2:17 PM Meela: you won>?????
Meela: what happened??
2:18 PM me: i got lots of bad and conflicting advice
2:19 PM talked to seven different lawyers including the prosecutor, on the day and the day before
2:21 PM some told me to stick with not guilty, some said to change my plea to guilty with circumstances, some told me how to get an adjournment, others said it wouldn’t work or wouldn’t be worthwhile. the one i was supposed to be relying on, who was away this week but phoned, instructed me to make a fuss about their slip-up with the address and other technicalities which would annoy everyone and lose me any sympathy
2:22 PM Meela: w00t
what did you do??
2:23 PM me: the prosecutor basically told me that he always won these things, and would’ve asked for $200 in costs if i’d backed down at the previous stage, but now it would be more. and he gave me more valuable procedural advice than most of the ones supposed to be on my side
2:24 PM Meela: wow
me: in the morning he said he wouldn’t oppose the adjournment but i didn’t want it any more, it wouldn’t really help to wait for judy when it would increase the costs and i didn’t even like the advice she was giving me
2:25 PM so we waited, and i got legal aid, who told me that at this late stage whichever plea i made wouldn’t really change things
2:28 PM i sat in the court room and listened to the other cases. the court officer came up and had a chat, he had seen my photos and was friendly. i told him that i didn’t really know what to plead – not guilty for x reason and guilty with x circumstances are really the same thing in substance, and i hadn’t received convincing enough advice to call myself guilty. he said he’d talk to the magistrate, and maybe i could just state my case instead of defining it in ways i don’t understand well enough
2:30 PM but i was called ten minutes before morning tea, and asked for my plea. if it was guilty they could handle it then, but if it was not guilty it would have to wait till the afternoon, when there was more time
2:32 PM everyone was appalled at the quality of my advice, and trying to advise me without really advising me. the magistrate asked the prosecutor if he knew what my defense was going to be, and he guessed right – the useful bit that the final legal aid had told me, about proving honest and reasonable mistake or something.
2:34 PM Meela: wow
me: i think the magistrate was trying to get me to just plead guilty, he knew the prosecutor had a clear photo of the clearway sign, but i had my own photos and wanted to make sure they got seen. in the end it was put back to the afternoon
2:35 PM i got the next two hours to have lunch, go back to the site and take more photos, have trouble with my phone and try to chase up my legal advice and finally get more bizarre recommendations from judy
2:36 PM at 1.30 i was back in the waiting room and the prosecutor rushes in.
he told me he’d gone back and gotten new instructions from marrickville council, to withdraw!
2:38 PM he was embarrassed, he’s never in his life withdrawn a case except at 9 in the morning, but he couldn’t in conscience rip me to shreds with the advice i had, and ask the $1000+ costs he would’ve. he said he was falling on his sword to not make this magistrate annoyed at him dragging out a petty case, or looking like a bully.
2:40 PM so at 2pm we went in and i stood up at the microphone again and agreed to it being dismissed, and left!
and giggled at random intervals for the rest of the day.
and jumped up and down a bit for the next three days.
2:44 PM did i actually get to tell you just how bad it had gotten the day before the case? i rang marrickville to confirm they’d be dropping it as we expected, and it turns out they weren’t. i was at work, though i was so tempted to take my first sick day ever. i finally got onto their lawyer, who intimidated me while telling me earnestly that he was trying not to, and then i had to drive to kellyville, stopping off at parramatta. went back past home and checked my email, and finally there was the document he had been going to send hours earlier – including a very clear picture of a clearway sign right above my car!
2:45 PM Meela: ha ha
2:47 PM me: in all this time, i had never seen it, it was behind me, outside the kebab shop, angled away. so suddenly i’m preparing to go into court, which it was much too late to get out of, unrepresented no less, and arguing something about not having noticed the clearway sign, or the yellow lines on the road, and how i wasn’t ‘between’ clearway signs as the parking officer had said, and how the sign i saw was obvious enough for me not to have had to go scouting for another one for confirmation
2:52 PM it was pretty terrifying but i’m still bouncing because it wasn’t just pity, it was my preparation, willingness to stand up and refusal to back down, and it got me the best possible outcome. the one thing all my advisors agreed on in the end was that i didn’t have much chance of anything but a reduced fine and $72 of costs, and i was risking an increased fine and enormous costs.
Meela: You poor thing. What a mess.
I’m so happy for you that you won
2:55 PM me: i don’t think my feet have touched the ground yet. this morning my mother woke me up putting on three loads of washing in a row, mowed the lawn and cut down the pretty weeds out my window, stuck the knives point-up in the drying rack and scratched my precious frypan that i always kept hidden from housemates – and i haven’t bothered to mention it
2:58 PM Meela: energy
2:59 PM nice
it isMeela: SO GOOD to hear you fought the law and YOU WON.