Either Mamdouh Habib is a dangerous terrorist who should have been left to rot in jail or he is an innocent man, persecuted and tortured because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But after telling his tale of woe on 60 Minutes last week, Australia has been left to scratch it's head trying to work out how much, if any, truth lies in Habib's tale of torture and woe.
One thing is for sure though, his lawyer Stephen Hopper is a man very much on the nose with the Australian media and Government, and he continued his charm offensive with them on the ABC's Insiders. Check the whole transcript out, but here's a sample:
VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Stephen Hopper, Virginia Trioli from 774 ABC Melbourne. Do you concede now in the backwash of a rather failed interview, it would seem, on Channel Nine that you've actually - or your client has done himself more harm than good? He has muddied the waters, he seemed incredibly evasive, and the key question, what on earth he was doing in Pakistan and possibly Afghanistan, not being answered, no matter how he protests his innocence has done himself down?
STEPHEN HOPPER: I think what it really shows is it�s a failure of journalism in this country.
VIRGINIA TRIOLI: What, that she didn't ask a tougher question?
STEPHEN HOPPER: What has happened here, there's an exposure of the government not telling the truth about a lot of issues in relation to Mr Habib but what the media have focused on is Mr Habib. Why don't the media have a look at what the government's said and their whole handling of this affair?
VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Mr Hopper, this was Habib's moment to actually give his account, that's what we all expected. I don't think it�s easy in this circumstance to blame it on the media or even the government?
STEPHEN HOPPER: No, no. This might be your expectations and the Australian public's expectations.
Um yep, it was our expectation. And if you has shut your mouth last week Stephen, then the whole thing might have turned out differently.
I guess everyone is entitled to legal representation, and Habib has got his, in the form of this dill. It is a disgrace when a legal professional becomes so involved that they lack any objectivity and don’t do their client justice by attacking other individuals and groups.
But once lawyer's like Hopper become involved in high profile issues like Habib's the public get very sceptically. Australians are naturally sceptically, anyway, and Hoppers antics, angry barbs, and lack of any credible answers over the last week have done little to win his client any support or sympathy. Quite the opposite in fact....
But his little lawyer-o-meter will still be running all the same. But I wonder who is picking up the tab?