so that he would keep his job. To that extent they were successful. Despite his troubles, Trent managed to keep his job.

As his health deteriorated, Trent required more and more medical care and he spent considerably more time at his local public hospital. That also reduced the time available in his life to pursue social activities. Invariably Trent attended his medical appointments alone because he had no adults in his life supporting him, other than his parents.

Unbeknown to Trent, Hamish was also attending the same public hospital to receive treatment for his condition. Hamish had crossed paths again with Felicia when they simultaneously attended the same music shop. They spent some time together catching up over several months and whilst no romantic relationship was formed, Felicia was someone from whom Hamish gained support for his situation. In that regard, Felicia was more valuable to Hamish than any of the girlfriends he may have had at the time.

Felicia and Charisma
Whilst accompanying Hamish during one of his hospital visits, Felicia ran into Charisma, who worked as a Patient Liaison Officer at the hospital. Felicia and Charisma had not seen each other for a couple of years. They spent a little time catching up and Felicia told Charisma she was at the hospital providing some support to Hamish. Charisma told Felicia both Hamish and Trent were patients at the hospital and they had been scheduled for serious surgery: Trent for a kidney transplant and Hamish for a liver transplant. The surgery was scheduled to proceed in the next month.

Felicia and Charisma discussed whether there was any benefit in telling both Trent and Hamish they were patients at the same hospital. They decided not to tell at that stage. However it was obvious that both women were saddened by the situations in which their Scooby Gang friends had found themselves.

Trent  - Kidney Transplant
When Trent was admitted to hospital to undergo his kidney transplant surgery, Charisma contacted Felicia and asked her whether she wanted to visit and support Trent. Charisma told Felicia she would be keeping a close watch on Trent and see how the surgery progressed.

“Can you let me know when the surgery is over and I will go and visit him?”, Felicia asked Charisma.

“Certainly”, Felicia replied.

Eighteen (18) hours later Charisma telephoned Felicia.

“I have some terrible news for you. Trent died during surgery earlier today. The liver transplant surgery for Hamish is scheduled for three (3) days time. I will leave it up to you at the moment as to whether you tell Hamish what happened with Trent.”

“That is terrible news about Trent, Charisma. I did not know him well, but he did not seem that bad. Tragic to die so young”, Felicia replied.

Charisma: “If you like, we can get together later and talk about it. We can talk about Hamish too. His condition is worse than Trent and his prospects were not said to be as good.”

Felicia: “Yes. I would like that. We can also talk about what, if anything, I tell Hamish about Trent.”

Charisma met Felicia at a café near her and they spent about two (2) hours talking about Trent, Hamish and old times.

Felicia said several times to Charisma, “I cannot decide whether to tell Hamish about Trent and I do not know how to tell him, even if I decide to tell him.”

Charisma did not pressure Felicia. She offered her support and tried to let her decide what she wanted to do.

Just before they left and went home Charisma said, “Felicia, I will do what I can to organise my schedule to be with you when Hamish is taken in to surgery.”

Hamish - Liver Transplant
Felicia saw Hamish the night before his surgery and told him about Trent. She could see the news was upsetting for him. Felicia tried to be positive with Hamish, but she could see it was all very difficult for him. She did not stay very long that evening and said she would be at the hospital the next day supporting him.

Not long after they arrived at the hospital for the surgery, Charisma greeted Hamish and Felicia and said she would do what she could to assist them. Hamish was surprised to see Charisma, but grateful and he thanked her for visiting and supporting him. Both women could see that Hamish was worried.

As the preparations for surgery for Hamish really got underway, Charisma could see the tears welling in the eyes of Felicia. It was something she had seen many times before in similar situations.

Charisma stood beside Felicia and hugged her as Hamish was taken into surgery.

A portable music player nearby was playing Boy George and Culture Club performing Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?