Before anybody condemns me while reading this chapter, wait until the end of the story before judging me.
18. Strange beliefs
Watching the news on TV one evening I caught a glimpse of the well groomed, white haired gentleman walking out of a courthouse. The man was South Australia’s longest serving, retired magistrate, Peter Liddy. He had a reputation, I was told later, of passing down particularly harsh sentences. When I saw the man and heard that he was found guilty of sex with under aged boys, something in my spirit said: “He is not guilty.” Much like the time I walked past the doctor’s surgery and heard the voice say: “Dr. Lang is innocent”. Why I suddenly questioned the guilt of another accused man at this time, I cannot answer. I had never heard of the man nor followed the court case.
Nobody in the world was the least interested in discussing any of my strange thoughts. One day I was passing 5 DN Radio station near Wellington Square, North Adelaide between driving lessons. I had heard a news item about the Liddy case just prior. On impulse (it’s impossible to explain, where the impulse came from) I stopped the car and scribbled a note on the back of my business card. It read something like: “I belief there is doubt about Peter Liddy’s guilt. Normally these people shield their faces when facing cameras out of court.”
From press reports I learned that Peter Liddy claimed to be a committed Christian. This was another reason I took interest in his case. If he was guilty, as a Christian he ought to admit guilt and not place the whole Christian community into disrepute. Peter Liddy maintained his innocence right to the end. (His initials PL as well as the two letters of Radio 5 DN become rather significant later in my story later).
I never hid my identity, even when making outrageous statements. I dropped the business card at the reception of 5 DN to be forwarded to Mr. Jeremy Cordeaux. A few days later I followed it up with a letter in which I reasoned: A magistrate is not a popular man at the best of times. Many people would have had reason to seek revenge. Could it be, that a hateful individual enlisted the support of a group to fabricate events, which are hard to disprove after 17 years? I was obviously getting myself into stress again. Did I not have enough to worry about without getting involved in this scandal?
On Sep. 7th 2001 Peter Liddy was to be sentenced in the Adelaide Supreme Court. The familiar impulsiveness made me drive into the city to attend the Supreme Court sentencing that day. I had written to Peter Liddy and he had assured me of his innocence. Was I being lied to? Was I too gullible? All I had was a “gut feeling”; a voice that I thought spoke to me. Little wonder people doubted my sanity.
There were not many spare seats in the crowded courtroom that Friday morning. I sat next to a young woman. During a break I told her of my doubt about PL’s guilt and that I had written to him. She introduced herself as Carol Altmann, court reporter for The Australian, our national Newspaper. Altmann means old man in German. After telling her my doubts about the prisoner, she told me that she thinks the accused man is guilty. However, she showed some interest in the letters I had received from the accused. I promised to email it to her. Perhaps it was not a co-incident that I sat next to her? Peter Liddy received a 25 years prison term, 18 years non-parole.
Before returning to the PL case, I must mention a phenomenon that occurred that day. It was something I could hardly have missed: Adelaide experienced its worst hailstorm in years. I remember the day clearly, because one of my children took his driving test during the hailstorm, passing the challenge despite the conditions.
It brought to mind the co-incidental timing of the worst hailstorm Sydney had ever experienced in terms of property damage. A storm was moving north along the New South Wales coast. It was meant to turn right out into the sea, but it changed direction unexpectedly to hit Sydney’s southern suburbs. One insurance giant alone reported a 400 million dollar damage claim figure. Two days earlier the same company had returned to me a copy of my road safety book, saying (in very nice terms) it would not support my project. Did I really believe that the weather is controlled by God? Definitely!
I kept my promise and wrote to Carol Altmann, the journalist from the Australian, the day after PL’s sentencing (08/09/2001):
As indicated I am sending you a copy of Peter Liddy’s letter addressed to me. I received it approx. in Mid. Aug. this year. To a long term prisoner dates don’t matter any more.
Listening to the news last night, the Channel Ten reporter said that the courtroom “erupted into cheers” and that there was an “outburst of emotion”. The ABC website states, that people clapped in the crowded courtroom. Unless I missed something, nobody clapped. The only emotion I detected was a lady behind me crying on the shoulder of the one beside her.
I noticed something else. On the ABC website (which calls the judge, Judge Nylon) there is a photo, which is titled “Peter Michael Liddy”. But there is a man and a woman shown. Good reporting should say who the woman is, or otherwise not show her in the picture.
As I whispered to you in our brief exchange in the courtroom, I believe anal intercourse between males should be outlawed, fullstop. Yes, it is impossible to police, the trouble is, we humans forget that there is ONE who sees even into a locked bedroom door.
I do feel compassion for Mr. Liddy, guilty or otherwise. Freezing his assets to make it impossible for him to find the means to defend himself, I find outrages. Justice through cash flow.
A copy of the Liddy letter I have also sent to Jeremy Cordeaux, 5 DN, Des Ryan, Editor, Messenger Press and Nick Xenophon, MLC. I don’t know if anyone can do anything at this stage, except trust and pray that justice will be done, or has been done. No one would like to see the Liddy case turn into a Lindy case.
The Lindy case I referred to was that of Lindy Chamberlain. She spent 3 years in prison accused of cutting the throat her baby daughter Azzaria in the front seat of the family car. No one believed that she saw a dingo run off with her baby in its mouth. Only by chance, when a tourist fell from Ayers Rock, and the rescue team stumbled across the evidence, was Lindy able to prove that she was telling the truth: they found the jumpsuit the baby had been wearing.
I just could not help seeing the strange similarity in names: Liddy – Lindy! Unbelievably it took me a whole year before I also recognized the co-incidence of the letters of the Radio Station - d n. I also found it significant that the two letters P L were displayed on the back of my driving school vehicle. The name of my business: Driving Plus Motor School. My slogan: Your safety is driving P L us. Those two letters also played a vital role in my second hospitalization. Power and Love! I had heard of numerology. Had I invented letter-ology or was I simply going crazy again?
I did receive an email from Carol Altmann, saying we all have to make up our own mind about the guilt of Peter Liddy. Much of my dealing with the media was one sided: Did anyone take my casual, unorthodox way of communicating seriously? I never expected Jeremy Cordeaux to answer my message. If I was just stimulating people into thinking, I was satisfied. Email was one of my main tools for spreading my thoughts. I never knew what impact my emails and other communication tools had. I left that up to God. When I felt the inner urge to act I did. I wanted to be obedient and do His will.
Even while working for the MCA I enjoyed writing articles from my experience as a driving instructor. For a short time I even produced a small newsletter for driving schools as an outlet for my ideas and jokes. I picked up the same idea again on my website and produced and emailed an e-newsletter called “Outside the Square”. Readership was a rather modest 280 recipients all over the world. Responses were scarce, but the mail I received was from all over the globe.
As the months went by I grew increasingly aware that my eccentric comments and articles were read. Unless it was my imagination playing tricks I sensed that headlines in the local newspaper reflected my thinking; but in coded form. For instance, the week after I sent above letter to Carol Altmann, with copies to other journalists and Mr. T. the front page of the Messenger Press (free newspaper) read: “Up the creek”. (The Editor of the free paper received a copy of my Altmann letter). The article was about a clean up campaign of a creek, but to me it reflected the opinion of everyone towards me; and understandably so. (In Australia ‘up the creek’ means you are totally wrong).
Another time as I was looking for the main entrance to the Yatala Remand Centre to enquire about visiting Peter Liddy, I remember entering the driveway to the Women’s prison by mistake. In the corner of my eye I spotted a courier van nearby. In the Messenger Press a few days later, a photo appeared on the front page which was taken from almost exactly the spot where I had turned the car around. My bi-polar mind again saw the co-incident and took it a as secret code just for me. I was being watched.
Every Wednesday when unwrapping the newspaper I wondered what connection I could make between a headline and any outrageous statement or article I had produced. It often had to do with the Liddy case or road safety issues. Headlines in the Messenger Press were always big and colourful. One issue showed a detailed map of the area we lived in and the vicinity where I take the dog for regular walks. I imagined this was all for my benefit, but at the same time doubted it. The cycle of doubt about my illness and faith in God’s guiding would torment me for years. Where was it all leading to, if it had any purpose?
A year later I had applied to the government for a grant to print and distribute 5000 copies of my road safety book. After the application was rejected I emailed a contact person at the newspaper, lamenting my disappointment. The next day June 11th, 2002 the headline read: “How these idiots rob our kids”. The article was about arsonists burning down schools. But I felt that the headline expressed just the way I felt: our kids were robbed of the opportunity to learn about safe driving. Only this time it was in the actual daily state wide newspaper, the Advertiser.
I began to think, that not only my mind had gone mad, but my ego was running ahead of me also. One of the symptoms of bi-polar illness is the patient linking himself to newspaper articles or radio messages. This is just what was happening to me. In my prayers I begged God to make me into a humble servant. He likes and usually answers this kind of prayer, if we really mean it. I knew he hates big egos.
On Friday August, 10th 2001 I phoned Phillip Satchell’s talkback program, The Soapbox on ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) Radio 5 AN. What prompted me was a discussion about two Australians facing the death sentence in Afghanistan for spreading Christianity. My mind recalled the time I was reprimanded while working for the MCA and given a warning for telling my clients about God. I made the point to Phillip that one can get into trouble for talking about God right here in Australia. He sided with my employer however, saying that in a professional capacity talking religion was inappropriate. Off air I told the program producer that one of my teenage clients committed suicide and how I had regretted not taking the opportunity and telling him about a loving God.
In the midday news an hour later, the headline news was: “Euthanasia Campaigner Dr. Phillip Nitschke advocates voluntary Euthanasia to be made available to teenagers”. I could hardly believe it: An hour earlier I was told it is politically incorrect to tell kids there is hope and to trust ones life to God. And here is this doctor saying the exact opposite – if there is no hope for a future life, let’s allow kids to choose death. In my mind I believed the timing was not co-incidental but arranged by my unseen, powerful friend.
The following Sunday the church news sheet had a misprint. It talked about Moses and the requirements for leadership: “Be sensitive to lpeople’s real needs”. Was it a misprint? I read it as meaning: Be sensitive to learner driver’s real needs. Did the writer responsible deliberately print the “l” to give it this double meaning?
When mentioning this co-incidence to Isobel, she shrugged it off as normal. She kept urging me to ‘move on and not to dwell on these things’. But inside I harboured a hope that I was perhaps receiving some support in a weird, but wonderful fashion. Yet I was too frightened to confront the producer of the news sheet and ask straight out. After all I was a mental patient.
At another time the church bulletin had a graphic of a railway crossing and a religious article with the headline: “When your life is on the line.” The chapter in my book on railway crossings has exactly that title with the same graphic next to it. A year later, about five kilometres from our house, a deadly train crash would occur in exactly the manner I described in this chapter. I started asking:
“Who am I?”
Autobiography - Dieter Fischer
1. More in number 2. A sound mind 3. Now I'm found 4. Candle and the Wind
5. Realm of Nature 6. All in his Hand 7. The Wonder of it All 8. To Think God loves