Jail for texting
I’m a 45 year old, white male, well educated and (my opinion only and reading on, I have no doubt many of you will question this claim) of above average intelligence. I run my own custom audio/visual integration business (TV’s, stereos, etc), I’m far too busy and incredibly dis-organised as a result.
My wife of 10 years and I separated in June 06 (her decision, suddenly and completely without warning), we have a son X, who’s 8 1/2.
He’s an absolute diamond!
I have been “through the mill” as it were for the past 20 months my story I’m sure, not unlike many…evicted from the jointly owned family home, with only the clothes on my back, nights spent in the car, struggling in my case with a relatively new business and because of the way our finances were structured prior, (I paid the entire mortgage and all monthly accounts) absolutely cash poor.
At the tender age of 45, I am proud to say that I have never once struck, or even made to strike another person nor, have I ever been struck…even through school. As I like to say, I won my last fight by 60 metres. Based only…and I cannot stress enough, only text and phone communications from me – none of which was even remotely threatening – I was served with a ex parte’ protection order and so began the debarcle that is the Family Court.
My wife and I were in fact the first couple into the much vaunted “Parenting Hearings Programme”.
Because of my financial position, I self litigated in the Family Court and fucked it up completely and utterly. Whilst I was up to it in terms of intelligence and my ability to converse and communicate effectively, I took no account of the emotional effect and can confirm that, despite the fancy coloured brochures, DVDs and their continued posturing to the contrary, the family court is as adversarial any other and if what I experienced is in the best interests of the child, then the collective “we” are in deep shit! The end result is I have Sons Name for 4 hours every Thursday (3 pm til 7 pm) and every second weekend from 9 am Saturday until 1 pm on Sunday. And apparently I should be fucking grateful for that!I did have one small win. I was excused from having to attend a stopping violence programme.
Now I cannot say I recommend this method to anyone else, I’m a firm believer in the “it’s all in the delivery” theory and clearly I back myself.
However, given the eviseration I received whilst self litigating, I felt I had nothing to lose and thus, in my submission as to why I should be excused from the Stopping Violence course I called the Family Court and all those in it for every conceivable adjective (including a couple that haven’t been invented yet).
I suggested that my wife’s lawyer (Alison Adams – Laworks, a thoroughly repulsive human being) must surely be sleeping with the Judge, (albeit it in a much shorter, more direct fashion), that my wife had received preferential treatment given she was “one of them” (see below), that the hearing could not have been impartial given the Judge hearing our case (Harding from memory)was the same one who’d signed her protection order, etc, etc. Believe me I gave it to them with both barrels, all 12 pages.
Incidentally, my wife is a lawyer with her own boutique practice. Her specific area of expertise is not in any way family related. I did discover shortly after we parted ways that she had been having an affair for a no. of years with her major client (she only acts for a handful of clents, this well known “leaky homes specialist” is the majority of her business)
The other thing I did was admit I was angry. I did this both in my submission and to the Judge hearing my application to set aside. And I must say here, credit where due, the Judge hearing my application was a female, with a warm, friendly smile whose name escapes me for the mo. And the very first thing she said to me after Good Morning was “Have you seen your son? And that was and remains, the only time where the child has indeed been put at the top of the list!
She agreed with my observation that anyone, male or female suggesting they “weren’t angry” having had this sort of shit heaped upon them, would be pushing the boundaries of the believeable to the absolute extreme but reminded me “you’ll be one of a handful of men this year Mr Right, who do not have to complete this course”
As an aside, I firmly believe my wife has received above and beyond the expected level of attention from both the police – over zealous – and the Family Court and the Police again -underzealous this time -who couldn’t have cared less when, over the Dec/Jan and into early Feb this year, she knowingly and deliberately breached court orders giving me contact and access with Sons Name and she simply went off on holiday and couldn’t have cared less.
From April through November last year I continued (mostly unwittingly) to breach the protection order the result being that, facing in all 19 charges (18x BOPO, 1x theft*) on Dec 7th I was remanded in custody on the basis I presented a “real and significant risk” of re-offending.
* The theft charge. I discovered in July 07, via the sudden arrival of two Baycorp demands relating to a garden waste removal service, ordered by wife, in my name (whilst we were still together) that went unpaid after my departure and two notifications advising that I had been listed through Veda Advantage as a credit risk owing to my unpaid ACC levies, that she was not forwarding what little mail was still going to our home address.
Following this discovery I began removing my mail (which was mostly unopened – it was simply discarded immediately) from the rubbish bin, whilst it was on the verge, outside the family home, awaiting collection! That, according to Constable Pillock of the Family Violence Squad based at Onehunga, is theft?
On the 12th of December I was refused bail again on the same basis…ironically in another court at about the same time, a young father with considerably more notoriety than I and facing 2 murder charges, was granted bail. Why?
Because he no longer posed a real and significant risk of re-offending…he couldn’t murder his kids again!
On Dec 20th I pleaded guilty to all 19 charges and was sentenced to time served and 9 months supervision, along with an evaluation for psycological counselling and to complete the infamous “Stopping Violence Programme”.
I was given a 2 min, 12 second verbal flogging by Judge de Jong who called me for everything and I was apparently responsible for Sons Name poor performance at school (he got an outstanding school report, the only blemish being his punctuality – I don’t think his mother got him to school on time once last year, despite living less than 25m from the school gates). Further, I was responsible for his bed wetting (he doesn’t), his agressiveness, etc, etc.
The following is the verbatim “Summary Comment” from his teacher in his end of 2007 report
“Sons Name is a popular and well liked member of class. He has good social relationships with his classmates and is supportive and co-operative in all activities. He is able to share his ideas when asked and does this in a polite and respectful manner. He works well in group situations, often helping and supporting others. Sons Name takes his share of resposibility for the smooth running of the classroom and completes his tasks conscientiously and efficiently. I have thoroughly enjoyed having Sons Name in my class and will follow his progress with interest”
And hand written from the principal. “Great to see you doing so well Sons Name. I especially like to see you building your confidence through learning”
Had I not fallen on my sword I would have been remanded in custody until early March. Remember this is all for sending text messages. I mean, can you see the headline screaming out from The Herald ?
“Mother (47) bashed to death with text message”
Four related directly to contact and access to my son, eleven of them whilst him and his mother were holidaying in England and France and it was the only way I could contact him following her hollow promises that “Sons Name will have his phone, call him whenever you like” and “I will make sure Sons Name calls you regularly, probably from my phone so if you see the no., it’s OK to answer it”
Each text message I sent began with (in caps) “THIS IS A MESSAGE FOR Sons Name“.
The other 3 were my own stupid fault and for those I take full responsibility.
I might add here, I am not lily white. I have done some…and in particulalr, said some unbelieveably stupid things however, whilst it is apparent that the female or “applicant” has free rein, but for the male (or respondent) step 1 mm out of line and it’s a hanging.
On Feb 4th this year I was arrested again (after self reporting to the Ponsonby police station) on 4 further BOPO charges, 3 of which were for going to watch my son at a cricket coaching clinic – at his specific request and having been also invited by my mother.
She had bought him the clinic for Xmas, she was looking after him for most of that week thus, he was in her care.
The other for taking his 2008 class list printed off the school website, to him at his home. I live in a little flat, approx 300m from the family home and thus my wife and son. (Me living so close was ironically, at her behest originally). I repeat, I did this at the specific request of the “Protected Person”. I did not enter the property and his mother wasn’t within 5 miles of me on any of the occasions outlined.
Pointing out to PC Plod that I had merely responded to a specific request of the protected person which is allowed within the terms “protection order” bought the whining response “But he’s only 8?. To wit I retorted, “Yes of course and he asked for this protection order didn’t he?”
Knowing you’re smarter than the “poor cop who’s just doing his job” is one thing. Making it painfully obvious to both him and his trusty sidekick doesn’t always bear fruit. And so for the umpteenth time I got to ride in a police car, with Plod telling me confidently that I could look forward to a lengthy stay in prison as they would be opposing bail and based on my previous, they were a shoe in.
I’ll save the blow by blow for another time (as if anyone’s interested) but I can assure you, it was more than a wry smile that crossed my face as I was bailed later that day. My wife was, as I understand it ”apoplectic” And score one for the good guys!
I appeared again in the “Family Violence Court” (how to appeal to the masses…not a lot of thought went into that name) on Tues last where, I was further remanded (on bail) to appear for a defended hearing of all four charges on June 10th.
This despite the facts clearly showing that a/ I was specifically invited by the “protected person” (my son) and b/ I was also invited on 3 occasions by my mother…who was clearly in loco parentis (that’s Charles in Charge for those who aren’t au fait with Latin) and therefore free to invite me or anyone she pleased.
Yes, even Peter Ellis from the Christchurch creche (although I don’t whether he’s that keen on cricket).
And so the already overburdened taxpayer (of which I am well and truly one) will have to stump up for the cost of, if I’m not mistaken, trial by jury.
…to be continued (alas)
A couple of mildly (under the circumstances) amusing footnotes…
1/ My mother (70) was “forced” to make a statement to the police regarding my attendance at Sons Name’s cricket coaching. Fortunately, she had the good sense to conclude her “videotaped statement” by staring at the camera and leaving no one in any doubt that she was an extremely unwilling participant. Interestingly, her statement would appear to have been “omitted” from the evidence submitted by the police.
2/ I have at this point been unable to secure “funding” (via my parole officer) from an approved agency to enable me to attend the Stopping Violence course as per my convictions. Apparently I’m very low on the list, there are obviously lot’s of people who are “angrier” than I out there. (And no, I’m not interested in anyone’s suggestions as to who I might contact to rectify this. Seriously!)
Thanks for reading.
Mr Right. the man every woman’s looking for!