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Lindy and I were old friends for a few seconds …

Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and I are old friends; well, at least we were for a few seconds outside the NSW Supreme Court sometime in the 1980’s. I’d recognised Lindy and Michael Chamberlain immediately; who wouldn’t at that time? We were still in the throes of the terrible debate. How often did we ask each other that question – ‘Do you think she did it?’ No, I thought the dingo did it, even back then. It didn’t make sense to me. I felt out of my depth, with no facts, against a tide of opinion. Also, I worked nights in a pub throughout uni and the vitriol against her from the sozzled patrons on the other side of the bar was enough for me to disagree with their case, if only privately. I wish I’d squeaked up, even if the best I could come up with was -‘Who made you drunken idiots instant legal/ forensic/ psychological and everything else experts?’

I shed a tear when the coroner at the FOURTH inquest gave Lindy and Michael the justice they’ve spent their lives fighting for. Michael called it a ‘terrifying battle’. Imagine. They were still in the dark days of this battle when I ran into them on the corner of King and Phillip Streets. I was heading up King Street alongside the law school, no doubt thinking of nothing more serious than what I might have for lunch. They were crossing Phillip Street from the Supreme Court, surrounded by legal types carrying files. It happened in a split second. I reached the corner at the same time as their sombre group. I looked up to see Lindy and Michael. They were so instantly familiar that in that sudden moment I thought they were friends of my parents; family friends.

“Oh hello!’ I said in the tone of ‘Imagine meeting you here! What a surprise!’ But still loudly enough to rudely interrupt whatever weighty conversation they’d been having. Who knows what they’d been talking about? How will we get justice? When will this terrifying battle end? Why is this happening to us? Yet at my outburst Michael and Lindy both stopped in their tracks and smiled warmly at me. Lindy stepped away from the group to embrace me like the old friend I thought she was.

“Helloooo!’ she said, with such immediate warmth and friendship I thought that perhaps for a moment we were family friends. No, by then I’d realised my blunder. They weren’t friends of my parents and I didn’t personally know them. A few seconds later, Lindy came to the same realisation. We had that moment of quiet when we realised we’d both made a bit of a mistake. She smiled at me, the stranger she now realised I was, but so warmly that I didn’t feel awkward, then she rejoined the group. I watched them continue down their long terrible road.

They’ve now reached the end of that road. They deserve justice and I’m grateful for our sakes that they fought for it. So, I don’t know Lindy or Michael personally. The only thing I do know personally is that despite their terrifying battle, Lindy stepped away for just a few seconds to greet a complete stranger with such immediate warmth and friendship. I’m so happy for both of them, my old friends for just a few seconds.

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