Thursday, 4 July 2013

'As a child I had no idea why this was happening'

I had, what I considered, a normal up bring by my own parents. I played rugby at High school and for local clubs once my school years were over. I followed my fathers foot-steps and took up the trade as an electrician.

I had girlfriends at various times and lived a full life. By the time I was 28 I had my own home and a very good income. I then meet Penny. We were introduced at a friends house warming party.

The relationship went on a normal course and within a few years we were married and expecting our first child. We had a son and named him Peter after my own father.

We moved around the top of the North Island and our son grew fast. We had tried to have another child but this never happened. It was not long after my sons tenth birthday that I thought things were not right. Penny had announced out of the blue one night that she had quit her job as a receptionist at the local medical centre. I was confused by this as I thought she enjoyed her job.

Two days later I came home (at 6.00pm) to find Penny and my son were gone along with their clothes.

I tried to ring her parents and some of her friends to find out where they were, but everyone seemed cold towards me. At 7.00pm a knock at the door came a man with papers for me from the court.

I had never seen court papers before and they were confusing for me. But I later found out they were a temporary protection order, an order for custody an occupation order.

Reading Pennys affidavits and what she had said about me was like having someone put a knife in my back. She had accused me of some horrendous acts that I had never done to her. She accused me of hitting her, having sex with her when she didn’t want it, stopping her buy stuff,  having a temper and being controlling. She accused me of hitting our son and being angry at him all the time.

I went to a lawyer and told him none of this was true and I did not know what was going on or why this had happened. My lawyer said this type of stuff was normal. I was confused how all this could be normal. I confess, I was very naïve over all this but I learnt quickly how this type of situation works.

I had to pack up my stuff (and by that all I was allowed to take was my clothes) and leave. I went to stay with a friend. By now I was starting to think of my son and how he was handling all this.

My lawyer was successful at defending the protection order. I had not hurt her as she had said and because there were no medical record or witness to her having injuries it was thrown out of court.

The ability to see my son grew harder. My lawyer did try to get access for me but there was ongoing obstruction by Penny and her lawyer.

The court was never in any hurry to hear my case and thing just got dragged out.

Hearings were also held in relation to our property. This was split, but it amazed me how I still had to pay the mortgage while Penny lived in the house. The house was finally sold, neither of us came out with much by the time the lawyers were paid.

Only four months after defending the first protection order I was served with other one. This time Penny and her lawyer were accusing me of threatening to kill her and harassing her with phone calls.

I denied it. My lawyer had already been cautious too me about contact t with her so I had none.

By now it was 2 ½ years since I had seen my son.

I was successful at defending the second protection order due to lack of evidence. My lawyer made yet another application for access arrangements between my son and I.

The next hearing into access was in front of Judge Ryan. I remember his name and think I will never forget it. It was him who planted Penny’s next step in her and her lawyers mind.

Penny’s lawyer kept arguing that I was not a good father, my son didn’t want to see me and that my son was happy with just his mum. I knew this wasn’t’ true but it still hurt to hear them being said.

At the end of the hearing Judge Ryan looked at Penny and said if she wanted to stop me seeing my son then she need to make ‘further’ claims against me. He dismissed the hearing and made a ruling allowing time for Penny and her lawyer to ‘make further’ claims against me.

I had no idea what this meant. Outside the court my lawyer told me to prepare myself. I asked why and he said it was well know when Judge Ryan used the ‘further claims’ in court it meant he was saying to make sexual abuse allegations. I was gobsmacked.

I went home worried at what was now going to happen, my worst fears came too soon.

The next day I received word from my lawyer that I had been accused of sexually abusing my son. I was devastated.

I denied all allegations and it was ordered for a Psychologist report. I had some faith in this but that was to be short lived.

I meet with the psychologist and she was nice, listen to me and wrote heaps of things down.  I felt happy at that point thinking she would see the sexual abuse was not true.

I was wrong. Her report alleged further sexual abuse, but my son could ‘not be sure’ if he was abused by me or not.

At the hearing, 2 years later, the psychologist said my son was suffering from ‘repressed memory’ and ‘Stockholm syndrome’ and my son was so confused over my sexual abuse of him he couldn’t expressed it and it was all hidden inside him’ BUT she could ‘see it in his eyes’. I had to get a dictionary to find out what these things meant. The Judge accepted all this from her.

During this time I had meet someone else who was a great support and we got married. But after this hearing I got to the point I considered suicide. I am normally a strong person, but being accused of things I know I did not do was a heavy burden to carry. I felt for people like Arthur Thomas.

The last time I saw my son was when he was 10 years old. At this point he would have been almost 16 years old. My lawyer said that at this age there was no point continuing. Penny and her lawyer had thrown more to me than I could continue to bear. I had to think of my own life and new people in my life. I fought Penny, her lawyer, Judges, the Family Court and psychologists, for just on 6 years, all to see my son. I walked away. All I’m left with is a box full of papers to show for it.


 The childs side soon.................................



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