(Wikipedia) A transcript is a written record of spoken language. In court proceedings, a transcript is usually a record of all decisions of the judge, and the spoken arguments by the litigants’ lawyers. A related term used in the US is docket, not a full transcript. The transcript is expected to be an exact and unedited record of every spoken word, with each speaker indicated. Such a record was originally made by court stenographers who used a form of shorthand abbreviation to write as quickly as people spoke. Today most court reporters use a specialised machine with a phonetic key system, typing a key or key combination for every sound a person utters.
In the case of an all grounds appeal against a conviction in a local court such as the one I am running a transcript is quite important. I required to have a transcript to provide a basis for my case notes and as a reference More details about transcripts from the court website here.
I would imagine that in the normal procession of an appeal like this someone (me or a lawyer?) should have prepared the application and moved to get one a long time before now. You could probably forgive me if I thought that it was done already. Like everything else in this case I began asking about it long before it was needed and like every other time else I was given incorrect advice.
When the appeal was lodged at the registrar’s office in Wyong an application was also sent to Legal Aid Grant’s office to see if I this case was suitable for funding. I was contacted by both phone and internet to inform me that Karen Wilson, a lawyer from Legal Aid, had been given the task of testing my application to see if it passed the criteria needed to get the funding. In order to do that Karen ordered a transcript made of the Local Court Hearing. I had already asked what I should do to avail myself of a transcript so I could prepare a case and I was just told that my lawyer was getting one I should wait. It was many weeks later that we went to Gosford District Court for a mention. The transcript had not arrived. In court the Judge asked about it and was told that while the prosecution had the transcript for the sentencing already “WE” ( and I assumed at the time it meant my team) were waiting on the records of the hearing. It appeared to me that the judge, the prosecutor and the defence lawyer expected this awaited transcript would be a part of “MY” evidence pack. Karen eventually rang me weeks later again to tell me she had the transcript and was happy to confirm that it proved I had a case worth funding so I could relax . I was funded. Karen had informed me that she would not be going any further as a part of my team and I was asked to choose a private law firm.
I chose Brian Quinn from Gosford and eventually had an appointment with him. Prior to the appointment he was given a package of documents which he was informed was the brief of evidence for my case. I still have the brief of evidence given to David Spencer. He handed it back to me personally when I fired him. The new package given to Brian Quinn was missing several statements and there was no transcript making the new documents largely useless for the purpose of preparing my case. Brian chugged through our one appointment with some documents from my pile added to his and we parted company after a difference of opinion became toxic with no transcript in sight. I expected a transcript to be a part of that package. I expected that if Legal Aid did not have documents I needed in the brief they sent over I would have been notified. I did not expect to be ambushed again.
I wrote an email to Legal Aid demanding to know what documents they had provided to his firm and asking what documents they were able to provide. There was silence for weeks and then there was an email telling me that Brian had been given everything they had and if I wanted more I should ask the Director of Public Prosecutions or the District Court. I asked specifically about the transcripts in another email as time has been winding up for several months now and the Judge is demanding a date to go to hearing not a date to begin evidence gathering. I received a terse message from them informing me they had no transcript and neither did Brian Quinn. I have been in the District Court half a dozen times since this began and at any time before now the Legal Aid geniuses could have informed me there was something to do in there. I am furious about this
So I still do not have a transcript. I have a mad battle to get legal representation in a few days from now when we go back to court. On that day the Judge expects me to have a lawyer and to be able to give a date for the hearing. He thinks I am ready to defend myself and exactly as before Legal Aid has shuffled their feet and repeatedly ambushed me until I am not ready to fight the case despite having done everything I was told, and am able to do.
They took it on themselves to supply Brian with an incomplete package of documents. They did not contact me to ask if I could fill in the gaps or to ask if I had any of the missing documents. They did not inform me that they were supplying the brief and as it was incomplete they should not have supplied it without contacting me or giving Brian a warning that I might have to bring further documents. As they did not know if I had any documents apart from the original brief and I had no message that it would be required they could not assume that I would have it on me. They did not inform me that they did not have the transcript and as the case could not continue without it they allowed the Judge to believe we would be one last appearance from a hearing which we most definitely are not. They refused to supply me a list of which documents they have on hand so I am unable to offer to fill the gaps or to ask for any they have which I do not. The transcripts of the case have been created and used by one their lawyers. They may not know about, or they could have destroyed, or lost the one that was made for her. They may be lying
These guys have done everything except physically throw their bodies in front of me to stop me defending myself effectively. I pray this behaviour is limited to some great almighty sulk in my case alone because if they treat everyone like this then Legal Aid is one mighty screw-up. I am going to phone them up today and see what the hell is going on.
As I have yet to see the transcript and I am mindful of the phoney audio transcript sent to me by the Tenancy Tribunal when I applied for one from them I am aquiver with apprehension. Then there have been references in two emails to further documents held by the Public Prosecutors. What is that about? Is this someone else I have to work out the protocols to approach? Every time I follow one of their leads I am met with howls of derision and told I have done something I am not supposed to or I need to make some long application process. How the hell do people with less of an education than me pass through this shit? Jeez I am as sick as a dog. I have been begging these bastards to do their jobs for almost two years and they have let me down again and again and again!
Notes: I rang Gosford District Court. The person on the the phone told me that if Legal Aid was funding my case they should have a copy as it was standard that they get one. (Good grief!!! WTF!) The court is sending me copies of both of the transcripts for the hearing and the sentencing dates. Is there some silent understanding I am expected to have? What is going on?.