Monday, October 02, 2006

wow some nights can be really long

Parental Warning – very long – no really a long post – I was killing time – feel free to ignore or press back or make a cup of tea I really don’t mind – but at the time it did me good to write it all down

i was going to waffle on about this and that
but the truth is this is one of those long nights that i want to be over
a tardis would be good right now ... I could skip forward 24 hours
i have tried distracting myself ... read blogs played a little music ... added a few tracks to my ipod ... pressed the wrong button and wiped it ... now reloading all 7500+ tunes ... tum de tum … not quite what i had in mind to 'pass the time'

it often seems to be the way that if something is kicking off it will inevitably be the week when other stuff goes a bit weird ... as if the planet and the moon has not synched properly and you end up dealing with all kinds of stuff while inside you are screaming for a bit of space and bit of calm

other people come to you with their problems and you feel like asking them to keep it for a week or so while you deal with your own stuff ... or you realise that for some reason it is this exact time that your diary is crammed with things you don't really want to do but feel obliged to do

in short i have a hearing tomorrow ... it is resolve an argument between myself and the people who pay out criminal compensation ... the crux of the argument is that after five years of making all kinds of excuses ...

you know what ... i will explain ... why not ... it is the middle of the night and it is either write this or play freecell until my fingers get sore and my retinas buzz from the lcd glare of my screen ... think of yourself as a listening ear ... well why not ... you clicked here ... i didn't make you ... stop me if you have heard this before ... actually don't bother ... just look patient and bear with me ... i would do the same for you ... just not today :)

i was sexually abused as a child ... i may have mentioned it before ... almost as an aside my lawyers processed an application for criminal compensation ... we are not talking a huge amount of money but it was worth doing and would possibly offset some of our legal costs

five years ago the first forms were sent in ... months and months later we got a response ... they would be paying me the lowest tariff as it was a one off incident ... ahem ... my lawyers wrote to them and pointed out the following points which they seemed to have overlooked ... it was a few times a week over more than a year ... and then at the age of 16 & 19 their client was blackmailed with pornographic pictures taken by the perpetrator … would they kindly read and digest the police report, their clients statement, the statement of the perpetrator who had confessed to the crimes and the report written by the eminent professor who is a world renowned expert in the field of sexual abuse and it’s effects on survivors … all of which had been sent to them at an earlier date

months and months went by … and bear in mind if they had just handed over the money with no explanation we would have felt they had done their best and it was nice of them to send some money … in the circumstances we felt we were dealing with people who were not doing their job very well … did not seem to have a grasp on what they were dealing with and there were now some principles involved in the area of sticking up for the rights of survivors of abuse and other noble feelings

eventually a reply arrived … they would up the money to the next tariff but could not increase it anymore as in their opinion the two incident where your client was aged 16 & 19 were in their opinion consensual sex

now before we go any further … they weren’t … just to clear that up … they were blackmail and we stumble into all kinds of stuff about the effect of abuse on a child and how they are conditioned to respond and how they close down and how they are being incapable of reacting or protecting themselves from abuse … look just take my word for this stuff otherwise this blog post will need an editor and a publishing date J

suitable outrage and anger and some faceless person passing judgment on an issue they were clearly unqualified to comment on, meant we were once again faced with a moral dilemma … take the money and end it there … or stand up and take them on … ask for an apology for the insensitive and inappropriate comments and request an appeal against their decision as in our opinion their judgement was seriously flawed as were their arguments

so we requested an appeal … which was met with silence … a year passed … yes you read that right … a year passed … then they announced that the hearing would take the place the day before my birthday last year … my birthday is 25th October (make a note ... i like presents ... a lot) they also mentioned that the eharing would take place in Plymouth!

slightly bemused we questioned why it was taking place in Plymouth … I have been to Plymouth and frankly once in a lifetime is enough … it seemed that they were calling a Policeman as a witness and he had retired so they couldn’t demand that he comes to London so my team of Lawyers and myself (all at cost to me you understand) and the Appeals Panel, would have to go to Plymouth

We asked who the Police witness was as the Police Officer who had taken my initial statements was a woman and we had no idea who this Policeman was. They went very quiet for a long time again and then announced the hearing would take place in London on a different date and they would get back to us.

The Policeman was never mentioned again. We may be wrong but we think someone messed up quite a bit and they had got confused with another case … maybe … we will never know

The hearing took place in March this year. On arrival the opposition announced that they were now claiming that all the abuse was consensual. Apparently despite the fact the abuser had confessed to multiple counts against me and another boy in their opinion I had consented to all that abuse. Funny how after four and a half years they came up with this argument … if they truly thought this was true why didn’t they make that their first statement and not make any award at all.

We requested an adjournment and it was agreed that both sides would need a month to prepare their arguments. Here we are in October. The hearing is tomorrow. So that’s almost five years to the day when we first started this process. Also, small point but I feel a valid one, five years where I don’t get to put this aside … five years where I have to read papers, have discussions, go back and look at it all time after time. They are supposed to be compensating people not making them suffer more.

A Barrister who works in this area has kindly offered to appear on my behalf as he is interested in this working out well as the ramifications have become quite serious for any future cases he deals with. The professor who wrote the initial report on me has written to the panel a clear and concise letter explaining the many ways the opposition has got it wrong. My lawyers agreed years ago to be on a no win no fee basis as it was important to them that they see this case through. So I have some good support and a crack legal team … just wanted to write that cos it sounded cool :)

If they conclude that we have a point and the award should be increased then it can all end tomorrow that would be a good outcome. If however they conclude that nothing has changed their minds or worse I should get no award at all we have a bit of a problem.

The issue is that if they manage to avoid paying compensation on such a clear case of repeated sexual abuse … where the abuser has confessed to the crime … where nobody involved in the case has never doubted mine or other boys stories … they would in the future be able to cite this case as the reason why they will not make payments to other survivors.

We suspect that they have not reached this stage very often, if at all, before … it is possible that other people faced with the idea of more hearings give in and take the money. It is a series of most bizarre responses considering that it is a clear cut case and is one of the few cases where the abuser has confessed to his crimes.

All of which is a very long way of explaining why I am a bit stressed and kind of at a loose end … I don’t want to have a drink because one may lead to a few (no drinking problem it just feels like one of those nights) … I want a clear head tomorrow … nobody around because it is gone midnight and who in their right mind would be up and about

If it goes well I am allowed to go to regent street … visit the Apple store … and treat myself to a brand new ipod … so basically I only actually need about £250 (I might mention that to the crack legal team in the morning … well it makes their job a bit easier) … if it doesn’t go well I think I might return home and drink ice cold vodka and resign myself to a few more years of legal wrangling

This has been a long blog … but it passed a bit of time and at moments like these that is a good thing … I think I might go and make myself a nice cup of tea …

… to be continued


Kathryn said...

Thinking of you. So sorry you had that long night to go through...hope maybe that psalm about joy in the morning has been realised?

hugger steward said...

Guess what? (the clue's in the name)

<slightly restrained hug to get the measure of what's allowed>