THERE were 10 people in court 12A of the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney on Thursday when Gillian Sneddon won her case against the State of NSW.
There was the judge, his associate, two court staff, a barrister for the State, Sneddon's legal representatives Grant Watson and Josh Clarke, a radio journalist, Sneddon and me.
Sneddon and I sat together. She travelled down by train from Wyong and we met at a cafe near the Supreme Court building an hour before the decision was handed down.
I thought she would have had a sleepless night. Not at all, she laughed.
"I had a good night's sleep," she said.
She handed me her new business card. On Monday this week she started work at Dowling Eastlakes Real Estate at Belmont - her first job in six years since she was locked out of the office of her former boss, the disgraced former NSW Labor government minister Milton Orkopoulos, who was jailed for child sex and drugs charges.
It has been an extraordinary week for Sneddon, which is saying something for a woman whose life became a series of extraordinary twists and turns from October 10, 2005.
On that day a young man rang Orkopoulos's office and asked for Sneddon by name because he believed she was an honest woman.
He told her Orkopoulos had sexually assaulted him from the age of 15. He said Orkopoulos had given him drugs and money and the sex was payment, and that Orkopoulos was also a regular drug-user.
"I remember clearly that he said to me, 'If Milton was drug-tested now, he'd test positive'." On that day, a Monday, Orkopoulos was at NSW Parliament in Sydney.
What happened from that point has been chronicled at Orkopoulos's trial, and at Sneddon's workers' compensation case against Orkopoulos, her nominal employer the former NSW Speaker, and the State of NSW.
It has been chronicled in the media, and most consistently in the Herald, where readers have been able to follow her battle for justice.
All Sneddon has ever wanted is some sense that if a person does the right thing after alleged crimes are reported, then right will be done by that person in turn.
And in Sneddon's case that hadn't happened until Thursday, when the NSW Court of Appeal found that not only had Orkopoulos bullied, harassed and victimised her after she raised the child sex allegations with him and others after October 10, 2005, and not only was the Speaker liable for breaching his duties as an employer, but the State of NSW was also liable for Orkopoulos's conduct towards her. When police required proof against Orkopoulos, Sneddon provided that proof, and was subsequently locked out of her office and shunned by many in the Labor Party.
The court hearing on Thursday was very brief. I asked Sneddon if she was nervous as the clock ticked over to 9.30am.
"I don't know. Isn't that terrible, if you can't even tell what you're feeling?" she said.
"I want so much to win that I'm not letting myself for one second even think that I won't win. I can't."
About a minute later Justice Robert Macfarlan walked in and started reading the orders, which consisted of six parts, with references to the earlier workers' compensation case and NSW government motions against Sneddon's appeal.
Watson was busy taking notes. Sneddon wasn't sure if she was ahead, or about to lose her house.
"I think you've won the things you should have won," I said, but it was only after picking up a copy of the 97-page judgment from the associate that it was clear in black and white - "the State of NSW is liable".
And it was only when Watson told her she had won that Sneddon could finally cry, and did.
The combined cost of legal action in the Sneddon case is over the $1 million mark. Thursday's decision means the State of NSW will pay most of that.
It has been a dragged-out, damaging matter from the word go, and it shouldn't have happened.
Gillian Sneddon has shown courage while too many people have run for cover from the stench of Orkopoulos's crimes.
During her workers' compensation case her father died. Last Sunday, the night before she started her new job, her mother suffered a stroke requiring surgery.
On Thursday she won her battle against the State, then caught the train back home and went to work.
All power to her.