12 January 2004 -->
Today is defence lawyer Alice De Raey’s first day at Old City Hall. A focused, intelligent 26-year old, Alice is not quite prepared for the task that lies before her. Her boss James Ryder is supposed to show her around, but he is nowhere to be found. Alice seeks legal aid training from experienced Duty Counsel Zona Robinson. Zona, who is too busy, refuses. Alice must learn the job on the fly.
Alice finds her first client, Mr. Orsos, in Bail Court standing before Crown David Kaye, Duty Counsel Michael Page and Justice of the Peace Margaret Chan. Crown Kaye informs Alice that Mr. Orsos is charged with a serious assault. Alice is confused – Mr. Orsos is up for a minor matter involving a dispute with his cousin, not a serious assault. Alice manages to ascertain that Crown Kaye is referring to the wrong accused – a man named “Orkos”, not “Orsos”. Alice insists that Crown Kaye has the incorrect criminal record before him – “Orkos” has a long list of prior charges, but “Orsos” claims to have no record. The matter is held down so things can be sorted out.
But instead of being returned to the cells, Mr. Orsos is taken directly to Plea Court. On her way to find him, Alice meets defence lawyer Elliot Sacks. Presiding over plea court, Judge Serkies listens to the arguments of federal Crown Pamela Menon. Next, the matter of Mr. Orsos comes before the court. But Mr. Orsos is panicked and frightened and before he knows it (and before Alice knows it) the matter is traversed to Mental Health Court. On her way to Mental Health Court, Alice meets Mrs. Orsos, who informs her that Mr. Orsos’ cousin is present and has agreed to withdraw his complaint.
Zona introduces Alice to her second client, Mr. Tong. Mr. Tong is accused of assaulting his bruised wife Mrs. Tong. The entire Cantonese Tong family is present. Mrs. Tong wants to post bail, but because she is the complainant she cannot. The Tong daughters are angry and do not want their father released. Zona advises Alice that she may be able to get Mr. Tong released if one of the daughters agrees to take him in.
Alice clears up the confusion with Mr. Orsos in Mental Health Court and Justice Malone sends the matter back to Bail Court. Crown Kaye will later agree to let Mr. Orsos out on bail. Before leaving Mental Health Court, Alice finds Mr. Jackson, her third client of the day, a homeless man running in a municipal by-election charged with public mischief for trying to steal his opponent’s placards. If Mr. Jackson returns the placards, the charges will be dropped. But Mr. Jackson refuses on principle, claiming that his opponent is a “Nazi”. The matter is held down but he will ultimately be released.
Alice heads to the cells to meet with Mr. Orsos and finds instead Mr. Orkos, who has just arrived from the Don Jail. Mr. Orkos pleads guilty for assaulting his physically disabled landlord and is sentenced to 18 months.
Alice, standing in the hallway, is aghast to see Mr. Orsos shackled and being led with a line of prisoners into a paddy wagon while a surprised Mr. Orkos walks out of Old City Hall a free man.
Alice returns to her office and finds senior partner James Ryder. Rumour is that James has suffered a nervous breakdown and has been instructed to take a sabbatical. When James rises to leave, he is naked from the waste down. Alice is shocked. The rumours are true.