This is part seven of The Crime Hump Chronicles, the creative non-fiction narrative of quantum events.
It’s been one year since my whole world changed. One year since my seemingly ordinary life became, well, less ordinary. It was this day a year ago that the clients of a child protection agency in Eastern Ontario learned that their personal information was publicly posted on the internet. I would be blamed for this, accused of being a hacker who stole and posted the information online. I was later arrested and charged. These charges are still pending and so are my release conditions that say I cannot post any information to the internet about the agency in question.
I did not know it a year ago, but a series of life-changing decisions lay ahead of me in a roller-coaster ride of a defence that continues. I’ve only ever wanted to tell the truth and I was completely shocked about the implications of doing that. Lawyers really don’t like when their clients make decisions based on principle. It started with the phone calls. The media, MPP’s, lawyers and a ton of messages on social media and email that persist still a year later. It’s a mix of a lot of angry people and a lot of supportive people. Still, a year later I’m being stopped in the street, or stared at in the store. It happens in waves, correlating to when my court appearances make the news.
To help cope with the situation, I write. I write about what I am allowed to write about anyways. I try to write like you would when documenting on a shift report. I try to write about only what I see, objectively. I don’t pay attention to the rules of writing. I frequently lack context in a single article and catch a lot of flack for that. I even wrote a parody of a Shakespearian sonnet about my upcoming trial.
Over the past year, I have learned a lot. I’ve learned about small town police policies, local lawyers and courts and how intertwined service providers and family and criminal court can be. I’ve learned about politics, legislation and its impacts on social service delivery. I’ve seen unique families reduced to numbers or “quantitative data” used to rationalize a liberal agenda. I’ve learned about exploitation and corruption and if it can be, it will be exploited. I’ve learned to play the game, the invisible rules of the social classes and how to throw the game up in air and say, “no more!” Most importantly I’ve learned to keep writing, to keep bringing the message to new people.
It’s a beautiful day and the weather is finally seasonal. The snow has almost all melted away. Spring is here and the long, snowy winter is over. I’m cautiously optimistic that today I will set my trial date.
Last week, my lawyer called with the crown’s proposition on a potential Judge. The Judge he proposed used to be a lawyer for the complainant child protection agency. My lawyer asks if I would object to this. I almost don’t even have to answer. I half suspect this Judge was proposed as all the other local Judges have also worked for the agency for some time longer, before becoming Judges. I wonder about the implications of this in the local Family Courts. Since my arrest, I have not been allowed near any workers for the agency so I have not been able to attend court on Family Court days to observe and hand out flyers like I used to. I continue to leave flyers in the lobby however and answer a seemingly unending amount of emails from people dealing with the local child protection agency. After trial, I will be able to fully resume my activities as a voice for the oppressed. My lawyer says he will call me back.
When he calls back he advises that the crown has found a different Judge and that they’ve all agreed on a date. He tells me the date and advises me to set it at my next court appearance. I agree and thank him for his time.
Timing has allowed my husband to accompany me to court today. We get there and head straight to the court room. The court asks if there is any other counsel wishing to set a trial date. I don’t see the crown attorney on my case. I stand up a give the instructions I was given. The crown that is there shuffles through his notes and agrees with my dates. Everything is set to be heard by the Judge.
“All rise. Court is now in session. You may be seated.”
The Judge is now in the court. I must wait to officially set the date in front of the Judge. I’m the only one here to speak to the matter. Counsel for both parties are not present so my name gets called last, by the Judge. He asks me if I’ve spoken to duty counsel yet.
Before I can tell him we’ve already set the date, the other crown starts speaking and explaining the dates that we set. The Judge asks on whose consent this was agreed on. He tells them my counsel and the crown have agreed. The trial date is set. A trial confirmation hearing is also set, for June 5th 2017, in Perth.
Pathetic fallacy seems to hold true for the writer at heart. Albeit I won’t be basing my defence on this but I can certainly use such allusions to help muster the strength needed to see this thing through. My trial dates, Aug. 8th to the 18th 2017, will not be a cold, snowy days. It will also start exactly one year, to the day, of my arrest and their judicial fallacies.