Want to hear something funny?

Apparently, if I had a wealthy benefactor (oh where have I heard this statement before), there would be a possibility of me “suing” the solicitor that was supposed to be representing me at an earlier meeting where I lost my home.  Or, and here’s the killer question….. I could apply for legal aid (that was the sound of my sides splitting).

So, everything was taken from me – and innocent victim in all this mess – and to get something back I have to have money.  Which was taken from me.  Interesting position to be in, and I’ll just go back to my sewing which gives me more pleasure and is more meaningful than the legal system.

Just Say “NO”

We are still engaged in a battle with Legal Aid.  The collections people turned out to be very nice and understanding when husband called to say he could not pay the money by the end of the month, let alone the next day as was required.  It still has not gotten through to the Legal Aid team that our joint account continues to be “frozen” so it is me that will have to pay any money.  And Legal Aid is means tested, I didn’t realise that.  We’ve been assessed as having access to far more money than we do.  Hardship form has been returned with more copies of the same information that they originally received (and lost) and the first court appearance is looming.  Still no-one will look through the papers pertaining to the case.  Husband is adamant that he will represent himself rather than take another penny from me.  Very admirable, but if by having legal representation he ends up with a shorter sentence, I’d rather be penniless now than lonely in the future.

It’s always interesting being on the other side of a story and this one seems to be continually in the news – Legal Aid I mean, not ours.  Never having been a Tory supporter, I find it strange siding with Ken Clarke and his ideas on shorter sentencing.  Surely this is the way to save money, won’t more people end up serving sentences if they go to court without representation?  Isn’t it better not to lock up those who are blatantly no threat to society (yes, I know, I would say that wouldn’t I).  It is so, so easy to commit “white collar” crime and yet the devastating effects go much deeper and wider.  Please, take it from me, just do not be tempted, money is not everything in this world, just look around you and appreciate what you HAVE and not what you haven’t got.

Elation turns to depression

So, I got home last night to a letter from a “collections” agency.  Letter dated 31 May advising husband that he can pay in instalments the nearly £10,000 contribution to his legal aid.

Sorry, run that by me again – he didn’t even know legal aid had been granted.  It would seem this is how the British legal system now works.   Let me pull the scales from your eyes if you are, like I WAS, an regular, middle class, tax paying, garden centre visiting, Sunday Times reading, decent coffee-loving, organic food eating, fair trade purchasing, comfy clothes wearing, “what’s a pedicure” thinking, Radio 4 listening, let’s go for a walk type woman.  You are Guilty until proved innocent and should you cross the line you will be hammered into the ground until it is simply not possible for you to return to anything that you would class as a life worth living.

I’m going to paint a scenario here – and it could be our case or someone else’s.  A person steals money from his employer.  He gets found out.  He offers to pay the money back.  They appoint top lawyers to deal with the situation.  The man’s family knows nothing of what has been going on but in order to pay back the money the family home has to be sold.  The wife says “hang on, surely 50% of this home is mine?”.  Error, only if you get a divorce can you keep your 50%.   The couple think ok, we should pay the money back, we can move somewhere smaller with an amount of money being granted to the wife.   Strangely though the amount taken has now increased – “that’s not fair” think the couple.  Wrong – you stole so now we are going to steal from you.  The couple think about getting a lawyer but of course, with everything having been handed over the the ex-employer, there’s nothing to pay a lawyer with, so the couple have to agree to everything.  We can rebuild our lives says the husband.  After being arrested, he suddenly thinks, hang on, I’ve no bank account, I’ve understandably got to make a contribution to my legal costs, but if I get sent to prison, my wife will end up paying these fees and on her salary she’ll have no money to buy food or pay the gas bill.  On top of that, when I get out of prison, I’ll have a criminal record so I can kiss goodbye to trying to get a job because society is not too keen on ex-offenders, even those who have paid their dues to society and now want a fresh start.

Our next step is for him to complete a “hardship” form in the hope that the contribution can be reduced.  Either that or can we divorce in order for me to protect my assets?  Never.

I’m not going to say “can you believe it” but…..

Still no Legal Aid.  Actually, a correction, LA was denied for the Magistrate’s Court so husband had to attend alone.  Not a problem, he was in and out in seconds and a date has been set for July for him to attend the Crown Court.  But because no LA, his solicitor will not do any preparatory work on his case.  What fun.  His papers now go back to LA HQ.

What can I say except that I thought the pills I am taking were supposed to make me feel relaxed about the whole affair, rather than making me look as if I have the troubles of the world on my shoulders.   It’s all I think about.  I just feel alone in this situation and I’m only involved by dint of loving the accused.