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   Galbally, discussing the committal hearing scheduled for the next day.

  

   Galbally was a young, well-respected member of Melbourne's most

   prestigious law family. His family tree read like a Who's Who of the

   law. Frank Galbally, his father, was one of Australia's most famous

   criminal barristers. His uncle, Jack Galbally, was a well-known

   lawyer, a minister in the State Labor government of John Cain Sr and,

   later, the Leader of the Opposition in the Victorian parliament. His

   maternal grandfather, Sir Norman O'Bryan, was a Supreme Court judge,

   as was his maternal uncle of the same name. The Galballys weren't so

   much a family of lawyers as a legal dynasty.

  

   Rather than rest on his family's laurels, Paul Galbally worked out of

   a cramped, 1970s time-warped, windowless office in a William Street

   basement, where he was surrounded by defence briefs--the only briefs

   he accepted. He liked the idea of keeping people out of prison better

   than the idea of putting them in it. Working closely with a defendant,

   he inevitably found redeeming qualities which the prosecution would

   never see. Traces of humanity, no matter how small, made his choice

   seem worthwhile.

  

   His choices in life reflected the Galbally image as champions of the

   underdog, and the family shared a background with the working class.

   Catholic. Irish. Collingwood football enthusiasts. And, of course, a

   very large family. Paul was one of eight children, and his father had

   also come from a large family.

  

   The 34-year-old criminal law specialist didn't know anything about

   computer crime when Mendax first appeared in his office, but the

   hacker's case seemed both interesting and worthy. The unemployed,

   long-haired youth had explained he could only offer whatever fees the

   Victorian Legal Aid Commission was willing to pay--a sentence Galbally

   heard often in his practice. He agreed.

  

   Galbally & O'Bryan had a very good reputation as a criminal law firm.

   Criminals, however, tended not to have a great deal of money. The

   large commercial firms might dabble in some criminal work, but they

   cushioned any resulting financial inconvenience with other, more

   profitable legal work. Pushing paper for Western Mining Corporation

   paid for glass-enclosed corner offices on the fiftieth floor.

   Defending armed robbers and drug addicts didn't.

  

   The 4 May meeting between Galbally and Mendax was only scheduled to

   take an hour or so. Although Mendax was contesting the committal

   hearing along with Prime Suspect on the following day, it was Prime

   Suspect's barrister, Boris Kayser, who was going to be running the

   show. Prime Suspect told Mendax he had managed to get full Legal Aid

   for the committal, something Galbally and Mendax had not been able to

   procure. Thus Mendax would not have his own barrister at the

   proceedings.

  

   Mendax didn't mind. Both hackers knew they would be committed to

   trial. Their immediate objective was to discredit the prosecution's

   damage claims--particularly NorTel's.

  

   As Mendax and Galbally talked, the mood in the office was upbeat.

   Mendax was feeling optimistic. Then the phone rang. It was Geoff

   Chettle, the barrister representing the DPP. While Chettle talked,

   Mendax watched a dark cloud pass across his solicitor's face. When he

   finally put the phone down, Galbally looked at Mendax with his serious,