child abductionThe following is a story written by the mother of a five year old who is the  subject of court proceedings.  The  child   was last seen by the people who claim to be his  grand parents  when he was a few weeks old.   The  couples son ,  a criminal and a drug addict was killed in a car accident last year. The  applicants  having raised their own son to be a druggy and a criminal now wish to take this  happy healthy  child from his family so that they  can replace their  loss.   They  have lots of money, while the solo mum of  five  battles on her own  this proves that  anything is possible in NZ  Courts  this is the mothers story …

1 August 2012.  It was a normal day.  It must have been a Wednesday because my four (nearly five) year old was home and Wednesday was the only day he didn’t go to kindy.  I was doing normal mama things – baking a raspberry slice (very kiwi) for my other four children for when the came home from school. 

 There was a knock at my ranch-slider.  Standing there, was an overweight, sort of old guy.  He looked trustworthy enough (ha ha).  He said he had some documents for me.  I had to invite him in because the icing on my raspberry slice was just about to set.  He handed me the documents and gave me an acknowledgement slip to sign.  He said you don’t have to sign it if you don’t want to.  I said “no it is okay”.  He left the documents with me and my heart started pounding upon reading the content of the documentation.  It was an application for parenting order and about five affidavits in support from the applicants and their three daughters (I had only met the daughters on one occasion each, two of whom I had barely spoken too).  They had all types of interesting (not pleasant in nature) things to say about me though – even though I didn’t know them!

 The applicants are the parents of a person, (I call him a “person” because he definitely wasn’t a man) I had a very brief relationship with about five years prior.  It was all a bit disastrous and I won’t go into that.  In short, that person destroyed my marriage of 14 years, (it takes two – I know) which tore my family apart.  He was a violent convicted criminal and had drug addiction problems.  I have no excuse.

 The person hadn’t bothered to be around during my pregnancy or after (apart from about four short appearances).  His parents however, had tried to keep in touch – but they were doing my head and behaving in a manner which was very detrimental to my children and my family, so in a nutshell, I had to tell them I would deal with the “person” only.  He could not be bothered, so that was that!  My husband however, had been around (bless him) and continues to be around for his children, which includes my youngest child.

 In May 2012 the “person” killed himself on his motorbike.  In June his parents (the applicants) had the applications all under way with the Family (lol) Court.  It had been nearly five years, but upon their son’s death, they want instant contact.  Once a fortnight, then overnight and for half the school holidays!  Not much to ask from someone my child doesn’t even know, out of the blue.

 I filed a notice of defence and supporting affidavits by my people.  This was to try and undo some of the damage that the applicants had done because of their lies about me in order to discredit me.  This was not a nice way, in my opinion, to approach someone after five years, so that they could build a relationship with a “grandson”.  Impressing the Court?  I can’t for the life of me, figure out why they would attack, insult and lie about me, in order to build a future relationship.

 Subsequently, I did not agree to the contact.  I am the parent and I “thought” at that time it was my right, as a parent, to decide who my child could have contact with or who he couldn’t.  How wrong could I be?  Maybe the lawyer could have advised to send a nice letter …”things have been difficult in the past but maybe we could move forward in a positive way…”  It wouldn’t have hurt to try.  I suppose that is not really a way forward for a lawyer to make money though, is it?  Or maybe it is the controlling nature of the applicants.  Both probably.

 At this point I should mention that I wasn’t entirely certain that the “person” who died on his motorbike, was the father.  I was legally married at the time, and the timing was questionable.  Judge ruled however, that birth certificate dead guy was the father.  There was my answer, the law which states “the husband is presumed to be the father….” did not apply.  The applicants had the Judge’s ruling – and the proceedings would continue.  Well no! – the applicants want proof – that they are the “grandparents”.  They asked (not really asked but demanded) that I agree to DNA testing my son.  I denied.  Who are these people again?  Wealthy (I’m not sure how they are so wealthy) parents of a person I had a brief relationship with five years ago – that’s who, whose son was a drug addict, and also a violent convicted criminal!  

 The applicants apparently filed with the Family (LOL) Court,  an application for paternity order and an application placing my child under guardianship of the court (so that they could get their DNA tests carried out on my son), not very aggressive is it?

 The relevant documentation, which according to the District Court Rules, has to be served personally on me, was not!  Counsel for the applicants had a “document server” (joke) contracted to Translegal Services New Zealand Ltd, “serve the documents”.  There is just one problem with this – HE DIDN’T!!! 

 The first I knew of the supposed service was 4 February 2013, at 4.55pm, when counsel for the applicants sent me the “affidavit of service” by email.  The following day Registrar’s List was set down, only I had no idea because I had not been served.  I knew a thing or two about Court documents, having been a legal secretary previously.  The “affidavit of service” was a mess.  It was not signed, it was not dated in places, it had no legible name on it, it was not initialled, the document was sworn to be served on me on Monday the 4th of January 201? (only the 4th was actually a Friday – oops)   And with a Court hearing looming full steam ahead because I apparently, had not filed a notice of defence, dahh – because I had no knowledge of the documents at all (I had not been served), had to try and do something to slow this annihilation down.

 On 5 February 2013, after having not slept a wink (and having taken the day off work), I got out of bed (absolutely shattered and in complete disbelief) to go to the Police to report that Michael Downey had committed perjury (a crime under section 111 of the Crimes Act and punishable by three years imprisonment).  The Police advised me however, that they could do nothing until the document had been through Court and proven false! 

 I urgently filed an affidavit swearing I was not at my address when the document server swore to serving me, I was in Papamoa (some five hours drive from my address where he purported to have served me).  After the initial shock, and after I had filed my affidavit swearing I wasn’t home, I realised I had proof of my whereabouts, in the form of purchase receipts, bank statements and I also had my friend who I was staying with, swear an affidavit that I was with her and her family.  Sorted!  By this time, I trusted no-one.  I had another good friend of mine drive the two hour drive to Auckland to file my affidavits by hand.

 I thought the Court would accept my fool proof evidence that I was not home on the day at the time Michael Downey swore to serving me.  Counsel for the applicants, filed the affidavit with the Court on 4 February, by email only, and simultaneously served the same on the lawyer for the child and myself.  The lawyer acted on the “affidavit of service” and so did I by way of my affidavits.  Then the dirty trick.  Counsel for the applicants did not file the original document.  They now say it was because the document was “rejected” by the Court.  Only it was me who noted in my submissions of the errors in the document, which did I think, slow matters a little.

 No “affidavit of service” filed.  No proceedings!  No way – Judge orders that unless a satisfactory “affidavit of service” is filed (which of course it wasn’t) by 22 February, then the documents could be served by registered post before 22 February.  Which they were not.  Counsel for the applicants filed within the 54 page submissions to the Court a docket dated 22 February.  The only thing is I did not receive them.  The postie apparently signed for the registered post for me.  Yes the postie forged my signature on the docket, and when were the documents handed over?

 Judge also states in his directions “the mother now disputes having been served”… “the mother must understand that if the applicants are successful in their applications, she will be required to pay all or some of the applicant’s legal expenses.”

Am I stressed by now?  Immensely.  I don’t sleep, can’t eat and when I do eat it’s junk because I have no inclination or energy to cook.  I have to keep going to work and caring for five children and I am being utterly hounded by Counsel for the applicants.  I block them from my email – they find the loop-hole in that and continue to harass me.  I change my mailing address because I can’t bear to go to the letterbox any longer and be sent more documents full of lies.  Sigh….

 22 March.  This is the date that all Counsel’s replies are supposed to be in by.  22 March comes and goes.  28 March.  Email from Counsel for the applicants.  This time another “affidavit of service” of Michael Downey dated 18 March.  He has now changed his story completely.  He swears in his second affidavit that he had all his information wrong and that upon checking his records (even though I have an email from Counsel saying that they have checked with Translegal and they advise the document server definitely served you on 4 January 2013!) he realises the time and date of service was actually Thursday, 3 January at 7.45am.  He notes my mother’s car was at my address and it was not there earlier (it moved itself apparently).  My children and I were away and we were in my 7 seater diesel vehicle (not my mother’s car which moves itself apparently).  My family and I were away from 2 January to 6 January.  Returning to my address on the 7th of January.

 By now I have completely had enough of the lies and the stupid games the lawyers are playing.  I have written to the Minister of Justice, the Attorney-General, the Minister of Courts even the Prime Minister who acknowledges – yes I can be assured my concerns as to document service in New Zealand have been noted.  So armed with my letter from the Attorney-General which reads “if you  consider that a criminal offence has been committed, it is open to you to refer the matter to the Police.”  So that is what I do… and this time they listen.  I spend two hours with the Police reporting my complaint of perjury regarding Downey’s two false conflicting affidavits.  It is now being investigated, after having gone full circle.

 Court hearing 23 April.  Last day to file submissions 4pm, 18 April (Court slip says three working days prior to 23 April, so you have to work it out).  Submissions from Counsel for the applicants arrive at 3.47pm.  Contained in those submissions is notice of further applications, “due to my behaviour” – the applicants are applying to appoint themselves guardians!   Counsel are trying to slip this through the appointed Court hearing.  No service, no defence filed.  Apparently, Judge has given a direction that the service documents can be served by registered post.

 (the District Court Rules states the following:) 

 “Personal service of applications

ñ7.26.1 A main application and the documents required under the Act or under this Part to accompany the application must be served personally on every person who is required to be served with the application and those documents.”

 I have now come to the conclusion that the Family (LOL) Court, definitely does not consider me under the category of “every person” because quite clearly, they can serve me any way at all – I am not deserving to have documents served personally on me!!  I have even been told this by the Minister of Justice herself. 

 I am the Respondent – who would have no qualms at all about my son having association with the applicants who are of  such gentle nature – NOT.

 The registered post thing… the Judge considers I have evaded service because counsel are persuading the Court that the false affidavits are the truth.  I however, consider there is a slight difference between a “legal document server” lying about having served documentation (placing my child under guardianship of the Court) in two separate, conflicting affidavits and me avoiding service.  The sleazy document server committed a crime – and it seems he is allowed to – and should be protected at all costs.  Is non-service the secret weapon of choice, of lawyers?

Outcome?  Who knows – what next?  This pulverisation – designed to cause maximum stress and hardship, is what they call “justice”!

We will keep  you posted on the   progress   http://justnz.wordpress.com/

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