by Mary W Maxwell
On September 7, 2016, I started to attend the murder trial of Amirah Droudis in Sydney. What has the title of this article got to do with that? The first few days focused on “tracking” the accused, and her late partner, Man Haron Monis. The authorities want to know where they were at the time the exwife was murdered. That was the afternoon of April 21, 2013.
We Will Follow You
Tracking consisted of the fact that Monis’ Cherokee jeep had a tracking device placed on it by police regarding an earlier offence. Thus police not only can say where he has gone, they can pick up his car’s image as he drives past any number of cameras on the street.
They can also trace all his phone calls – I was amazed to learn that when you make even a call from a payphone, God is watching you.
And the police in this trial have put into evidence any text message the couple ever sent. I am here to say there is no privacy in this world!
Say you are getting off the Sydney train at the Strathfield station, walking along the platform on a Sunday evening and there is no one around. You might think it is perfectly polite to pick your nose — as the rule against nose-picking (or other minor breaches of hygiene etiquette) have to do with causing offense.
Ah, but just because you think there is no one there – that’s not good enough. The cameras are there.
At the Droudis trial they showed us videos from the CCTVs proving the location of the accused in two train stations. I do not mean to suggest she attended to her nasal needs. It’s I who thought, wow, you can’t do anything anymore without having a permanent record made of it. This is so appalling.
Shades of the Old Bailey
The trial is being held in Oxford St at the Darlinghurst Courthouse, which is a walk into English history. It is a small courtroom with creaky floors and highly polished desks. The judge sits high up, wearing garb right out of the 17th century (red velvet robe and gold satin cowl).
To his right sits the sheriff. To his left is the jury box but no jurors in this case. To his right is the media box, almost as empty as the jury box. Smack in front of His Honor is the box for the accused.
Amirah is pretty, and young-looking, and was not featuring that shower-cap type thing. Apparently they provide nice shampoo at the prison.
Her hands were definitely not manacled, I assumed she might be wearing a leg iron.
Because I arrived five minutes late I did not see her being brought in. Then I hoped to see her going out at the lunch break so I could get a load of the leg iron. However, she seemed to disappear from the courtroom.
I couldn’t fathom it until the next day when I saw that she arrives and departs via a trap door in the accused’s box. I am not joking.
I do wish to challenge one thing I saw in the media. The headline was “Monis Feigned Chest Pains.” I do not deny that he had the ability to feign anything; he was a deceitful type. But the video in question consisted of him being greeted, in hospital, by a cop who informed him that the ex-wife had died.
The cop did not say the lady was killed or stabbed, just “died.” Monis’ reply was “Maybe it is not the same person. Are you sure?” Then the cop left the room to get something and Monis, who was sitting on a bed, bowed his head way down. When the cop came back Monis said “I need to lie down, my heart is beating very fast.”
Say what you will about him pulling a false show of shock, but you can’t say he feigned chest pains, because he didn’t. Right?
More Gumshoe Coverage of the Case Later
I do not consider myself “media” and chasing around after murder trials is not my scene. You will figure, correctly, that my stickybeaking this matter has to do with the Lindt Café inquest, in which I have a huge interest.
Amirah Droudis was arrested in November, 2013, along with Monis, over the death of Monis’s ex-wife. Her trial opened on August 16 this year, nearly exactly as the Lindt Café Inquest ended its public hearings.
I then decided to follow it in the media — but there was almost no reporting. In fact all was silent after the initial splash about neighbors hearing the screams of the lady being stabbed outside her apartment.
I figured that the judge had called an adjournment for a few weeks as they sometimes do. But I was wrong, the thing was proceeding but media did not cover it. Now, on the days I have sat in the gallery, I saw sometimes one or two media persons on duty (and one morning six!) but often none.
And no hint of a representative from the staff of the Lindt Café Inquest. Isn’t that amazing? To find out what happened on April 21, 2103 would necessarily shed some light on what Monis was thinking on December 15, 2014, wouldn’t it?
The Privacy Issue Is an Issue in Itself
I will post at Gumshoe next week a few more part in this series, with details of the case.
For today, just remember no nose-picking on a train platform, no ill-considered remarks in a text message, and no driving anywhere where you wouldn’t want your car to be caught on camera.
Never scratch any part of your body lower than the collarbone. God is watching and many, many cameras are recording.
Nothing whatsoever is private.
— Mary is an Adelaidean who is getting the hang of Sydney