When Irene appears in court the next week on Home and Away in the UK, she may be facing her last night of freedom due to a strict magistrate.
Irene, who allowed wanted fugitive Dana Matheson (Ally Harris) to hide out in her oceanfront home, is currently awaiting her court date on charges of impeding a police investigation.
Irene allowed Dana to stay because she thought she was innocent, but Detective Madden (Jonny Pasvolsky), a dishonest police officer, soon found Dana’s hiding place and arrested both Irene and Harper (Jessica Redmayne).
Even though Dana’s charges were eventually withdrawn, Harper and Irene still had to face sentence after entering guilty pleas to their respective acts.
When we wrap up this week, Irene gets a call out of the blue from her attorney Greta (Amanda McGregor), telling her that her sentence is set for the following day.
Greta offers to attempt to push it back, but Irene doesn’t see the need in postponing what will inevitably happen because she already believes she will go to prison.
She sobs as she sits by herself on a park seat, feeling more isolated than before.
When the day finally comes, a dejected Irene shows up to Reefton Lakes District Court prepared to face her destiny. However, she is taken aback when Harper (Jessica Redmayne) and Dana (Ally Harris) suddenly materialise.
Greta, who is equally shocked to see Harper and Dana in next week’s shows, speculates that Harper’s attorney would have advised her to avoid Irene.
Harper clarifies that he did, but that Irene was being nice and should be supported.
Greta snaps back, “Unfortunately, Ms. Roberts’ ‘kindness’ is not on trial.”
That’s when John (Shane Withington) runs up to Irene and asks why he had to get word from Alf that morning that she was getting condemned.
Irene says, “I didn’t want to bother you,” but John isn’t having it. He presses Greta for all the information, including the type of magistrate they are dealing with.
Greta says, “He’s a stickler for the rules and a tough cookie.” “I was eager to postpone, in part because of that.”
The DPP unexpectedly requests to speak before sentence through his attorney, Matthew Filmore (Gerard Carroll), as the proceedings get underway.
He informs Magistrate O’Connell (Ritchie Singer) that Irene has a history of disobeying the law, and that the case’s facts are straightforward.
It is evident from his request that the court take notice of Irene’s criminal history that she feels above the law.
We therefore request that the maximum sentence of seven years in jail be imposed.
When Greta turns to speak to the magistrate, she clarifies that although they are not attempting to downplay the gravity of Irene’s offence, there are exceptional circumstances that account for her behaviour.
In response, the magistrate states that although he acknowledges it, he also recognises that Irene has breached the law before.
He will be considering the fact that her prior convictions “speak to a history of this kind of behaviour.”
A frightened “do something” is whispered towards Greta by John, who is seated behind them in the dock, as the magistrate gets ready to deliver down the punishment. Things are looking grim.
With a daring and spontaneous gesture, Greta continues, “I do have something to add, your honour.” “Ms. Roberts would like to address the group.”
“What in the world are you playing at?” Irene, who didn’t know she would be asked to speak, asks.
The magistrate agrees to hear the statement and gives Irene a brief 30-minute break so she may get ready and, more importantly, decompress.
Outside, Greta clarifies that although she can pose some questions to Irene, the goal of the exercise is for Irene to persuade the magistrate of her character.
Greta is adamant that they attempt something, but Irene is still hesitant, pointing out that she is not a good public speaker.
Greta says, “I’ll be honest with you, Irene—we’re in trouble.” Therefore, you must persuade the magistrate that you are an honourable and responsible citizen who has made an error. And you might get a heavy jail sentence if you don’t.
Irene finds it difficult to remain composed on the pier when Greta presses her to give an explanation for letting Dana stay at her house.
Irene reveals that although she was aware that Dana was hiding from the authorities, she was being pursued by an unscrupulous police officer.
“She was terrified and didn’t know who to trust, and she had every right to be because that Madden is bad news.”
Prosecution attorney Matthew gets up to remind the judge that Irene’s actions—which infuriate Irene—are what are at issue in this case, not Detective Madden.
She tells the attorney that she is tired of him talking about her as though she is the villain, giving him an angry look.
He responds, “You are the bad guy, Ms. Roberts.” “You are guilty of hiding a known fugitive by your own admission.”
Greta ends the meeting by informing the judge that Irene is entitled to speak freely before ensuring that she is composed enough to continue.
Irene, on the point of tears, tells the judge that even though she entered a guilty plea, she shouldn’t be the one on trial.