Compelling evidence in 'The Mary Lynch Story'
There is always more than one side to a story, and for Mary Doyley Lynch, that could not be any more true. The woman, whose murder trial in 1992 captivated an entire nation, sat in the audience at the Jamaica Shopping Club Theatre on Sunday night as actress Rosie Murray re-enacted the story of her life.
For Lynch, it was high time Jamaica heard her side of the story - the one not told by the media or that which unfolded during her trial.
Murray, in a convincing three-hour performance, transformed the stage into Lynch's bedroom as the plot unfounded for Innocence of Guilt: The Mary Lynch Story.
It was from there that Murray told Lynch's 'truth', pointing out that as a woman who had everything, she had absolutely no reason to murder her husband. To get an understanding of Lynch's state of mind on the night she committed the gruesome act, Murray took viewers back to the days she and her husband first met.
Murray, in her own unique style of delivery, took on Lynch's persona in such a believable and convincing way that by the time the play ended, most viewers felt not only that Lynch was dished a raw deal by the justice system, but that her late husband got exactly what he deserved.
Recounting the years of abuse Lynch endured during her marriage to bank executive Leary Lynch, Murray had the audience awe-struck at how much Lynch endured in their union. Stories of physical, emotional and financial abuse were enough to generate a few gasps from members of the audience, and in some cases, evoke anger as some women could not fathom why Lynch would stay in an abusive relationship.
It was during the play that many learnt just how manipulative and controlling the late Leary Lynch was and how dedicated Mary was to her husband, refusing to walk away even when she knew her life was at risk. Trying to let the audience see things from her perspective, particularly the women, Murray asked if she was the only woman to pick up a man below her standards and try to "fix him up", only to have him become the biggest mistake of her life. Having received the answer she needed, Murray drew sympathy from the audience as they now understood why she endured all she had.
Leary Lynch was her 'project', and she had made it her life's mission to see that he made something of himself, no matter the cost.
And, it cost her a lot.
Lynch, through Murray, recounted at least two miscarriages during the union, both of which were caused by lack of rest. Murray also retold stories of the countless days Lynch would go without food because her husband had an unsatisfiable appetite and would glutinously finish all she had prepared.
Lynch's aim in telling her story was to not only get persons to see why she did what she did, but to also get other battered women to speak up and get the help they need before it's too late. That message was received as the audience was encouraged to investigate, interfere and 'inform' about any type of abuse they may suspect is happening to anyone they know.
Aside from drawing sympathy, the play also showed up inconsistencies in the investigation carried out on the murder of Leary Lynch. As if members of the audience needed any more reason to not believe in the justice system, the manner in which Lynch was convicted for murder gave them plenty more reasons to doubt it.
Murray pointed to several reasons Lynch's verdict was a stretch, including the fact that her injuries sustained on the night of the murder (which could have proven that she acted in self-defense) were never entered into evidence.
Barbadian Leary Lynch was killed in 1992 during what his widow says was a fight between them. Having been convicted, Mary Lynch served 14 years in the Fort Augusta Correctional Centre in St Catherine in 2007.