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Finally it's over! Outcome of trial.

Our journey through the FCC has finally come to an end.  My husband and I are the grandparents of a beautiful nearly 12 year old girl. She came in to our care when she was 3 after her mother (our daughter) lost her life in a car accident.  The father denied he was the father and there had not been a relationship with her. I am not sure how much detail I can give in respects to him but I will say his lifestyle is not one to be proud of.  Our family, including our daughter and grand-daughter moved interstate a year before the accident.
Our introduction to the courts came unexpectedly 3 years ago when out of the blue we were served with papers. We engaged a lawyer and the first step was to have the matter transferred to our State which went smoothly. We dont live in the big city so we were on the circuit and the FM we had was only filling in until the regular FM was back from leave. When the regular FM came back he agreed with all the first FM had ordered such as, DNA testing, father to do random drug testing, to attend a family report writer in person, and gave leave for certain subpoenas. The subpoenas revealed a history (some 40 pages) of charges.and lots of other things.
The father ignored the requests for drug testing, and didnt attend in person to the Family Report writer, and I believe the FM was less than impressed with his lack of disclosure. The outcome was that things should remain as they were.
Father appeals and wins. So it starts all over again with a new FM.  We cant afford to continue with our lawyer and have to do it ourselves. The father is funded by legal aid for everything.  To say my health hadnt been affected up until the trial would be a lie, but it really started to go downhill when we (me, as I did all the work) became SRLs. The new FM seemed to not want to listen to us. My repeated requests for the father to have a psychological assessment were ignored. The fathers past was his past and had nothing to do with his present were the words of the FM. An ICL was appointed and our grand-daughter was to see a child psychologist. The child psychologist gave a glowing report of the child and my husband and I. On this information the ICL recommended the father start corresponding with the child by way of a letter once a week for a month and then phone calls and then introducing the child to the father. The FM agreed to this despite our submission that the no-one knows the father and he hasnt been seen by anyone,  that there was a need from the evidence provided and it would be in the childs best interest, that he be seen by either a Family Report writer or psychologist. The FM told us we had 20 minutes to re-read the psychologist report and he would read our submission.
In the lead up to the hearings the stress levels rise and headaches do occur. Its quite a few hours traveling for us so if the hearing is in the morning, as it was this time; we have to leave the day before. The night before the hearing my headache was quite intense and pain relief wasnt working.
Luckily my husband is good speaker and was filling that role for me. By the time the FM told us to take 20 minutes to re-read the report I could barely think. I walked out of the court room; tears streaming down my face and my husband looked at me and made a decision to go home. He informed the ICL and someone else. I dont remember much of the long drive home. My doctor was very concerned.  The stress had caused my blood pressure to sky rocket and I had a small brain bleed. I am a thin person and my BP has always been on the low side. Stress can be a killer!
So the FM made the orders, and the transcript indicates they all werent too happy we left early that day. Two months went by and no letters. They werent being sent because they didnt comply. Finally one arrives and my grand-daughter refuses to take it. She does the same with the second one. The ICL halts the letters. At the next hearing the judge is not impressed as he doesnt know what is going on so he orders us to explain by affidavit the reasons why things have not progressed.  Two days later the father demands a phone call. I notify the ICL of all my concerns. The call goes ahead and is a complete disaster. My grand-daughter refuses to speak to him and breaks down on the floor. Father doesnt care and insists I make her get on the phone. His father gets on the phone as well. I end the call and immediately contact ICL with the details of what happened.
Next hearing FM orders child psychologist again and set date for trial. Child psychologist report shows child has anxiety from what has happened and ICL now recommends no contact.
I dont think Ive ever studied so much and the help I received through this forum gave me the confidence to walk into that court room without a hint of nerves. I was well prepared and ready to fight for my grand-daughter. The fathers legal aid had been stopped and he had no representation. Finally the people who thought it was a good idea to introduce father and child without knowing anything about the father would finally see for themselves. It only took 1 day, well really not even a day to order that our grand-daughter can make that choice herself if and when she wants any contact.
I will never know what the FM, the ICL or even the child psychologist thoughts were on that day regarding the father but I can say; if they had listened to my requests for the father to have a psychological assessment I can confidently say the child would not have suffered and gone through what she did and I probably would have been saved the brain bleed.  In my opinion the FM and ICL made some wrong decisions based on the best interest of the child, because they failed to get the evidence to support that. Although the end result was what I fought for, I am terribly angry and disillusioned with everything else. Of course this is quite a clinical version, imagine the reading if it were detailed!
Congrats to the 3 of you.Sounds like the right outcome achieved albeit at emotional costs to you all.
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