This is Archie Butterfly reporting live from the Melbourne County Court on a cold, grey, wet dreary so-called summers day. But its sunshine and smiles all round for Lisa Zanatta and Maria Butera this morning as the judge at their pre-sentence hearing on charges of perjury to the Salem Witch Trials announced that she would not be sending the pair of former CBUS executives to the Big House.
The packed court room erupted in cheers and tears as the two sheilas whose only crime was doing what their boss, the odious David Atkin, told them to do faced the indignity of being forced to plant their pretty posteriors in the box in court room 19.1 of the flash, expensive court complex to be judged like common criminals.
It would have been one of the greatest injustices since Ned Kelly was hung and flung into a pauper’s grave should they have been sentenced to a spell in the freedom fighter’s old studio apartment in Pentridge.
For more than a year the duo – who have a long record not of crime, but of volunteer charity work – have endured many sleepless nights as they faced the prospect of being hurled behind bars as scapegoats, simply because they followed their boss Atkin’s instructions to provide CFMEU NSW Secretary Brian Parker with a list of names of workers at Lis-con – the company that this week collapsed owing workers nearly $1 million in unpaid entitlements – then showed solidarity with their comrades by not ratting them out to the Sultan of Salem at the highly politicized show trials initiated by now reviled former Prime Minister Tony Jughead Abbott.
Zanatta and Butera can now once more have a decent night’s sleep, free of the nightmare of becoming the prize scalps – in fact the only scalps – of the $100 million inquisition.
That it was ever them, rather then Atkin, in the box at the court this morning is an absolute travesty, and there will be much more revealed about the tawdry saga on this site over the coming weeks.
But for the moment a strange sort of justice has been done.
The pair of beaming birds will return to the court at 2.15pm to be formally handed down their suspended sentences, and then will walk out into the rain on Lonsdale Street the happiest women in the world.
And bloody good on them too.
Archie Butterfly – Melbourne