Somewhat ridiculously because of legal reasons, I am not actually allowed to give any details but basically, one messed up kid make an accusation against a member of our family, it was not true and there was never any way it was ever going to be so.
Despite the facts not adding up, to the point of it being actually impossible and there was no actual evidence - physical or otherwise, it ended up in court. 16 months of stress, $ 30,000+ to a lawyer, several court hearings, it ended up in a 3 day trial in court only for the charges to all be dismissed in a very categoric decision by the judge.
This almost tore our family apart and the emotional toll is huge. Gary basically had a breakdown, I tried to stay strong but there were days on end where I would be in tears on the trip to and from work, and any other time I was by myself. I lived on a steady diet of wine & chocolate, anything else made me sick. This was a factor in Samyson leaving school a year early, luckily he was accepted into uni early and is doing really well. Siobhan is stuck at the school with the F'd up kid which has thrown up a whole lot of challenges.
I don't know what the other family involved were advised but we were advised not to discuss the matter with anyone, including each other. Way to add stress!! Those that I did tell were a huge strength and without them I am not sure I could have coped, the support and belief in his innocence got me through some pretty bad days.
We were lucky inasmuch we found a fantastic lawyer (he & his staff were amazing, I would leave his office and actually feel better, despite any setbacks), we had enough money saved to pay for the initial fees (in the hope that the Crown would see there was no merit to their case) and enough equity in the house and reasonable incomes enough increase the mortgage for the $ 30,000 we needed to prove innocence - oh and BTW, we don't get anything back despite the whole case being a sham and even the original Police Officer involved after the verdict was delivered, gave us his condolences and said he was sorry we had to go through all that.
Gary's family know and have been a support, during one of Gary's major meltdowns, I ended up on the phone with his family and they were amazing and I don't know that they realise how much I needed that conversation, Paul especially. He also phoned Samyson that same night and that support was the boost we all needed at the time.
Our friend Sue was one of the few people I told and she was unwavering in her support, to the point of taking time off work to come to court, which for the most part meant spending 3 days sitting outside the courtroom because we were not allowed in for the complainants evidence. Not only that but her friends and family had us in their prayers, these are people who know us only briefly but knowing that we had that support was a huge comfort.
We thought that as soon as the case was over, that would be the end of it but in actual fact, after living with this hanging over our heads for 16 months, it is kind of weird, there is a calmness and a relaxed atmosphere but almost like there is something wrong or missing. Even though we tried not to let it affect us or even permeate our thoughts unless we had to, it was always there, sometimes moreso than others. The anger and desire for revenge is gone, just a relief it is over for us, unfortunately not so much I suspect for the other family, I think their problems are only going to get worse - still - I can recommend a great criminal lawyer.