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   Suspect responded with a blank wall, then he looked away. In fact,

   even if Mendax had wanted to say something, he couldn't. As a Crown

   witness, Prime Suspect was off-limits until the case was over.

  

   The lawyers began to file into the courtroom. The DPP representative,

   Andrea Pavleka, breezed in, momentarily lifting the tension in the

   windowless courtroom.

  

   She had that effect on people. Tall, slender and long-legged, with a

   bob of sandy blonde curls, booky spectacles resting on a cute button

   nose and an infectious laugh, Pavleka didn't so much walk into a

   courtroom as waft into it. She radiated happiness from her sunny face.

   It's a great shame, Mendax thought, that she is on the other side.

  

   The court was called into session. Prime Suspect stood in the dock and

   pleaded guilty to 26 counts of computer crimes.

  

   In the course of the proceedings his barrister, Boris Kayser, told the

   court that his client had cooperated with the police, including

   telling the AFP that the hackers had penetrated Telecom's exchanges.

   He also said that Telecom didn't believe--or didn't want to

   believe--that their exchanges had been compromised. When Kayser

   professed loudly what a model citizen his client had been, Ken Day,

   sitting in the public benches, quietly rolled his eyes.

  

   The magistrate, John Tobin, extended Prime Suspect's bail. The hacker

   would be sentenced at a later date.

  

   That matter dealt with, the focus of the courtroom shifted to Mendax's

   case. Geoff Chettle, for the prosecution, stood up, put the NorTel

   manager, who had flown in from Sydney, on the stand and asked him some

   warm-up questions.

  

   Chettle could put people at ease--or rattle them--at will. Topped by a

   minute stubble of hair, his weathered 40-something face provided a

   good match to his deep, gravelly voice. With quick eyes and a hard,

   no-nonsense manner, he lacked the pretentiousness of many barristers.

   Perhaps because he didn't seem to give a fig about nineteenth century

   protocols, he always managed to looked out of place in a barrister's

   wig and robe. Every time he stood up, the black cape slid off his lean

   shoulders. The barrister's wig went crooked. He continually adjusted

   it--tugging the wig back into the correct spot like some wayward

   child. In court, Chettle looked as if he wanted to tear off the crusty

   trappings of his profession and roll up his sleeves before sinking

   into a hearty debate. And he looked as if he would rather do it at a

   pub or the footy.

  

   The NorTel manager took the stand. Chettle asked him some questions

   designed to show the court the witness was credible, in support of the

   company's $160000 hacker-clean-up claim. His task accomplished,

   Chettle sat down.

  

   A little nervous, Paul Galbally stood up to his full height--more than

   six feet--and straightened his jacket. Dressed in a moss green suit so

   dark it was almost black, with thin lapels and a thin, 1960s style

   tie, he looked about as understated hip as a lawyer could--and still

   show his face in court.

  

   Halting at first, Galbally appeared unsure of himself. Perhaps he had

   lost his nerve because of the technical issues. WMTP files. UTMP