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Defence lawyer Michael Doyle has lost the will to fight. He would rather have his clients plead guilty than conduct their trials. Then he meets Lightning, a young Aborigine charged with a brutal crime, committed in a sweltering North Queensland town.Doyle undertakes Lightning’s defence with practiced cynicism. But two things make this case different; Lightning claims innocence, and Doyle meets Jo Sandel, an idealistic American lawyer. Convinced that Lightning is innocent, she challenges Doyle to regain his passion. Doyle resists.Someone else wants the matter finalised without a trial. Doyle is threatened, his home burgled and evidence vanishes. Doyle and Jo recruit Dr Brodie, a passionate old public defender. Together they battle the uncompromising prosecutor and weaken the crown case.The sinister events continue and escalate. Doyle is run off the road and he and Jo are threatened and assaulted. Someone is stalking them. When Doyle’s young daughter is threatened, his ex-wife pressures Doyle to drop Lightning’s defence. Then just as Doyle is about to withdraw from the case the suspected stalker is arrested. Doyle continues to act for Lightning and the trial proceeds.In court the prosecution case gradually collapses. Lightning is released to Doyle and Jo but their fight for justice soon becomes a fight for life. They flee and make their last stand at Murdering Point, an old Aborigine massacre site. The place burns and there are gunshots and thunder and blood and violence. After, the survivors huddle together in the blackened cane and pant and breathe the burnt bittersweet air.