Chapter 24 : I Got The Dates Wrong
I got the dates wrong.
I was telling you in my last post about the first court hearing, where ‘he’ changed his plea ~ again ~ to guilty, but his defense was that I was not eleven, I was fourteen. When I was told this by the police man that attended, and was updating me, it made me worry.
What if he was right, have I been wrong, given the incorrect details to the police? Have I made it sound worse than it was for my own benefit? Have I ruined my chance of getting justice by making myself seem un-credible as a witness? Could I really have put all my family through this for nothing?
I spent the entire evening worried about it, and then, having learned my lesson about keeping things to myself and not asking my mum for help, I told her my concerns.
This issue has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I don’t remember who I am without it to be honest. I have certain memories that created my time line that all added up in my head. Now I was doubting myself. What if he was right and I was fourteen and not eleven?
When this first came up, I wasn’t very old. I remember telling a boyfriend about it, and crying on the bedroom floor. He told me that he understood, and had been through it as well. It surprised me, and I realized then that you just never know what secrets or burdens someone is carrying, so I should try to be nicer to people, just in case.
At the time, as I told him, I didn’t go into specifics, it was generic, and I believe I said ‘when I was younger’. That was always the way I said it. Not for any other reason than I didn’t like talking about the details.
I remember that during the previous summer holidays I had been quite ill. I stayed with my Nana for the first time as my parents enjoyed their first holiday abroad since my brother and I arrived. For the entire holiday I wanted to sleep, and my Nana would kick us out to play and get fresh air. She told me I was lazy wanting to sleep so much, but it was out of character as normally we had to be called several times to come indoors, pleading for just five more minutes. It turned out to be a rather serious viral infection that hospitalized me soon after starting at school. It rendered me weak and tired, and unable to walk the mile to school. This is when our friendly neighbor stepped up and offered to drop me off on his way to work each morning. To lock up the house before work, I till left home at the same time, and then waited at his house for around 25 minutes before we left.
After the holidays, I remember clearly going in to a new form class, and I even remember the teacher’s name. I remember the set-up of the classroom, and the falling out we had over a game of tiddlywinks. It was an overreaction on my side, but looking back could have been my way of releasing some of the anger I was feeling in a safe environment.
My mum assured me that it would be easy to check as she had the photographs in an album, clearly dated and stored in date order with the 50 other albums that she has. She retrieved the correct album from the loft, and we looked through. It was defiantly the right holiday, she had clearly written under one of the photos of her with my father and a jug of drink ‘first holiday – no kids!’
When we looked at the date, it confirmed my worst fears. I was wrong, but so was he. The details were all correct. I had gone to a new form class, but what I hadn’t remembered was the ‘me’ before this took place. The class I was in when I went to big school. Instead, I remembered the new class after I had taken my options. It did all feel new, but I had missed out the first 2 years of school as it was remarkably uneventful.
What should I do? Should I leave things as they were and hope for the best? No, I couldn’t do that. Firstly, I want this to be fair. If there is a differential between abusing an eleven year old, and abusing a thirteen year old, then there is a reason for that whether I agree with it or not. Also, if the defense found out through my medical records, they would throw out my case as the first evidence I offered would be incorrect.
I called the nice police man and explained what had happened. It would have to be amended, so he came to my house and took a statement relating to the mistake, why it had happened, how I realized that it had happened, and how I could show the correct timeline by offering my mums carefully labelled albums and my hospital records in to evidence. He comforted me and told me that I had done the right thing. He then contacted the CPS who after several days of review, confirmed that they were going to carry on with the prosecution, and amend the charges accordingly. They were happy with the case that they had, and also that I had brought this to their attention prior to the court hearing. So, I should thank him for that statement, for without it I may have lost on a technicality. If I am going to lose, I at least want to know that it has been a fair process.
I’m not nervous about the case, I’m quite at ease. It could be the tablets working, or it could be that I have been honest, and that if you tell the truth, you don’t need a fantastic memory.
Next court date is at the end of February.
I’ll keep you updated.