Letters to Byron. The first.
Today, November 8th, 2018, is my first Letter to Byron in the new format.
Dates matter in this story.
Letters to Byron began as medical advice from my therapist at the Priory in 2013. Byron was four then and the only means of contact between us was post. Although, at the beginning, after his mother, Charlotte the family law professional, removed him from his home in suspicious circumstances, I couldn’t even send letters to Byron because I did not have his address. He could not send letters to me because he was four. And, without doubt. Shell shocked by this astonishing upheaval in his life.
Why did I not have his address?
Because Charlotte refused to provide that information by replying to my email requesting it. “Please provide me with Byron’s address. Without delay. Without the need to write again on this.”
Actually, she didn’t technically refuse and probity suggests I choose my words carefully here expecting my audience includes four members of family law with a vested interest in my Letters to Byron and, for three of them at least, with section 12 of The Administration of Justice Act 1960 at their disposal. But more about those four dodgy lawyers and the dodgy Section 12 enabling-tool for dodgy lawyers to get away with child abuse, later.
The fact is, shortly after Byron, 4, was removed from my home, I emailed Charlotte asking for Byron’s address and she never replied.
Technically yes; I understand that she denies this vehemently. (Just like Clinton ‘did not have relations with that girl because cigars don’t count’. And Trump will show his tax returns if elected.) I accept that not replying to an email at all is quite different to replying with a negative. Charlotte (who will henceforth be referred as Adler) did not actually refuse to provide his address. So I will qualify my comment accordingly. “Adler refused to provide that information when I emailed requesting it” can be interpreted as the suggestion that a member of family law did not disclose the address of a child to the parent which may be true at first blush, but within the truth of family law interpretation, there is room for doubt. And as you will read as this story unfolds, the truth of family law interpretation has a specific quality that is unique to British family law in which there is latitude. Room for doubt at the sole discretion of the members. That need have no bearing or foundation in actual truth. Whatever we understand actual truth to be, but commonly, that truth erected on a foundation of factual honesty that is untouchable by counter-argument.
Like, for example; it is true that not disclosing a 4 year old child’s address to the father he adores, while demanding money for doing so is unacceptable conduct, which, left unaccounted for by the responsible party, is an invitation to continue down that same path.
It is also true that being granted anonymity from accountability through membership of a gang is dangerous. An avenue that once entered has no turning back. One fraught with ethical peril.
Ordinarily, not providing a traumatized young child’s address to his similarly traumatized parent would be considered poor parental behavior that increased the extent of the trauma for both parties. Child and parent. Especially if the offending parent has removed the child from his family home in a deceitful premeditated act of malice, demanding money before disclosing the child’s address. When that parent is also a member of family law, the excuse of ignorance of legal boundaries in matters of access to children, evaporates. Ignorance of the law is no mitigation, especially when the offender is a lawyer.
So, having cleared up the distance between my words and my intention, I am happy have that entered into judgment. In 2013, in the weeks after removing Byron from my home, Adler refused to provide that information by replying to my email requesting it. And consequently, initially, I was not able to send any Letters to Byron.
Why did this suggestion form advice from the Priory? Isn’t that an admission of mental infirmity or drug related issues or something?
I found myself at the Priory after a traumatic event. Having my son removed from my home by a mother who announced her intention to break up the family on Fathers day, (June 16, 2013) at a time when I was expecting a more appropriate fathers day celebration. That event and my swift accounting of its consequences for my son was a traumatic stress generator. After which I experienced PTSD.
Within hours of the trauma I self-diagnosed, qualified by way of (considerable) previous experience of PTSD. I am an established author in this field having written about it at length. To a readership that can be measure in millions.
PTSD forms an important value in my book The Emergency Bouzouki Player, which I know is used as a resource for treating PTSD affected former conscripts in South Africa’s famous Border war. Making me, at the very least, well qualified to diagnose this condition.
As a result of my diagnosis I acted in accordance with the same advice I give others. Get professional help. Lucky for me I have a friend who is well qualified to be described as professional help. I called Chrissie Steele, (Eric Clapton’s therapist and partner of Richard, who started the Priory in Barnes) and in no time at all I had access to a world class specialist in grief counseling and processing profound loss, in a series of appointments at that famous white building in Barnes. (By agreement the therapist shall remain unnamed to all but Byron.)
Ironically enough, it was my book The Emergency Bouzouki player that served as the introduction. Chrissie attended my book launch at The Mada Cafe shortly after which she spent a week with Eric on his super yacht cruising the Greek islands. He, Eric, spotted my book, in which he is actually name checked and asked to read it. And the asked to keep the copy.
When Chrissie shared this with me, I thought as any author would agree of celebrity endorsement; that will help sell my book. Eric agreeing to comment as a reference for the second print of the book. Couldn’t do any harm having his name of the front cover. However the events of ‘Letters to Bryon’ overtook that opportunity and instead there I was debating grief counseling and profound loss with a leading world renowned psycho therapist specializing in this area of psychology. My therapist was also an expert in child psychology and I had the opportunity to consult on Byron’s experience as well.
Turns out, kids love receiving things in post and while the small details of custody and visitation were to be debated, my wonderful advisor directed my attention to the importance and value of letters. Fired by the certainty that I was receiving the best of advice to add to my determination to do the best for my child, just four years old at that time, and totally unprepared for his new role as football in his mothers game of chance, I set out my stall as the author of ‘letters to Byron.’
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