Sir Barbary Jackson is a man of pleasure. He is also one of Victoria’s most colourful politicians, often seen puffing cigars at the Europa in Melbourne and dreaming about becoming Victorian Premier. He has been a cabinet minister for over a decade and is troubled.
Sir Barbary has an irritating neighbour by the name of Tom Roberts. Tom has a particularly aggressive cockatoo by the name of Cranmer. Cranmer tends to squawk intermittently through the day, and becomes hysterical just before he gets his almond scented rum and milk. Sir Barbary is wondering what to do with that particularly beastly animal, though he would rather prefer being on good terms with Tom, having known him since they were members of the chess society in England. They have had numerous dealings in the past with business ventures, despite their foul tempers. As Sir Barbary is keen to keep any action against Tom cheap and expeditious, he ponders what to do. He feels that Andy Awkward, a mediation expert, is just the fellow to sort things out.
The very busy Sir Barbary has alleged underworld connections with Romanian toughs. Vital correspondence between himself and the Victorian police has taken place and is recorded in an assortment of files featuring underworld personalities. Some of these files include reports made by researchers for members of the Victorian Cabinet, including one entitled ‘Getting High with the Fuzz: Victorian Police and Underworld Connections.’ Amongst these files are accounts and receipts for legal services provided by lawyers Leech and Screech, who so happen to be Sir Barbary’s own lawyers as well.
Sir Barbary had, rumour has it, received payment for favours from the Victorian police at stages of his career, including the use of the famous Gentle Hearts Escort Service for extracurricular activities. ‘One has to keep the pig in clover happy,’ he is known to have said.
Crimson Hearthrob, a young journalist from The Fitzroy Weekly, is interested in writing on Sir Barbary. She is keen to secure information on these rumoured transactions. She understands that some of the discussions have been taking place in Cabinet on this very subject, though not all the research reports and briefing notes have been used in Cabinet. Sir Barbary, it so happens, is on the Police Anti-Corruption Committee.
Sir Barbary, seizing the opportunity to throw off suspicion of his own activities, attacks Salacious Sammy, member for the seat of Burwood, in a late parliamentary session. ‘The man is an impostor, a liar, a cheat, and getting favours from Romanian thugs.’ There is much discussion in the legislative assembly over this.
Proceedings against Sir Barbary are instituted by a French electronics company, Le Soir, after he did not meet his contractual obligations. Sir Barbary’s lawyers Leech and Screech have found what they believe to be valuable evidence, and feel he has various arguable cases to make. They demand more time after the trial date was set for two weeks. Delays to make amendments may take up to four weeks. ‘Besides,’ claims Sir Barbary, ‘these buggers should be suing me in wine-soaked France.’
With all these troubles brewing, Sir Barbary has a dazzling thought: escape. He wishes to get on his private jet, the Brevity Jane, and fly to North Korea, where the regime of supreme leader Kim Jong-un is looking for a chess expert. He intends to evade Le Soir Ltd in the process and any claims they wish to make on him. He is optimistic. ‘They won’t be able to institute proceedings against me once I am in North Korea, nibbling caviar and downing my own collection of superb Dom Pérignon.’ Lawyers for Le Soir Ltd realise that Sir Barbary, despite claiming to be ‘debt ridden’, has a huge pool of assets including a set of priceless paintings from El Greco, and fears that he might relocate various items to North Korea and destroy others to frustrate their claims.
Sir Barbary is wondering what to do with Tom Roberts and Cranmer, and whether he should use the services of Andy Awkward. He is also wondering if his comments against Salacious Sammy may land him in trouble.
Crimson Hearthrob is wondering how to obtain the information she seeks to make a good story for her paper. She is also worried what Sir Barbary might do if she publishes the piece.
Leech and Screech remain confident about their stance on the amendments.
Le Soir Ltd’s lawyers wonder how they can respond to Sir Barbary’s potential flightiness, what options they have and what obstacles they face.
Discuss the options relevant to each party, with reference to relevant cases and legislation.
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