3. Monday 19th November. Amlot cancels December visit.
I am still finding my groove in this process, so, to explain:
Each letter I used to send up until last week involved approximately two hours of real time. In the total process. So my ‘Letters to Byron‘ in this Blog format have an allocated two hours.
Every Monday and every Thursday and I do the best I can with words in those two hours.
Them’s the rules of this writing.
Today then is Monday. November 19.
Where do I begin with today’s letter?
I just got in from a swim. Yesterday I bought a Speedo, $35 for a proper one, from a sports store in Dana Point and today I put it on.
Have Speedo will use it. Last time I put on a Speedo was probably 1976, my final year of competitive swimming. No wonder its such a memory jab.
I mentioned it in a letter to you months ago, but to remind you, in June of this year, I was driving along the motorway towards the desert when a huge big truck drove into us.
Kaboom. Hit from behind. I woke up wondering; what happened and where the pain was coming from. The question of Why and How followed later. I had no idea that Peterbilt Trucks were so very big. And heavy.
I am in month 5 of my recovery and that’s why I am now ready for swimming as a part of my physical therapy. I plan to go swimming every second day. (By the way, did you know I was a champion swimmer when I was your age. And I have South African schools record for U15 Butterfly. We all wore Speedo’s in those days. It’s also why I had you swimming, and going under water, from the age of 6 months.)
In America they have a huge network of roads.
Motorways that run for hundreds of thousands of miles, original financed and constructed within the defense budget, intended to efficiently link the military bases in case of any attack on America. This fantastic road network is used to transport goods nationwide on a grand scale. And so they make their own trucks, instead of buying in from the big European Truck manufacturers.
They have their own culture of Trucks, making huge engines to pull heavy loads around this massive network of motorways.
Kenilworth is a famous one. But I think the most famous one is Peterbilt. These trucks are super big. Distinctive in appearance. And they weigh a lot so they can carry big loads.
But what about the drivers?
Do they need special training to drive these huge potential death traps on public roads?
Yes they do. They have to pass tests and they get inspected regularly as well. Because they might drive for too long and get tired, or drink a beer and get drowsy. So, not only do the police check up, but also they weigh the trucks regularly to see what they are carrying, and, the best part, they have computer control monitoring the activity in the truck. These are Smart trucks. Sending details of what the driver is up too back to a central computer. But that’s a different story.
This particular PeterBilt truck drove into the back of our car at about 25 miles an hour. The driver was texting and didn’t notice us stopped in the traffic far below him.
Actually I don’t remember any Boof. I just remember waking up thinking. ‘Ouch. My arm hurts. What just happened.‘ Well. Actually. My exact words were ‘What the F… just happened‘ but I am avoiding age inappropriate references because you are nine. I want you to be more selective in your growing vocabulary than using the F word, fine word with many a useful literary application though it is, until you are older and more able to discriminate on appropriateness.
Lucky for me I learned early on in my driving days that Germans are the best car manufacturers. My first car was a German car. A Volkswagen which is not the best example of German engineering, but soon after I rolled my beetle over, just three days after I got it, I learned about Mercedes. The best German engines are made in Stuttgart. (They made the engines for the Luftwaffe planes that so successfully bombed London in 1939, but that was then and we don’t hold that against them.) Yes, there is an argument about Mercedes and BMW and even other German engine manufacturers like Porsche, but that too is a conversation for a different time.
For now, my loyalty to Mercedes has been well rewarded.
Although the Mercedes we were in is way smaller than the Peterbilt truck, weighing in about eight tons less, it has a super clever impact absorbing design in the chassis. And it rolled off a lot of the mass when the Truck impacted our rear bumper.
When I went to the doctor later he told me two things I found interesting. If I hadn’t been in a Mercedes, likely I would have been knocked out permanently. And second, that 90% of the people he see’s in his job as a Chiropractor treating people injured in motor accidents, all were driving the same model car.
What car would that be?
A Toyota Prius. Made light and economical, so good for cheap motoring, but not good for being hit up the bum by a ten ton truck. I am kind of pleased to have been in a big V8 5 liter Mercedes when that impact happened. And although it was a bad thing, no doubt, it has had some good value in reminding me of how precious life is and how every day is a treasure.
Its been almost 5 months since the Peterbilt vs Mercedes incident on Highway 101. And I have put in a lot of work in rehab, motivated by wanting to be ready to have some fun with you in December. When you were supposed to be visiting for your Holiday with me.
I am up to the swimming stage now. On course to be ready for the December skiing I had planned.
At the time of the accident, June, I had written to you about coming to see me for December during your school break and out of the blue, Ann had received a message from Amlot’s client indicating that she was going to let you travel to be with me in December. I don’t know how much of this you know?
But at that time I was super excited and making plans for you and me in December.
I remembered back to what happened in February 2014. During the time when I was trying to see you and Amlot and his client demanded £100,000 before they would allow me to make plans to see you.
Around that time, February 2014, it was your half term. I wanted to take you skiing. You were five. I had a wish for you, apart from music and sporting hopes, I wanted you to be a good skier. And five is a good age to start. Two weeks is a good time period to be introduced to the life of a skier. My plan was to introduce you to a passion that would last your lifetime. In the best way possible.
I booked two weeks in Switzerland in a village called Wengen which I chose because I saw in previous visits to Wengen that it has a really fabulous nursery slope ski school. It is also where I learned to ski funny enough.
I figured as we hadn’t seen each other much at that time – it was about 7 months after you were taken from Riverbank – and as I had at that time spent £40,000 on family law which had let you spend just 4 (Four) nights with me, I decided. Enough is enough. I booked the two week trip.
And that as far as I was concerned was that. We were going skiing for two weeks. Who in their right mind would stop a 5 year old child from this important life experience?
As you know, because you never went skiing, something happened.
That is; Amlot and Adler cancelled your visit in a way that was pretty horrible.
Not only did they cancel it, they seized on the fact that I had the means to pay for your skiing trip as evidence to Judge O’Leary, showing that I had so much money, she should award them more. Now that is what you call, clever family lawyering and why Amlot and Adler get the big bucks in family court. Although it is also why I was very careful about trying to take you skiing again. I thought then that it was tremendously cynical by SImon Webster to present pictures of me skiing and ask “Where was Byron in your thoughts when you were spending a fortune skiing?” for a slow witted judge who listened and decided, “Gosh. What a bad father. Off skiing and spending a fortune while his little boy is all alone at hoe because the poor mum has to go to work all the time.”
It was cynically dishonest because Simon Webster knew all too well that the ski trip was booked for you. And that they had cancelled the trip. Talk about a rotten ethically bankrupt opportunist. Clever enough to become a barrister, and dishonest enough to do whatever it takes to win. Even if that meant ruining your life experience with me. Just a job to him. Which, he gets very well paid for. In this case, by me, because O’Leary awarded costs against me. With all this in mind, as you can imagine, I was careful to book any skiing plans for you.
And so this year, after many similar moments where I have worked to set up visits for you only to see Amlot and Adler cancel them, cynically, finally almost two years after I last saw you, our visit for December 2018, was on.
Here’s my copy of the letter I sent you about that. By post. (Click to enlarge.)
Turned out that I was being unrealistically hopeful believing that Amlot and Adler would allow you to be with me.
Despite being told, by everyone who knows you and the Amlot/Adler/O’Leary story, that there was no way you would be allowed to spend December with me, I must admit, I thought I was going to see you. And I made arrangements to go skiing.
Yes, you can say, silly daddy, how many times do you need to be knocked over the head by family law before you get the picture, but I will say this in my defense.
I remembered what happened last time I booked skiing for you so I didn’t actually confirm the booking for our December trip. I had two weeks in Deer Valley in mind but no tickets or lift passes booked for the early price advantage. At least this time I don’t get the bill for your skiing trip to add to the disappointment of being cancelled. And there is no way that I can have a sleazy barrister hold up a picture of me skiing and claim it is proof that I am a rich playboy with no time for my son.
Just so you know, here’s the letter I sent when it looked like you were coming. I wonder if it ever reached you?. I doubt it.
At long last. I thought to myself “I bet Byron has nagged her to the point she has just decided to let him go even against Amlot’s firm advice.”
I was the only one who thought that optimistically though.
Here are the actual letters – word for word that ended your December visit.
To: Charlotte Adler
28 October, 2018.
Re: Byron’s visit to his father, December 2018.
I confirm that Byron is expected for the duration of the December school holiday with myself.
I am aware that you have agreed this visitation subject to the condition that I collect him from LHR for the outgoing leg as you have determined that he is not able to travel as an unaccompanied minor.
While I do not agree that he is unable to travel as an unaccompanied minor and it is a fact that I am unable to travel for the collection, I am prepared to work around your condition by booking a companion flight for an escort to travel with Byron for the outgoing journey.
In order for the practicalities of flight booking to succeed I will need the flight details for Byron following which I will book for the adult accompanying Byron to travel with him. Meeting with you to receive Byron at LHR.
I will need from you as soon as possible Byron’s outgoing flight details and his return flight details. To book the same flight for the companion to accompany him on the LHR to LAX leg. Once I have Byron’s flight details I will book the companion flight immediately and rely on you to ensure the passenger will be seated next to Byron when you do the check in.
I will ensure Byron is delivered to LAX for the return leg at the specified time.
I propose that you maximize Byron’s time with me by agreeing a few days off school as you will struggle to find tickets on the exact days you prefer. Rather than cutting into his time with me to suit flight availability, err on the side of longer than shorter for this visit. I know his school master will agree to supporting Byron seeing his father at the expense of some time off school. Why not arrange for Byron take a week off school to make it a proper visit. Three weeks with me would be a good start.
Byron will require an ESTA visa.
And here is what came back, sent, at 5.25pm on a Friday. After making me wait all week in the hopeful belief that our visit was on, can you see why it is clever legal work by a family lawyer to send a letter of this nature last thing on a Friday. It makes the other side really enjoy their weekend:
Dear Mr Broulidakis,
Thank you for your email which I received on the 29th October.
It is an odd concept that a nine year old boy should have to travel across the world to see his father rather than the other way round, but my client was prepared in principle to consider this. She is not happy, however, with the practical arrangements. There is no way she will agree to Byron travelling as an unaccompanied minor or with a stranger and you have not put forward a proposal that gets round this. You have indicated that you are not willing/able to travel to collect Byron yourself.
If you wish to travel to London to see Byron then my client will accommodate this and please let me know what arrangements you would propose. If this Christmas is too soon this could happen for example over easter or in the summer next year.
If you are prepared to come to London for the purpose of collecting Byron and taking him back to California for a stay with you, then my client will happily consider this, it may be that this could be organised for the summer next year. Next Christmas would not work for this because of Byron’s 11 plus exams.
As you can imagine, I was not thrilled by learning our visit was cancelled in such a disingenuous way. But I didn’t write the letter I had in me, putting to one side my bitter disappointment at yet another nonsense, child abusing letter from the the Amlot/Adler/O’Leary family law team.
Instead, I wrote very politely, picking up on the one positive in their reply.
“If you are prepared to come to London for the purpose of collecting Byron and taking him back to California for a stay with you, then my client will happily consider this, it may be that this could be organised for the summer next year.”
Considering I traveled to London 19 times in 2014/2015/2016 when I was allowed to see you, for brief visits that Amlot/Adler argued at their outermost adversarial limits. On one occasion I flew to see you for 24 hours, negotiated down that low by the remarkable skills of Amlot.
Can you imagine flying LAX to LHR for one night with your baby boy?
A 12,000 mile trip, with 16 hours of time difference in two days? Because the very most they would allow is 24 hours. (Although to be fair here, at the end, when I was on the plane, they very kindly extended the visit time. To 26 hours.)
It sure was worth it to me and I hope to you. But it couldn’t carry on. Not just the money and the distance. And the wear and tear on my emotional wellness. It was the constant battle to get even one day with you. Relentless, nasty, bitter adversarial nonsense that made me decide it was not worth risking you being used as their football in that family law game.
I have made it plain that there is no prospect of me traveling to London. I live in America. Your right is to be with me in my home. Which is your home. Not in a Hotel somewhere in England.
I will talk about this more later, but the fact is Amlot/Adler/O’Leary have a court order that prevents me from entering my home.
That judgment by O’Leary has created a great deal of animosity for two reasons.
I do not believe they have the legal right to take away the home I bought in 1986 and paid for in full.
And awarding costs against me with an 8% interest attached, and then awarding sole conduct of sale to Adler, who was incentivized by this judgement to NOT sell, leaving me responsible for paying all costs going forward and not having the benefit of the funds from the sale – which were always intended to provide you with legal support to emancipate yourself from the unfit parent.
Clever family law work.
Award Adler sole conduct of sale plus 8% interest on costs. Then if she doesn’t sell, she is making a tasty 8% with the added benefit of knowing forcing a sale and then deliberately not selling is going to increase the animosity. Which is, obviously, good for any child involved in family court judgment.
In fact here is an example of British Family law at it’s most prescient. A career defining high spot for Michele O’Leary and for British family law.
That particular flat, 7b Riverbank is my first home, bought in 1986, and paid off in 1991. I had no mortgage on it at all. Everything I earned went into paying of that mortgage. Awarding ownership of that flat as a package gift to someone else, based on a lie following a court procedure that will not stand up to any reasonable investigation as anything other than a Family Law Fix, and then compounding this mafia level mugging and theft, making it a law that I can’t go into my home when I am visiting to UK, which would only be to see you, because I have no other reason for being in the UK, creates animosity.
It is wrong. And it in no way, to no extent, models the ethical standard I had hoped to set for you, as a parent.
Lying and stealing and abusing children in the cloak of family law protection is just not good parenting. By any measure of what responsible parenting looks like.
I don’t think there is any circumstance in which a family court judge should rule to abuse a child’s right to see a parent. So with that in mind, truthfulness is best served by understanding their references to me spending time in England with you are a nonsense.
Not only because my home, and the place I want you to visit me in my home, is California, but also because the home I had in England. Bought and paid for, was stolen by a Judge who I believe has acted outside of the law she is charged to represent. A judge whose judgment prevents me entering my own home?
It is provocative for this reason for the writer, Amlot, to comment on my wonderful opportunities, considerately offered by the helpful mother to visit my beautiful son in the UK.
You may recall our last 4 visits together took place at the Four Seasons in Hampshire. Because I do not have a home in the UK. I have to pay Hotel bills. I do not want to spend my time with you in hotels. I want you to be with me in my home.
Because Amlot/Adler made it clear they would not allow you to travel as an ‘Unaccompanied minor‘ for our December visit I agreed to pay for a companion to fly with you. Why didn’t I name this companion, as Amlot refers to in his letter?
Because it depends on when Adler made the flight arrangements. I would have asked your brother first and if not him, then the next in line in our family. Someone would have stepped up to fly with you. It is not a credible stumbling block to put in place, suggesting that there is any reason I am hiding the companion identity. Or that I would choose an inappropriate companion for this trip. They have simply seized on a nonsense point and used it to serve their deliberate intention to abuse your rights to see your father.
So I sent this reply to Amlot.
From: Andrew Brel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Monday, November 5, 2018 at 13:56
To: Tom Amlot <email@example.com>
Subject: Byron’s December visit
Thank you for your email, sent November 2, 2018. Friday, at 5.25pm.
I apologise for the word allocation in my email of 28 October leaving a margin for misinterpretation.
I will be able to confirm, within hours, which member of Byron’s family circle is available to accompany Byron for his outgoing travel directly after confirmation of Byron’s flight details.
For practical reasons, flight reservations being what they are, the order of events is most efficiently served as I have detailed in my previous email to your client.
Clearly we all have a common interest in seeing Byron’s December visit proceed.
I am pleased you have flagged travel plans for next year. I am happy to agree both of Byron’s visits for the maximum amount of time Byron’s head master agrees to and invite your client to consider this my unconditional agreement to facilitate both of the proposed visits for 2019, receiving Byron at LAX and returning him to LAX on the prescribed dates which I look forward to receiving from your client in due course.
Thank you for your ongoing considerate service to Byron’s best interests.
That was November 5. And two days later this was their reply about which I can say, at least they didn’t wait until 5.26 on Friday to send it.
From: Tom Amlot <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 03:39
To: ‘Andrew Brel’ <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: Byron’s December visit
Dear Mr Brel,
Thank you for your email.
My client is not prepared to agree to Byron flying out to you in California for the time being.
If you wish to see him in the UK then please could you let me have your proposals for this.
Alexiou Fisher Philipps LLP
That letter is dated November 7. And that is the letter that convinced me that Amlot/Adler/O’Leary are not going to review their decision to apply maximal animosity in what is transparently the ongoing abuse of my son.
It is also, as you can easily imagine, both insulting and wasteful. To both you and me.
The premise in the writers intention is insulting to the intellect of even a sub-Trump baboon and it is wasteful in that my time has a value. I cannot realistically keep wasting time on a game of stupidity in which I know, as does anyone interested in knowing, is played on an unbalanced playing field;
where one side is being paid to play, with every letter they write, while the other, me, has no prospect of winning any assistance in enabling my sons rights to be with me.
Effectively, their court system forces me to pay them to abuse you. And adds 8% interest if I do not pay. The line “If you wish to see him in the UK then please could you let me have your proposals for this” appears in place of the details of your travel to California to be with me in December.
It is transparently the work of someone who is not responsibly acting in the spirit of the ethical code of the Solicitors regulation Authority. Which you can read for yourself and decide on how many points Amlot falls short. I suggest you will find it more challenging to identify the points in which he is compliant, than the contrary.
Unfortunately for you and for me, as well as for some 10,000 children in the UK every year, member accountability for disregarding any pretense of respect for SRA code of ethics is worth less than the paper its written on before its printed. The Solicitors Regulation Authority appears to be an Oxymoron, evidently with no authority to regulate even criminally corrupt child abusers in its membership.
Preparing and writing those actual hard copy “letters to Byron” every week took a lot of time. A process which I loved, because, as I wrote to tell you, it felt like time I was spending with you. Twice every week. But I was always aware that Adler was unlikely to allow you to to receive post from me. After all, she went to great lengths to ensure I did not even have your address for post between April and December 2016.
I wrote a letter to you explaining why you never heard from me for 9 months. I’ll bet the postman delivered that letter. I wonder if you ever received it?
I had thought that post was protected by law. Interfering with post, a criminal offense. Thinking that the law required the addressee to receive the post I sent motivated me to keep on sending letters, even when it was made clear you were not receiving them.
So, here I am, on a Monday, near the end of my two hours in what would have been choosing and posting four photos with little stories between us, typing away instead.
The postman does not now have to wonder if the child on the end of all these letters was actually getting them. And I am in an ironic way protecting Adler from the possibility that interfering with post might have some legal comeback.
Blogging is better. It is greener. No trees were harmed in the making of this letter. And one way or another, I know you will be reading my letter to you from this day.