Harsh Consequences

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Chapter 12

Mitch followed Fitzy to the outside exercise yard area. Due to the overcast skies and cool winds, most other inmates remained indoors, leaving the yard almost empty.

Both men were a mirror image as they stood facing each other with their arms folded tightly in front, trying to retain some body heat.

‘Not sure if you realise it…’ Fitzy began. ‘But I think that guy you just took out is a Sergeant-at-Arms from an outlaw bikie club. Not exactly sure which club. But you know the Sergeant-at-Arms is the club enforcer, right…? The heavy from the club.’

‘What does that mean…?’ Mitch said. ‘He came at me. He was the one being a fucken smart arse, trying to stop me using the equipment.’

’Difficult to say with bikies. Some may want revenge for beating up a club member. Or they may respect that it was a fair fight – mano e mano that he started and you finished, meaning they will leave you alone. Tough to say. As always, watch your back.’

Mitch scanned around the yard area. ‘So…what’s the long story you mentioned re your training?’ Mitch said.

‘When I said I was in the Army that was only part of the picture.’

‘Were you part of an elite group…a Special Forces….or a Commando, or something high-powered like that?’

Fitzy held a focussed glare at Mitch. ‘Why do you ask that?’

Mitch flicked a finger at Fitzy’s forearm. ‘That tatt looks like some sort of motto, or something.’

Fitzy rolled his forearm over. His eyes dropped to the exposed tatt. ‘You’re pretty astute, aren’t you?’ Fitzy said. ‘That’s actually the motto of the Special Air Service Regiment—the SAS. And yes…we are a Special Forces unit in the Australian Army. We rely heavily on our anonymity, so I trust you that this stays between us.’

‘Goes without saying my friend,’ Mitch said. He flicked a finger at Fitzy’s tattoo motto. ‘But... wouldn’t that tatt give you away to anyone who knows the SAS motto...?’

Fitzy glanced at his tatt. ‘Nah...People write all sorts of philosophical shit on their bodies these days...Besides, the average punter wouldn’t know the SAS motto...’

‘I’m not surprised though,’ Mitch said. ‘The way you carry yourself…I had you pegged for something like that. Well, maybe not the SAS…but some high powered profession. So you’re trained in unarmed combat and that sort of thing…?’ Mitch said as a question.

’Yeah. I am. I did two tours of Afghanistan and one in Iraq. Put bluntly, I am trained in unarmed and armed confrontation.′ Fitzy scanned their immediate vicinity. His voice lowered as he continued. ‘I was a trained assassin. I’m not going to go into to detail, but I had to surreptitiously take out targets…people in positions of power. Where I could, I had to make it appear like an unfortunate accident, or natural causes to avoid the potential for international incidents, or back lash.’

‘Holy shit,’ Mitch said. ‘That’s high-powered, secret squirrel shit right there…How do you actually do that…make it look like natural causes?’

‘There are ways…’ Fitzy said. ‘But as I said, I won’t go into any detail.’

‘Fair enough. I understand.’

‘I have close friends and family who don’t know what I do in the Army.’ Fitzy’s head rolled. ‘Did…Did in the Army…’

‘Did…?’ Mitch said. ‘Coming in here cost you your job…?’ Mitch said as a question.

Fitzy nodded. ‘Yep. You need a clean record…’

Mitch checked his surrounds. ‘I know I’m not supposed to ask you this… you know, with prisoner rules and all...and you don’t have to answer…But, do you mind if I ask what you did to wind up in here? You don’t strike me as a criminal.’

‘You and I are not too much different Mitch…’ Fitzy said. ‘You got sent here on remand for defending yourself against home invaders…’

Mitch glared at Fitzy. How did he know that...?

Fitzy continued. ’I got sent here for defending a female from three arse ‘oles…’

‘Defending her…?’

‘Yeah. I’d been having a few drinks at a bar during some leave down here in Footscray. I’m from Victoria originally, but we are based in WA. I was about 100 metres from the pub when I heard a female scream. It was dark but I made my way to where the scream came from…’ Fitzy paused. His eyes glazed over briefly in a blank stare.

‘You don’t have to tell me, mate. I understand,’ Mitch said.

Fitzy’s eyes met Mitch. ’No, it’s all good. I walked around a corner and there were these three Lebanese guys hassling this young girl. Lifting up her short skirt, grabbing her breasts…that sort of moronic shit. They were pissed. She was clearly shit scared.

‘I asked her if she was alright. She said, “No. Please help me.” The three guys left her and came at me. I have no doubt they were going to rape her if I didn’t show up. No doubt whatsoever,’ Fitzy said.

‘You don’t get time for defending yourself. Something obviously went wrong…?’ Mitch said.

‘The three of them came at me. It was over in seconds. I took all three out fairly quickly. As it turned out, the first guy I hit fell back unconscious…struck his head on the ground. The fuck later died in hospital. They did me for manslaughter.’

‘What about the female. Surely she was a witness...’

‘She would’ve been. A damned good one too. But she took off as soon as I engaged the three attackers. I have no idea who she was. Prior to my trial my Lawyer ran articles in the local paper trying to locate her, but she never came forward.’

‘Surely three onto one is evidence enough that you were attacked.’

‘You’d think so, wouldn’t you…?’ Fitzy said. ‘But in court it was two onto one…the two that lived told the court I jumped them for no reason. Apparently I walked passed and king hit the one who died. With no other witnesses to support my story, the court found in favour of the Lebanese boys...’ Fitzy extended his arms out to his side. ‘And here I am. Fifteen months for manslaughter…’

‘Fifteen months...’ Mitch’s eyes lowered, then darted as his mind worked overtime. If a genuine bloke like Fitzy, who had fought for his country over three tours, can get fifteen months for defending himself, what am I likely to get for shooting two dead…?

‘I’ve got a parole hearing in four weeks, which is why I can’t afford to get into any shit while I’m in here. So I keep to myself,’ Fitzy said.

‘If you get parole…how long will you have served...?’

‘Nine months…What about you…? What happened to make you shoot those guys?’

Starting with the encounter on the Highway with the attempted carjacking, Mitch informed Fitzy of everything that happened on that fateful Friday night where he witnessed the murder of his Dad and how he shot and killed two home invaders.

He told how the Detectives told him he had done nothing wrong, then when the one he shot in the back died, the cops changed from being his friend, to charging him with two counts of murder. And the court remanded him here.

Fitzy held a stunned gaze during Mitch’s story, or at least aspects of it.

‘So these five intruders…five was it?’ Fitzy said.

‘Yep…’

‘These five intruders followed you to your Dad’s home…forced their way in…belted your father over the head with a hammer…’

‘Twice...’

‘Twice…’ Fitzy nodded. ’Then you come out of a bedroom brandishing a shot gun and shoot two of these guys…the same guys who just killed your Dad…’

‘You got it…’ Mitch said.

‘How the fuck did you end up in here for that…? No jury in this country would find you guilty for that…’ Fitzy said.

‘On the contrary…apparently when you shoot someone in the back it is not self-defence, regardless of what he had done only moments before.’

‘I feel for you mate…I really do. That would have been traumatic for you,’ Fitzy said. ‘I tell you what though…’ Fitzy regarded Mitch in an up and down sweep. ‘You’re a deceptive bloke to look at…I mean…you look like you wouldn’t hurt a fly, yet here you are…you take one attacker’s head off with a shot gun…you shoot another in the back…’ Fitzy flicked a finger to their unit. ‘Then you take down some fucken monster in there as if it was nothing...out fucken cold, he was…’ Fitzy shook his head. ‘I gotta tell you…I’m impressed at what you’ll do to protect yourself. You got balls on you, Mitch. I’ll say that.’

‘We are not all that different, you and I,’ Mitch said. ‘I see a lot of similarities in us both. I have no doubt you would’ve done…at least what I did…and probably some.’

‘Yeah, but I’m a Government trained killer…I have to kill for a living. I have to kill to survive. You’re a….a...What are you again…?’

‘Media advertising executive….’

‘Right. A media advertising executive. Not a job title that instils fear in the hearts of an enemy now is it? But you…’ Fitzy shook his head. ‘I’d be worried about taking you on. You’re a bad ass motherfucker…’ Fitzy laughed at his own flippancy.

The screech of the PA sounded, followed by an announcement, ‘Dinner is served in the Tea Room. All Inmates to the Tea Room. Repeat. All inmates to the Tea Room. Dinner is served.’

Fitzy gestured towards the unit. ‘Let’s go eat, Rambo….’ He said with a cheeky grin.

‘After you…Liam Fucken Neeson,’ Mitch said. ‘With your very particular set of skills...’


Early Friday afternoon a PA announcement summoned Mitch to the Guard station on the rec room floor. From there the Guard escorted Mitch to an interview room.

Mitch’s Lawyer, Frank Morgan waited inside this room. When Mitch entered Frank stood from his chair and shook Mitch’s hand. ‘Hi Mitch. Good to see you again. How is everything going in here…?’

‘Just…’ Mitch said, sliding into a chair. ‘I found out earlier in the week that I should’ve been sent to the Metropolitan Remand Centre…instead of here.’

‘That was my understanding as well,’ Frank said. He made some notes. ‘Leave that with me and I’ll see if we can get you moved.’

When he completed making a note Frank clasped his hands together on his yellow note pad. ‘Now before we start…tell me, how you have been coping with everything that happened?’

Mitch leaned his elbows onto the table. ‘It’s a battle…’ Mitch said. ‘Apart from struggling with the concept that I am actually in here…it is a constant battle. During the day, the problems are out there with all of them…’ Mitch flicked a hand towards the prison unit. ‘During the night…they’re in here…’ Mitch jabbed a finger to his temple. ‘It is so isolated when you get locked down. There is so much time alone. All I do is think. I wonder would Dad still be alive if I had acted sooner. I can’t sleep. When I do, I wake up in a fright. I keep seeing that bastard striking my Dad in the…’ Mitch’s voice tapered off.

‘What happened to your Dad was not your fault. You need to understand that, Mitch.’ Frank scribbled something on his pad. ‘I’m going to arrange for you to talk to someone…’

‘You mean a shrink…?’

‘Yes. A Doctor.’

Mitch sat back in his chair, naval gazing as Frank continued.

‘You’ve been through a horrific traumatic experience Mitch. I’d like you to talk to him. I work with him regularly on cases. He is very good…very easy to talk to. This sort of help should’ve been arranged for you much earlier.’

‘I don’t want people to think I’m a nutter, Frank.’

‘It has nothing to do with that, Mitch… “People” will not know you are meeting with him. Everything is confidential.’

Mitch held Frank’s gaze. ‘I trust you Frank. If you think I should speak to this shrink…then I’ll see him.’

Frank nodded once. ‘Good. I do think it will help. Now, for some slightly better news. I thought you would like to know that the police caught and charged with murder, the three suspects who ran from your father’s home last Friday night.’

Mitch’s eyes fell heavily to the table. The vision of his father lying face down in his own blood reappeared in Mitch’s conscious mind, followed by the guilt he carried over whether his father would still be alive today if he had acted quicker...?

‘Good…’ Mitch said.

‘Apparently they were cousins of the two brothers you shot…’

Mitch’s eyes lifted to Frank. ‘I remember now…’ Mitch said. ‘The guy I shot in the back threatened that his cousins will come back and kill us all and burn our house down,’ Mitch said.

‘Well, they are in custody now,’ Frank said. ‘OK. Now. When we met early Saturday morning at the Police station, I think I got most of what happened. But just in case, what I want you to do is walk me through everything that you can remember. Everything that happened right through until we met in the police station interview room. Are you OK to do that?’

‘Yep. I’m good.’

Frank took notes while Mitch relayed his story of events as they occurred last Friday evening. Apart from the occasional question to clarify finer details, Frank spent most of the time scribbling notes on his yellow pad.

‘…and after you left me in the interview room, they locked me up in the police cells until Monday morning,’ Mitch said.

Frank continued to scribble. He jabbed a firm full stop on his page when he finished writing. ‘OK…’ Frank returned all flipped pages to the front of his pad. ’Now. It will be our position that you had no choice but to shoot these intruders who forced their way into your parent’s home. We will contend that they followed you from the highway to your parent’s home, demanded the keys to your car from your father before killing him with a hammer.’

‘You say “contend”…’ Mitch shook his head. ‘We don’t have to contend anything. That’s what actually happened. What we state are the facts…’

‘I understand, Mitch. And you are right. What we will lead are the facts of the case, but the police will have their own version of facts.’

‘OK. I understand.’

‘There are not a lot of witnesses in this matter, given it occurred inside your parent’s home,’ Frank said. ‘I will be seeking to depose the neighbour, Mr Fuller and the two Ambulance officers who attended on the night. There is also a witness who saw the stolen vehicle driving away, however I think the prosecution will be calling that witness. If not, we will. We won’t know the police case until they provide full disclosure to us.’

By the conclusion of their meeting, a mentally and physically drained Mitch returned to General population.

He took a stroll passed the telephones to see if there were any available. He needed a spike in his spirit and having a chat with Alison could be just the panacea he needed.

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