Vulnerable People

I am almost ready for court. I would not normally stop at this point to work on the journal but I am too tired to shower or do a lot of things I would normally do and I want to record that and this.

The trip to court seemed to take forever even with the community support worker who is very cheerful. For most of the day, and even now, any movement makes my head spin. I prefer that to the kind of burnt-out and damaged feeling that hung about all yesterday.

Nobody in the legal system really gets the difficulty people like me have in a system that depends on the protagonists being able to debate with a clear head. Things went a little better in the court though.

We went into courtroom 2 at about 11:30am and were the only people in there apart from the court “assistant”? and the magistrate. He spoke very clearly to us and mentioned everything twice and then asked if I understood. It might seem excessive or even patronising but I appreciated his efforts immensely. Several times I thought the concept of the conversation had slipped past me and each time he calmly brought it back to me.

I asked for an adjournment as we had been to Legal Aid and they had turned us down. We then took out an appeal and apparently section 57 of that code says that if we have an appeal with Legal Aid the court must grant us the adjournment. I cannot keep up with all this stuff. Craig fought quite hard to stop it and the magistrate was not keen. Nobody was sure what the law said when it first came up and the Magistrate had a morning tea break while he read up on it and then had us back after half an hour.

The court has given us until mid-November to get it sorted and then demanded we go to hearing.

Craig’s main point of contention about the adjournment was that the case had been hanging about for a while so I should have had the Legal Aid sorted. He might have mentioned that I had to move out of the home I was living in. Then I spent weeks living in motels and refuges without a phone or proper transport or or much of anything. It is not easy for a person who is well and for a handicapped guy it is an immense task that dwarfs all else. Anyway that was where we left things.

There is at least one huge gap in the safety nets that claim to protect the vulnerable. This is especially so in the legal system. I saw today how attorney’s and staff and magistrates try to equalise the way things go. Section 32 is a recognition that many mentally or intellectually ill people are falling down the plug hole unnecessarily but is far from enough. I have to fight, beg, and make a fool of myself to get any attention at all on the handicaps. If I didn’t have the support of some NGO’s this would be over and done to my detriment. It should not be so hard. It is not a failure of people. The people in the system work hard to get through an immense amount of work that is fraught with misery, fear, loss and a host of other painful emotions and outcomes. They are the ones we have had to push or beg to get the system to work and I am aware of how unfair that can be from all sides. The fact is that the system needs more tweaking to adequately look after the vulnerable who pass through it’s hands.

I will try to go back later and write more on this but a big part of the effort I and the community carers put into these cases has to do with information gathering to get those tweaks tweaked. Anyway. I am exhausted and ill and might like to get outta here and have a snooze

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