Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pro Bono 11

Chapter 11.

It is a very nice leafy Eastern Suburb street, well maintained terrace
houses on both side, I stop outside No.50. A neat two storey house, except
the vegetation in the front garden is a bit overgrown, and the recycle bin
is overflowing with empty wine bottles. It's only 8:30am, better be early
than late. Det. Rogerson's unmarked police car parks right behind me on
the dot at 9.

"Good morning, James, sorry I'm late"

"Good morning, Detective, I was early, shall we go in?"

We are just about to ring the bell and an old lady in her 70s jumps out
from the next door and asks "Young men, are you looking for somebody?"

"Good morning ma'am, we are after Mrs. Markey, I'm Det. Rogerson and this
is James Menzie"

"Is she in any kind of trouble? Detective? Roslyn should be home, she never
goes out these days, I think she drinks too much, look at those empty
bottles" she points at the bin, and whispers, "she's not half what she was
before the divorce, I suspect she is suffering from depression, I feel so
sorry for her, and especially her son Ross"

"Can you tell us anything about Ross?" Rogerson asks.

"Oh, that Ross is a really good kid, he goes to St.Paul, the local school.
Such a sad case, he basically lost both parents, father to another woman,
mother to drinking. But he never stops going to school, comes home
everyday, cleans the house, looks after his mother, he told me he wants to
study music when he finishes HSC, he plays piano well. Roslyn used to be a
concert pianist, that's before alcohol destroyed her. Now I remember, I
haven't seen Ross for nearly two days, is he alright?"

"Sort of, ma'am, I can't tell you more, does Ross have any other relatives,
grandparents? uncles?"

"His grandparents live in U.K. they used to come every Christmas, but since
his grandpa developed a heart problem, they stopped visiting the Markeys
quite a few years now"

"What about Ross' father?"

"I believe he lives in Queensland with his second wife, Roslyn wants
nothing to do with him and doesn't allow Ross to make contact with him"

"Well, thank you very much for your information, may we call in again for
your help in the near future, ma'am? I didn't get your name"

"Anytime, young men, I'm Mrs. Wrendt, my husband died 10 years ago, I'm now
living on my own, all my kids have their own families now" She goes on for
another 10 minutes, Rogerson takes her phone No. down.

No answer to the door bell, Rogerson uses Ross's key to let ourselves in.
All the timber blinds are down, we turn on the light and find the place
tastefully furnished. Leather sofas, a baby grand at the corner, long
polished dining table. We gingerly open each room on our way in.

"Hello, anyone there?" No answer, until we open to a large bedroom and see
a female with a full head of blond hair sleeping soundly. We knock on the
door loudly trying to wake her up but without success. Rogerson decides to
shake her, he walks toward the bed and just when his hand reaches out, she
opens her eyes and starts screaming, "who are you, get out, get out, I'll
call the police" Rogerson has to flash his police badge repeatedly, and it
took us more than 10 minutes before we manage to calm her down and make her
realise he is from the police.

We wait in the kitchen while she gets dressed. When she walks in, I could
see the resemblance, except the color of the hairs. Without those dark
rings around her eyes, she is a very attractive woman. She sobers up with a
strong cup of coffee, then Rogerson explains to her the situation Ross is
in. She starts to shake, I'm not sure if it is caused by her concern over
Ross or the effect of alcohol. Then she starts to sob.

"Oh hell, I've ruined my son's life, only if I paid a bit more attention to
him instead of wallowing in my own sorrows. Tell me, what should I do

"I'm sorry Mrs. Markey about the whole situation. We will first need to
establish the nature of the relationship between your son and the deceased
Father O'Connor, so, can you tell us what you know about Father O'Connor,
how they came to know each other, and how close were the two, and did Ross
ever mention to you if there was any animorsity between him and Father
O'Connor. Then, with your permission, I would like to take a look at Ross'
belongings, computer records and so forth. You will also have to decide
whether you want to employ your own lawyers to represent Ross or stick with
Legal Aid, the choice is yours. Mr. James Menzie is from Legal Aid, he is
looking after your son's case at the moment, I'll let him go through the
options with you while I'm having a look at Ross' room later on"

"Father O'Connor was my priest and family friend for many years. He and
Ross were getting on well, Ross often studied at his place, sometimes
stayed overnight. Father O'Conner was a father figure to him, I just
couldn't imagine why this happened. Father O'Connor killed by Ross? Oh,
God, it couldn't be true! I couldn't think of any reason for Ross to do
this, Detective" she starts crying again. I takes over the conversation
with her while Rogerson goes to Ross' bedroom for a search. I remind of
the iPod.

"Mrs. Markey, as you know Ross is 18 years old, and I assume he has no
income of his own, therefore he is entitled to Legal Aid. However, if you
wish to employ your own lawyers to represent Ross, I have not problem with
that. But before you decide, I must advise you that a case like this could
drag on for a long period of time, and I couldn't even give you a ballpark
figure on what the final costs might be, except it will be substantial"

"I know how expensive it could be for legal advice, ask my divorce lawyers.
If I go for our own legal advice, I'll need to sell this house, the only
income I receive is child support payment from Ross' father" So, I'm still
on the case.

Rogerson comes back to the kitchen, and asks if he could take Ross'
computer back to the police station to be checked over by the IT unit, he
then hands over the iPod to me. Roslyn asks when she could visit Ross.
Rogerson heads for Father O'Connor's residence, and I takes Roslyn to
Darlinghurst Police Station. I give her the iPod to pass on to Ross, she
stays for more than an hour.

"I'll keep in touch, Mrs. Markey" I write down her phone No. before I drop
her off at her paddington home, she stands on her doorsteps, looking
forlorn, a very sorry figure indeed. I wait until she went in, then I
knock on Mrs. Wrendt's door, "Oh, you, that's James, isn't it? what can I
do for you?"

"Mrs. Wrendt, could you do me a favor? Would you look out for Mrs. Markey?
She is not in a good state, her son is in police custody, I can't discuss
his case with you at the moment, it will all come out in the press, but
please keep an eye on her" She is a busy body with a kind heart.

I wonder what's on Ross' computer, and what could be found at Father
O'Connor's residence, I'm getting impatient, I hate the waiting game, I'm
restless most of the morning.

Phone rings, "Hi, James, Rogerson here, I think you should come to the
station and have a look at some files on both computers, our IT guys
managed to bypass their password locks"

Me, Rogerson, and a couple of junior detectives sit in front of Father
O'Connor's laptop, images popping up onto the screen one by one, I don't
think shocking is the word, disgust is more appropriate. Rogerson's face
turn all red, with anger. My mind is thinking beyond acquittal, and
progressing towards compensation claim.

(To be continued.....)

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