Chris J Oliver on Facebook:
My friend Rosie has written this about the trial of her daughter Mia’s killer. Remarkable. It’s never a mistake to be kind.
OK, I'm going to try to explain what happened in court, and to try to take some of the sting out of the headlines for you people who are now grieving again.
Ayad walked into the court with his legs chained together, accompanied by 8 policemen. He was placed in a large glass isolating box, with his interpreter placed outside of the box. He stared at his knees for the entire day, only looking up to nod to his interpreter to show he understood. He is much smaller than he looks in the photos, and he now appears to be in his mid-40s, exhausted and depressed. Later the Prosecuting Attorney called him 'A broken man', and I had to agree.
The proceedings were as we had been told... all about his mental health issues. The reason this has been taking so long to come to this point is because he has been assessed in a high security mental health unit. To give you some idea of where he was in relation to our world: He arrived at that correctional institution in August 2016 in a state of terror. He believed that nearly everyone at Home Hill Hostel was in a conspiracy to try to kill him. He believed he hijacked Mia to persuade the police to rescue him as he thought he would be murdered and his body destroyed in a pizza oven..
After he killed her, he dived head first off the balcony and landed on his upper back, breaking vertebrae in his back and neck. He believes he killed Tom in self-defence.He refused food and medication, and had to be kept alive through forced feeding for months. His condition continued while he was not using cannabis and he was kept in isolation as he believed the staff were trying to kill him. He has only been stabilised through the use of medication.
I know for many people that means nothing. I know you will be wishing him and his family pain, and anguish and death.
I understand those thoughts because there was a moment yesterday when I wanted that too, and in fact at one point I left the court very angry and went out to vent about it being a complete waste of time, that the whole thing was a setup, that the four supposedly independent witnesses had concocted the whole thing together to avoid a criminal case, that Australia didn't want justice, that this was the cheaper option and they just wanted to repatriate him so they didn't have to treat him, and then the French would just release him... I was at the point of implicating the Turnbull administration, the French governemnt and the UK High Commission.
And then I suddenly realised what was happening to me. I was becoming Ayad. I was developing a paranoid, delusional conspiracy theory in my head which was taking me along the path he trod. It was a dark place, and I was angry and I knew I could go as far as I wanted down that path and it would never get any lighter.
So I stopped, and I reconnected with who I am, and who Mia was. And I went back into the court, and heard the verdict, and I recognised that the judge is trying her damnedest to ensure Ayad is kept for a minimum term of ten years and that she recognises he must be on medication and off cannabis for the rest of his life, because cannabis for him is the trigger for schizophrenia (and by the way he's been smoking it since he was 12, and this was his first episode).
Although the proceedings were devoted to the technicalities of his treatment, Les Jackson and I were allowed to read our witness statements. He did exactly the same while we read these, staring at his knees...
Apart from once, when I talked about his realisation of what he had done being a worse punishment for him than anything that could be inflicted on him. At that point he looked at me, and we stared at each other in silence for a count of three. I felt that the fact I refused to vent about hating him had made an impact. And that was why I flew half way around the world and went without sleep for five days. In the hope of achieving that connection. It's only through those moments of connection and understanding, when you get a moment of insight into the mind of another being, that change can be initiated.
In her summing up, the judge passed a message back to us from Ayad expressing his grief for what he had done to Mia and Tom, and I do believe that to live with having taken the lives of such people must be a life sentence.
The other thing I did prior to entering court was to write this letter to Ayad's mother: 'Family members present in court would like to convey our deepest sympathies to you. We understand that your suffering is not dissimilar to ours and we bear no ill will to you. If you would like to meet and talk parent to parent I would b happy for that to happen.'
She was not in court, but at the beginning of the proceedings her liaison officer gave me this: 'We share your immense pain and grief because I am a mother first and foremost but words are too weak to ask for forgiveness. My son has never been aggressive, violent or nasty in his past life. He was a peaceful and respectful boy and now he is portrayed as a monster.
Our suffering thinking what he has done will never end. It is a nightmare. May you one day find peace in your hearts. '
And at the end of the proceedings I found his Mum's Liaison officer and I told her to please send my contact details to Ayad's mother, so that we can meet, if she would like to.
And whether or not you think I'm mad for all of this, I don't care, because this is true to Mia, from being a little girl. We both believed that you can only move on to the light through love and forgiveness, and that was the path she tried so hard to tread herself.
Forgiveness can be tactical if we know it will be hard for us to get justice, and convenient if we just don't care enough.
Child to liberal parent:
What would you do if someone murdered me?
Liberal parent to liberally parented child:
I would forgive him even if his mother said to me 'I am too weak to ask for forgiveness.' After all, I wouldn't be able to bring you back just by being angry with your murderer, would I? I am a liberal parent after all! Being a liberally parented child, you will be a burden and a disappointment to me and probably end up presenting me with bastard grandchildren I will have been too cowardly to forbid you from presenting to me. if you were to get yourself murdered doing some stupid thing abroad, I just wouldn't care enough about it to allow it to poison the rest of my life with unmet demands for justice and condign punishment if I have a sex life to enjoy.