Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Prepare For Battle

Even though you will be dazed and stunned by the knowledge that you are now entering the world of a criminal, you need to start planning a course of action.

Your immediate action must be to accurately document everything that you can recollect about the events relating to the timeframe of the allegation. Remember any conversations and draw diagrams. This document will form the basis for your statement; in my case it is my statement. Now sign and date every page in the company of a witness and make sure that they also sign every page. I would recommend providing your representative with a copy; I lodged mine with my solicitor.

You can now take breath and arrange to meet your union representative. I was disappointed by my union who adopted a very matter of fact attitude; telling me that suspension is purely a neutral act. It is far from a neutral act - you are guilty until proven innocent and you will feel dirty and lost. You will not know if the police are involved and that at any stage you might be arrested.

It all takes weeks and, in my case, no one contacted me or helped me to understand the processes that were taking place. I needed a good solicitor to give me the reassurance that there would be someone there who cared. Even though his fees were high, it was worth it just for the comfort of knowing that there was a kind voice in the dark.

I would advise you to keep a journal of each day. It is a constructive distraction and it can help immensely to record events as your case proceeds.

You need to record any telephone calls from your school or LEA. I found that the stress of the situation made it difficult for me to concentrate on the telephone. Even the sound of the telephone ringing made me anxious and I suggest that you request that the school / LEA write to you instead - that way you can add the letters to your files.

Paranoid ? You bet !

... from the film Enemy of the State (1998) :

“It’s not paranoia if they’re really after you”

... and they are after you !