So the David Hicks saga is over. Finally. Well, the chapters of the saga up to when he walked free from an Adelaide jail earlier today anyway.
No doubt the media will be keeping track of him for most of the rest of his life. You don't invest all that time, energy and column inches making someone incredibly famous just to let them slink back into anonymity again.
Oh yes, we will be hearing much, much more from and about David Hicks, once his media gag falls off after March 30, 2008.
His lawyer read a statement on Hicks' behalf. There was an apology from Hicks, but not for running around with the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden before 9/11 :
Attorney General Robert McClelland all but begged the media to go easy on Hicks :
"I had hoped to be able to speak to the media but I am just not strong enough at the moment, it's as simple as that. I am sorry for that.
"So for now, I will limit what I have to say - I will say more at a later time.
"I would ask the media and the public understand and respect this.
"Right now I am looking forward to some quiet time with my wonderful Dad, my family and friends.
"I ask that you respect my privacy as I will need time to readjust to society and to obtain medical care for the consequences of five and a half years at Guantanamo Bay.
"I have been told that my readjustment will be a slow process and should involve a gentle transition away from the media spotlight."
"Mr Hicks is now entitled to start rebuilding his life."
"I urge the media and members of the public to respect Mr Hick's privacy."
Yeah, as if that is going to happen.
Here's a preview of the next decade of tabloid headlines : 'Hicks Gets Job', 'Hicks Assaults Daily Telegraph Photographer', Hicks Public Breakdown', 'Hicks Falls In Love With FHM Model', 'Hicks To Become Father Again', 'Hicks Marries In Secret Ceremony', 'Exclusive : Terror Dave Wedding Pix', 'Hicks' Divorce Drama', 'Hicks Found Unconscious In Nightclub Toilet', 'Hicks Goes Into Rehab', 'Terry Hicks' Heartbreak : "At Least In Gitmo He Was Off The Gear".
Of course the media's interest level in David Hicks in the years to come will depend on how he performs in his first media interviews in April 2008. If he's full of remorse and has interesting stories to tell, they will probably go easy on him, for a while.
From The Orstrahyun Archive :
David Hicks : 'I've Met Osama 20 Times And He's Lovely'
December 2006 : David Hicks - Unconvicted, Tortured, Broken
February 2007 : John Howard - I Can Free David Hicks AnyTime I Want, But I'm Not Going To
March 2007 : Hicks Admits To 'Backing' 9/11 Attacks In Plea Deal, Is Given Suspended Sentence
October 2007 : John Howard & Dick Cheney Cut A Deal To Release Hicks
Former Prime Minister On John Howard & George W. Bush's "Evil Purpose"
The David Hicks Hex & Mocking Phillip Ruddock