Car 1

Mrs Adele Driscoll

Outward appearance

Professional woman in crisp blouse, pleated grey skirt, open brown coat. Glasses as big as windows with transparent frames. Longish, curved, tinted hair.

Inside information

Works at the Foreign Exchange Desk in Lloyds Bank, York Road. Originally from Melbourne, Australia. Today she is returning to work after two weeks' jury service.

What she is doing or thinking

"Interesting case?" people ask her brightly. It was rape. She remembers the man's heavy, thuggish face and the prickle in the air when the charge was announced. The victim, a fourteen year old black girl, stood straight, proud, small-voiced. She had been terrorized into going into his flat, too afraid to fight or cry out. Adele felt hatred.

Then the psychiatrist testified. The thug is simple minded, with verbal skills that disguise that he cannot understand the most basic social signals. Afterwards, he had asked the girl if he could see her next Sunday. He was a virgin too. Something he denied in a stumbling voice as tiny and uncertain as the girl's.

But in police tapes, he was a different man: sly, ugly, playing games with the interviewers. "Yeah, I get around a bit. She didn't look fourteen, know what I mean?"

What was true? Who to believe? To be guilty of rape, he must be in a condition to know what he was doing: when did the girl say no?

God help them, the verdict was not guilty. There was a woman in the court every day. Was she his mother? When the verdict was read, the woman nodded once, yes.

Yes what?

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