Burning the midnight oil? See your office light on
You still in too?
Living the Dream :), there are junior doctors pulling fewer hours than me. What’s keeping you up?
Andy asked me to pull an old file
The Teller file?
!?! Am I on camera or something? How did you know?
Yea you’re famous, I stick around after hours just to spy on you. It’s one of my kinks ;)
Lol. Most people would just invite me to dinner
Most people don’t know how fucking dull your company is. You’re a lot more charming from a distance
Noted. How did you know anyway?
Check the date on the boxes, it’s the anniversary of the court date. Boss has that file pulled every year for old times sake, gets one of our newer recruits to spring clean the skeleton in his closet.
You’ve seen it?
Yep. It’s a proper rite of passage. At some point every para gets asked to look over it and check his math. He ask your opinion yet?
Not just yet
He will. Once you’ve had a chance to read it he’ll grill you on whether he should have taken it or not. Some people do alright, some decide that this might not be for them
I'm still here aren't I?
Star pupil...Fancy letting me copy your homework?
Hell no! I wouldn’t want to ruin the ending.
There’s a take away in it for you. Your choice
Ooh big spender… I choose you reading the bloody files :D
Worth a try I guess
What you make of it so far?
God I’ve only just started. Checking out his prep and (link-repeat: "Pre-trail Emails with Sarah.")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eUY9dZnFwB-9bREm0eEtxAN_HgRpupgI/view?usp=sharing')]
[[Andy really bet it all on her]]
[[She had no idea what she was in for]]''YOU:''
I havent seen too many of them but safeguarding cases are all he said/she said. There's never any physical evidence and they get nasty real quick. Often swing on an emotional testimony. With everything that happened to that poor little girl, the public outrage and feeling, he must have felt she was enough get them over the line
Well keep that under your hat for now. When he catches up with you don’t forget how much Sarah and this case mean to him. Don’t let me hold you up, you’ve got a long night ahead of you lol. Let me know if I can help with anything
As if you would :)
I just like to see you beg X
[[Read Prosecution evidence]]''YOU:''
It was naïve putting her on the stand. Right or wrong the boss was putting her in the line of fire. I havent been at this long but even I know how nasty safeguarding disputes get. Even with the momentum of all the public coverage, the emotion in the press, Andy should have built a deeper case
Maybe he knew that, maybe there's more to it. When he does catch up with you don’t forget how much Sarah and the case mean to him. Don’t let me hold you up, it's late enough as it is. Let me know if I can help with anything
As if you would :)
I just like to see you beg X
[[Read Prosecution evidence]] ''(align:"=><=")+(box:"X=")[Sarah Teller. Teacher at Corsham Secondary Academy.
Called by prosecution: Mr. Andrew Etteridge.
Heard 21/6/2017 by the Honorable Sir David Aldin.]''
Counsel (Mr. Etteridge): Ms. Teller, how would describe your relationship to Emma-Mai Morgan?
A (Ms. Teller): I was her English teacher.
Q: For how long did you teach her?
A: She joined the school in September last year. About six months I think.
Q: Had you known her prior to her induction at Corsham Academy this academic year?
A: Knew of her... It’s only a small town, most people are aquatinted.
Q: What were your feelings about Emma-Mai prior to her joining the school?
A: I didn't have any. I knew her if I saw her but we'd never spoke. She seemed a lovely little girl. And polite.
Q: What did you think of her family, her parents?
A: I'd said hi to them on occasion but didn't really know them. That way you greet people without really speaking to them.
Q: How would you describe Emma-Mai?
A: Quiet. Emma didn't volunteer or speak out much in class. She'd only speak when spoken to. I never had any trouble managing her... Never had any fall outs or trouble with other students either.
Q: How did she appear to you physically?
A: She was shorter than the other girls in her year. She was thin too. Clean and turned out well though to start with. You might worry that she'd had enough to eat but there weren't any immediate concerns.
Q: Did anything strike you as strange about her behavior?
A: Not at first. She was very compliant and tried her best whenever present. She loved our reading lessons. Her ability to follow text was a bit behind the rest of the class so I brought in an old book of fairy tales for her. With pictures and simple language. She would sit in the corner totally absorbed... Smiling... Sh- (pauses) ...I'm sorry.
Q: That’s ok Ms. Teller. You indicated that she was not always present? Was there an issue with her attendance?
A: (Clears throat)... She missed a lot of school. Often one or two days a week. Sometimes more.
Q: As her teacher, did that not concern you?
A: Definitely. Her reading and writing were some way behind the rest of her class. I emailed her tutor and the attendance office but they were unable to make contact with Emma-Mai's parents. I believe their phone was disconnected. They didn't respond to mailed notices either.
Counsel: A hard copy of said communication is entered as (link-repeat: "exhibit A")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PumY_MeIDFDCcNca8MjPy7p1TBPb-n1a/view?usp=sharing')].
Q: In hindsight would you say that there were grounds for concern regarding her welfare?
A: Poor attendance and withdrawn behavior are concerns but not necessarily grounds for referral. Both are very common in the area. It's quite deprived. Lots of our families struggle with other priorities. She was such a sweet- It was hard to imagine... How were we supposed- (sobs)
Counsel: Please bear with us Ms. Teller. We must establish the facts for the court.
A: I'm sorry... So sorry (Exhales deeply). I'm ready to continue.
Q: Thank you. When was Emma-Mai first referred to the local authority?
A: I completed a CP form-
Q: Sorry to interrupt Sarah; could you clarify the term CP form for the court?
A: Child protection form. When a member of staff has concerns about a child we fill in a form and hand it in to the office. The child protection officer then decides if further action is needed.
Q: Child protection officer. Is that a dedicated member of staff at the academy?
A: No. The support team was cut last year. Budget concerns… The deputy head for inclusions now handles referrals along with their other duties. We also lost our family liaison officer and the school nurse. Other staff that had handled CP concerns.
Q: Thank you. What gave you cause to complete the form for Emma-Mai?
A: The first story she wrote for me.
Counsel: The witness refers to the story "The Princess and the Ogre"; (link-repeat: "exhibit B")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/189sBVn02NbZnVPVWZAmHB89drF82caRV/view?usp=sharing')].
Q: This story gave you concerns for her safety?
A: I believed that the story might be a veiled disclosure of violence and abuse.... I couldn't stop worrying about it. I felt that we really had to help her, that she might be in danger. I had to pass it on. I had to...
Q: What led you to believe this?
A: Even with her poor literacy the description was powerful. Much much stronger than anything she'd done up to then. She'd struggled to write down her address in a lesson on letters yet here she was going into incredible vivid detail about this violent creature. A monster. I believed she didn’t have the imagination or language to… I believed she was writing from experience.
Q: At this stage you felt that Emma-Mai was the victim of domestic abuse?
A: That was my concern. I was anxious that she was in danger so I completed the form.
Counsel: The form dated 14/11/16 is labelled (link-repeat: "exhibit C")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DXTUJ-9SUN-gNKiu0W4YFIjLDw1MtqtS/view?usp=sharing')].
Q: Did the school then refer Emma-Mai's case following your completion of the CP form?
A: No the school did not take action until I completed a second form on the following Wednesday.
Q: Did it not concern you that the school failed to act on your concerns?
A: That's common. They need to build a case before completing a CAF or IR. Without enough evidence the case just gets dropped. The school has to be able to prove it. There's no benefit of the doubt.
Q: Could you clarify those acronyms please Sarah?
A: CAF means common assessment framework. It's used to determine if a case meets the threshold for intervention by the safeguarding board. IR's for immediate referral. It's a direct call to the board for fast intervention if a child is in significant physical danger.
Q: The school then completed a CAF following the writing of Emma-Mai's second story "in the bed room"?
A: I'd asked her to write another story-
Q: You invited her to an after school club didn't you?
Q: Why did you take that course of action?
A: Firstly with her poor attendance I just wanted to see her in school more. I felt that she trusted me and the encouragement might help. Additionally, she had chosen me to disclose to and seemed to be testing the water. I wanted to praise her efforts in writing the story and expand on what she had written so far. She trusted me... she was asking for my help...
Q: Did you ask her specifically to write a continuation of the previous story?
A: No. I did desperately want to help her. I wanted to give the school the evidence to help her but I know you can't lead children in disclosure. Pupils that trust you can sometimes just tell you what you want to hear if you are in any way leading. I told her to come along to writing club and practice her writing. Write anything she wanted to.
Q: And unprompted she produced "in the bedroom". You then felt this confirmed your suspicion and warranted intervention?
A: Yes. The writing was even more powerful, vivid and almost adult in the phrasing she used. This time there was also that typo... mistake. Sh- (sighs) ...Towards the end she referred to the princes as "I" and detailed some internal dialogue. I knew then the stories were true to life. That slip was confirmation. I completed the second CP form that night.
Q: You felt there were grounds for intervention by the local authority at that point?
A: (Exhales) I joined the dots. The stories pointed to abuse. She was stunted and withdrawn socially which can corroborate that or indicate poor care at home. Her attendance issues could have been related to abuse. Hiding the signs or something. Each sign on its own wasn’t enough, but together they raised a lot of red flags. I had to refer her to... had to do something.
Counsel: Thank you Ms. Teller. The story titled "In the Bedroom" and the second CP form dated 23/11/16 are entered as exhibits (link-repeat: "D")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/1q1KA2xm6kF3Fe26Vrl90J9Ie8Sxf76fa/view?usp=sharing')] and (link-repeat: "E")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eSsz6FfXjaFhGRGFsAROjcpOIxQIRAsO/view?usp=sharing')] respectively.
Q: In this instance the school then completed a CAF and submitted it to the Safeguarding board at the local authority. What was the result of this referral?
A: The case was judged as not meeting threshold. (Pauses, shakes head) ...No further action. NFA. I was told via email from the CP officer. Of course they told us that any further concerns should be followed by a further CAF and I was thanked for my vigilance.
Counsel: This correspondence is entered as (link-repeat: "exhibit F")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/1V_G6cELmf8adCGUJWNCue5kYvfPKBHjI/view?usp=sharing')].
Q: Could you see of any reason why the case was classified as NFA?
A: I- I couldn't believe it. Something was obviously wrong in that home. So obviously wrong. This poor skinny, frightened little girl was just beyond our help. We are told over and over again to keep an eye out for the flags. Over and over... Malnutrition, social difficulties, disclosures of-
Q: I'm sorry Ms. Teller but I have to redirect you; could you think of any reason why the case was marked NFA?
A: ...It didn't meet their threshold. Emma wasn't yet in enough danger for them to intervene. Idiots, they-
Q: However they did take action following your next referral. Could you please indicate to us the events leading up to the intervention?
A: Emma-Mai's attendance was hit and miss until Christmas. She and her family missed year 7 parents evening. I tried to make contact with home. Couldn't get through most days. A couple of times I got answerphone but never any reply. After the break she didn't come back until the 16th of January. A week and a half late. Emma had a large bruise... This horrible dark blue- (Pauses, sighs) right down the side of her face from eye to jaw. Scratches on her arms, wouldn't talk. She didn't speak to- (slumps, sobs)
Q: Please Ms. Teller; was it then that you completed the third CF form and the second referral was made?
A: Yes (coughs). The school insisted on another CAF. Even with the marks on her. Even with real injury they wasted time with all the paperwork. They should have got her out. If only they-
Counsel: The aforementioned form dated 19/01/17 is entered as (link-repeat: "exhibit G")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Vfp51tgXHilnpUFiRRJ1axL1r3cR-WXS/view?usp=sharing')].
Q: On this occasion the CAF succeeded in getting the attention of the local authority. You were invited to sit on a Child Protection Conference for Emma-Mai on the 13th of February were you not?
A: Yes. I was forwarded an email from... (pauses) Mr. Foster-Clyde. The Lead Professional assigned to the case. He asked for a representative from the school at the meeting along with Mr. Morgan, a social worker and someone from the police.
Q: Is it usual for a class teacher to be invited to a CPC?
A: Ordinarily the CP Officer would go. The deputy head wasn't available that date and I knew the most about the case. I was chosen to go instead.
Counsel: A transcript of the meeting is labelled as (link-repeat: "exhibit H")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-gn5rPCsuP95PmuPnSZVPHMdHWrEh5q1/view?usp=sharing')]
Q: At the meeting, what was your impression of Mr. Foster-Clyde?
A: I felt he was patronizing... He rudely cut me off several times and refused to listen to my evidence. He seemed to side with Mr. Morgan, that monst-
Q: Would you say he was unprofessional in his conduct?
A: I'd say he's a jobsworth. Too worried about his agendas and his process to help a girl in need. I had referred the stories, the concerns... her bruises-
Q: Do you feel the behavior of Mr. Foster-Clyde was a barrier to Emma-Mai receiving vital intervention?
A: Yes... (nods) Yes I do.
Q: Could you please summarize the events of the meeting for the court?
A: A register was taken by a clerk or something. His secretary I think from the way he spoke down to her. He questioned my position and whether I was qualified to be there. I explained who I was and my own connection to the case. Mr. Morgan pointed out that I had only known Emma a few months. I stressed to him that I am a professional and had every right to be there. Mr. Foster-Clyde began reading the agenda items. We were held up as Mr. Morgan claimed to have never received a copy of the CAF and so felt the meeting should not continue until he was familiar- I argued that if Emma-Mai needed intervention any delay would be putting her at risk. I was told that it was essential that Mr. Morgan knew the details of the CAF and was able to discuss any issues arising from it... ...He then started going through the referral, as well as the old ones in date order. Whenever I tried to add something or clarify I was told to wait- Mr. Morgan lied and talked around each issue, became aggressive when I tried to question his responses to our concerns. Mr. Foster-Clyde then called the meeting to a close and said he would judge the case on its merits. That he'd get back to us.
Q: What was the outcome of his deliberation?
A: Ms. Teller-
A: NFA... He bloody shut it down.
Q: Did he give any basis for this decision?
A: He said that there were no grounds for further intervention. No real evidence. We didn't meet his threshold.
Q: Do you believe he felt you were mistaken?
A: He thought I was hysterical. Blowing it out of- ...If only he'd bloody listened then- (leans on the box, head in hands, sobs).
Q: Please Sarah, just one more question. Do you feel that this decision was detrimental to Emma-Mai's safety?
A: I think without him... Without him she'd never have- (stops abruptly).
Counsel: Whilst the events surrounding the disappearance of Emma-Mai Morgan have been well documented elsewhere I believe we'd all do well to remember the severity of the consequences arising from that decision by Mr. Foster-Clyde.
Counsel: Thank you for your time and effort Sarah. I have no further questions.
Justice Aldin: Thank you Mr. Etteridge and of course Ms. Teller. Given the late hour, the court shall be in recess until tomorrow morning whereupon the counsel for the defense will have the opportunity to cross examine Ms. Teller.
Still with me?
With you? You’ve wildly misjudged this relationship
You know what I mean
I do… just making sure you know your place. X
A kiss, Ha. Am I supposed to take that as an apology?
I’m bored and trying to amuse myself, sue me. How’s the Teller file coming?
Just been through Andy’s prosecution and Sarah’s testimony… Getting that 'calm before the storm' feeling
She did pretty well on day one didnt she? Came across as smart, professional. Laid all the events out very clearly. Even in the transcript you can see that she'd desperately tried to get the wheels of justice turning
[[Can’t believe child services didn’t step in]]
[[It’s not exactly a slam dunk]]''YOU:''
What does it take for someone to intervene? Between those stories, the bruises and state of the poor girl it was bloody obvious something was up
Obvious as it is to us now… then it was just a couple of stories. You are aware of this new thing they have called fiction? They didn’t arrest the guy that wrote Fight Club
Lol, I’ll have to check it out sometime. It wasn’t just the stories though. Absence, emaciated, bruised. There were more flags than at the Olympics
Young girl with a possible eating disorder, kid that’s fell or run into something, skipping school. Tell me none of those things sound familiar to you
Tell me that Sarah wasn’t right
Ha. Everyone’s a psychic after the fact. If CS stepped in every time a kid got a skinned knee or missed a few lessons they’d be building prisons for all the parents getting sent down
Fair point… but it just doesn’t sit right with me. All those things together, the referrals. It could have been so different
Guess that’s what keeps Andy up at night. Look, you should see the cases that DON’T get turned down by CS. You’d never sleep again
I don’t want to know do I?
One I did the diligence on, this mum was picked up drunk driving. Car all banged up, three kids in the back. She was covered in blood, cuts and scratches all over her, peeking out of two black eyes…
Shit. They move the kids?
Oh yes. Mum and dad were both drug users and always in the wars so they chucked the kids in with uncle. Someone months later pulls uncle's history… registered sex offender. Child grooming
Yea. CS only have the resources to take on the worst of the worst. At that point poor little Emma-Mai didn’t come close
And Foster-Clyde is the one they trust with that stuff?
Someone has to make the unpopular decisions
Don’t get me wrong, the man is a colossal throbbing cock
...Thank you kindly for that image :(
Seriously though, the boss must have known all this going in. He’s a smart guy, always does his homework.
What do you think?
Maybe standing up for what was right was more important than winning, I remember seeing something about changes to CS after this case in the news
That, or he couldn’t say no to Sarah. Beautiful, caring woman comes in, looking to avenge this poor little girl...
Just planting the seed… you’re not getting off that easy :D
I dont know why I asked. Lol. I’d better get back to it
[[Read Defence Evidence]]''YOU:''
I mean… it’s pretty thin
You think? The stories, the bruises… the state of the poor girl. It was bloody obvious something was up
The stories don’t have a lot of weight for me. They’re fiction. Defence would tear them apart, not to mention the messenger
It wasn’t just the stories though. Absence, emaciated, bruised. The army doesn’t have that many flags
All circumstantial though. I don’t want to be that guy but girls with eating disorders, kids with bruises, skipping school… none of those are exactly rare
I think you might be that guy ;)
I’m just trying to see both sides. You know, like a professional... Obviously Sarah was right. God I wish she wasn’t but I can see how/why CS weren’t able to move on it
Well Mr. Professional it just doesn’t sit right with me. All those things together, the referrals. It should have gone down differently
Hey look, we’re all psychic after the fact. If CS were going to step in every time a kid got a skinned knee or missed a few lessons they might as well be waiting in the delivery room when Mum squeezes the kids out
Ha, fair… You can see why it keeps Andy up at night
These cases are brutal, you can’t do right for doing wrong. I did the diligence on one, Kid was referred after biting a nurse. Barely spoke English, like at all. Would grunt and make animal noises at people. Police went to the house and found padlocks on the kid's door and all the food cupboards. His bedroom floor was covered in dirty newspaper where he’s piss and shit all over the place. They’d been bloody starving him and beating him
I think I remember that one, they’d brought him up like a dog or something
In the end we couldn’t prosecute, parents were found unfit to stand trial. Mentally incompetent. CS rehomed the kid, but the damage was done
Poor thing never had a chance. Like Emma-Mai
Bad as Sarah’s evidence looked, when you see the cases that DON’T get dropped you can understand the decision. Only so much budget to go round and they have to do some awful triage
But would you leave that decision to a raging veiny hard-on like Foster-Clyde?
Urgh. Dick jokes? How old are we?
Hey, you're the one asking for help with his homework
Seriously though, the boss would have known all this going in. He’s a smart guy
What do you think?
Maybe standing up for what was right was more important than winning. Didnt this case lead to some kind of govt commitee or something?
Maybe, or maybe he just couldn’t say no to Sarah. Beautiful, caring woman comes in on a crusade to avenge this poor little girl...
Just planting the seed… you’re not getting off that easy :D
I need to stop trying that. I’ll be getting back to my reading :(
[[Read Defence Evidence]] ''(align:"=><=")+(box:"X=")[Sarah Teller. Teacher at Corsham Secondary Academy.
Cross examined by defense: Mr. Edward Crittenden.
Heard 22/6/2017 by the Honorable Sir David Aldin.]''
Counsel (Mr. Crittenden): Could you please confirm your name for the court?
A: Ms. Sarah Teller.
Q: And could you confirm that you were the class teacher of Emma-Mai Morgan from September 2016 until April 2017?
Q: Thank you. I have written here something you previously stated; that you had no feelings or impressions regarding Emma-Mai Morgan prior to her enrollment at Corsham Academy in September 2016. Is that accurate?
A: Yes. Yes that's what I said.
Q: However you then went on to claim that she was "a lovely, and polite, little girl."
Q: Those were your words were they not Ms. Teller?
Q: Could it not then be said that your initial statement was inaccurate, and that you did have preconceived notions of Emma-Mai and her character prior to teaching her?
A: I don't really think that-
Q: So you are trying to claim that your initial feelings about Emma-Mai do not qualify as preconceived?
A: I guess you could call it that.
Q: Is it not possible that a preconceived notion, such as yours, could lead to your taking a special interest in a pupil? Is it not possible that your impartiality in regarding any potential disclosure might be harmed by such a bias?
A: ... (Shakes head)
Q: Let me rephrase Ms. Teller... If someone was biased in favor of a pupil; would they be able to impartially assess that child's level of risk?
A: Teachers are trained professionals. All teachers undergo safeguarding training. They are capable of making impartial judgements.
Q: For example (shuffles/reads notes)... when you stated that "poor attendance and withdrawn behavior are concerns but not necessarily grounds for referral." Was that an impartial judgement?
A: Yes. It-
Q: Yet following your receipt of the story labelled exhibit B you immediately referred Emma-Mai did you not?
A: I did.
Q: Were you so moved by the story that you ignored your earlier assessment?
A: The story and existing issues together led me to refer her. Together they presented a more serious case.
Q: Thank you... The school did not action your first referral. Could that have been due to the lack of evidence you presented?
A: It is normal for a school to take time to build-
Q: Did you have enough evidence?
A: Not at that stage.
Q: (Pauses) ...Let us move forward to your second referral. Emma-Mai was invited by you to join the writing club after school was she not?
A: She was.
Q: When you invited her to join this club you tried to purposefully hide your intentions from her did you not?
A: I told her that I thought she was very creative and I'd like to help her to develop her reading and writing.
Q: Do you feel she enjoyed the attention from you?
A: I believe she felt safe... That she could trust me.
Q: A vulnerable, isolated, little girl. I imagine that she enjoyed, that she craved, that feeling of safety. Do you not agree that she would enjoy that?
A: I didn't ask her to continue that initial story.
Q: Yet that story had been rewarded with your kind attention. Without any other, concrete, evidence of abuse would it not seem that you were in fact the driving force behind her penning these stories?
A: I- I did the right thing... (Wipes face, shakes head) For her education, socialization and safety. I did the right thing.
Q: Without concrete evidence. Without even a statement. You asked the local authority to act, to intervene in a family, based on one questionable story and the hunch of a friendly teacher. Don't you think the right thing would have been to at least collect a statement?
A: (Clears throat, brushes hair from face) ... If I pushed her I may have scared her off. I might have-
Q: It seems to me that the local authority cannot be blamed for failing to act on the flimsy evidence you gave. It seems clear to me that at that stage the fault lies with you-
A: I did the right thing. (Raises voice) I did everything in my pow-
Q: That's ok Ms. Teller (gestures)... That's ok. In the light of the most heinous later events in this case your vigilance and prescience should of course be lauded. I mean only to suggest that the local authority could not possibly have acted on the evidence given at that stage. Is that so unreasonable to say?
A: (Stares at counsel) ... It's- It's not what I believed. I don't think so.
Q: Whatever your feelings on the matter; it is self-evident that the local authority decided against further action at that stage. Take us forward to your third attempt to advance Emma-Mai's case. Could you repeat for us the circumstances leading to your third referral?
A: Emma-Mai's attendance dropped sharply in the run up to the holidays. I couldn’t reach anyone in the home. A couple of times I got answerphone but never any reply. She returned to school much later than the other pupils. Returned with this bruise on her-
Q: Thank you Ms. Teller... (Nods) On this occasion, Mr. Foster-Clyde, the lead professional assigned to the case took the necessary precaution of scheduling a child protection conference on the 13th of February is that correct?
A: He- ... It is.
Q: How is it that you came to be invited to the meeting?
A: As a representative. Mr. Foster-Clyde asked for somebody from the school to be at the meeting.
Q: Would that normally be the classroom teacher?
A: Normally it would be the CP officer. Since the support team was cut that responsibility has been taken by one of the school's deputy heads.
Q: So normally the school sends a more experienced, highly trained, member of staff to the conference?
A: (Raises voice) As the one making the referral and filling in the forms I was-
Q: Ms. Teller. I have no desire to imply that you are incapable or unfit. I merely wish to confirm that ordinarily a more experienced member of staff would attend. Is that not the case?
A: ... (Nods)
Q: It could be said that the school had done yourself, and Emma-Mai, no favors in failing to send a more prominent member of its staff. Did your lack of prior knowledge cause any difficulties during the meeting?
A: We covered that yesterday. That Foster-
Q: I remember you saying that he... (Looks at, gestures at notes in hand) "cut you off several times". What reason was given for this?
A: He wouldn't listen to my evidence. More interested in the agenda than-
Q: Ms. Teller (coughs); what reason did he give?
A: (Stands, leans on/grips box with hands) He had no interest in hearing me out or-
Q: (Raises voice, reads from notes) "Ms. Teller, please keep to the written agenda. We will hear your evidence in time." Were those not the words of my client?
A: (Seated once again) Mr. Morgan was stalling the meeting. Trying to sidetrack us, ruin the progress I'd made. Everything I said... I was doing what was right. I was right...
Q: The agenda, the process that you struggled against exists for a reason I'm sure. What would be the result if the correct legal process was not followed in determining social services intervention? What would happen?
A: ... (Looks down) Nothing.
Q: Could you elaborate as to why Ms. Teller? Why would "nothing" happen?
A: It wouldn't be legal. The conference is part of the legal framework for intervention.
Q: So in fact your persistent ignorance of, and resistance to, proper procedure and process was actually a barrier to Emma-Mai receiving inter-
A: (Shouts) Damn you! Don't put that on me. (Rises to feet) I’m not the bloody monster here. I was-
Justice Aldin: Be seated Ms. Teller... Should you fail to compose yourself I will be forced to find you in contempt of court. Counsel; you had better rephrase. Your line of questioning was inflammatory and potentially libelous.
Counsel: My sincere apologies. I aim only to find fault in the school's selection of representative and the difficulties that presented my client during the meeting.
Justice Aldin: Please continue counsel.
Counsel: Allow me to change the subject your honor.
Q: Ms. Teller; could you please detail for us any communications you received from my client following the conference you attended.
A: He NFA'd it, binned it. I was forwarded an email sent to the head of inclusions. He didn't even copy me-
Q: Could you elaborate as to the language he used?
A: He thanked me for my efforts... (Shakes head) ... said that there were not sufficient grounds to proceed. Too little evidence.
Counsel: The aforementioned communication is entered as (link-repeat: "exhibit J")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IM2ZQqiwFm51-jmJVDFW78Co4LBfjksq/view?usp=sharing')].
Q: Is it not normal for referred cases without a victim statement, no written correspondence detailing abuse and only verbal discourse from a potentially biased witness to be labelled NFA?
A: ... I'm not aware of the-
Q: Are you aware of cases with firmer evidence being turned away?
A: (Clears throat) You do hear stories like that from other staff. I-
Q: So surely you're able to answer my question aren't you?
A: ... (Shakes head)... You're blaming me. You want to-
Q: You deny any bias? You deny that you cared for Emma-Mai Morgan? You deny wanting to protect her, wanting to save her? (Checks notes) ...That you, I quote, "had to do something"?
A: (Shakes head)
Q: Do you deny that you might have been inclined, been predisposed, to refer this case prematurely?
Q: Ms. Teller, given your clear discomfort please allow me change tack; how many periods of sickness have you had in your current position?
A: That's not, I don't see ho-
Q: Seven. Since commencing employment at the academy you have had seven periods of sickness have you not?
A: (Bows head, mumbles)
Q: Could you repeat that Ms. Teller?
A: (Coughs) That's right.
Q: Three of those were stress or mental health related were they not?
Counsel: Fortunately we do not need to wait on your reply. This data sheet from the school verifies the fact. The court will find it (link-repeat: "marked K")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Zq79mSYDtydyt4yZ_u4fzxFXmDnGe2Fb/view?usp=sharing')].
Q: I would like to focus on the final instance. A three week period commencing the 23rd of May 2016. The school's record lists it as "stress, medical". What precipitated this most serious attack of infirmity?
A: (Sobs, begins to cry) ... my father. He- ...The death of my father.
Q: Would it be fair to say that you had a strained relationship with him?
A: (Coughs and splutters, nods)
Counsel: I shall spare Ms. Teller the difficulty in trying to elucidate the circumstances under which she was absent from work. I will however direct your attention to (link-repeat: "exhibit L")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/12oYQUwexqnboTL_pKEqR02P-1mLUexaz/view?usp=sharing')]; the subpoenaed records of her medical assessment and counseling during and beyond this period. Within you will find described that Ms. Teller was incapacitated by her inability to handle the death of her own violent and abusive father. Compelled by what she saw as her own history repeating itself, plus her own maternal feelings for Emma-Mai Morgan, she prematurely and without proper evidence referred the case to my client. My client was bound by law to take the only rational course of action, when presented with an unsubstantiated referral, and rule that the case did not meet the threshold for further intervention at that time. Had Ms. Teller been able to wait for, or proceed to gather, the correct evidence Mr. Foster-Clyde would have been able to avert the unholy disaster that befell poor Emma-Mai Morgan.
A: ... (Cries, shakes head) ...I-
Counsel: I have no further questions for Ms. Morgan.
Justice Aldin: Thank you Mr. Crittenden and again thank you very much Ms. Teller. The court shall now be in recess until tomorrow morning. At that time the prosecution may call any other witnesses.
[[Check back in with Cerys]](enchant:?page,(text-colour:(hsl:0,0,0,0.8))+(background:white))''YOU:''
Well that was brutal
You can see why Andy keeps second guessing it. His (link-repeat: "emails")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nP6Rk5KZP5mzDZTr711ncxyYQZXaaZ4C/view?usp=sharing')] to Sarah during and after are pretty emotional too. Seeing that happen to her really punched him in the feels
It was some really sharp work from Crittenden
That’s what it takes to play defence. The ability to grind an honest, intelligent woman into dust to save your client
[[She was compromised from the start]]
[[They wouldn’t have done that to a man]]
The boss must have known about her background when doing his history, she had a big target painted on her back
It's classic stuff, play her up to be the hysterical woman and twist the knife when she cracks on the stand. Juries eat that shit up
I don’t know about that, possible suicide attempt, history of abuse. Those kinds of things do cloud your judgement
Judgement which, I remind you, was spot on in this case
I'm not arguing, but it's easy to cast that in a ‘cry wolf’ light for someone like Crittenden
You do remember how that story ended?
The boy eats the porridge that’s just right and his carriage turns back into a pumpkin?
Crittenden just wouldn’t have done the same to a man. You have to go out of your way to show a man as unstable to a jury, it’s the opposite for women. It’s depressing how effective that ‘sad/mad little girl’ play is
I’m not disagreeing… It just doesn’t help that this girl was actually particularly sad. The boss took a big risk putting her on the stand
That what you’re going to tell him?
I don’t know… I get it. Sarah was right after all and it just feels right that someone be responsible for failing Emma-Mai, but it was doomed from the start
Maybe winning isn’t everything. The select committee are looking into CS powers and funding. More case officers, lower threshold for intervention
Less Emma-Mai’s in future
Harsh price to pay but it could save thousands of lives
Im not sure that would comfort Sarah too much
Did you follow the case? Back then I mean
Go through (link-repeat: "press clippings")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/12uqoo-MZ3CoEsE7VaH5HB2ZwtdmyooCN/view?usp=sharing')].
Classic old school sexist move, Crittenden played her up to be the hysterical woman and made a big show of it when she broke down. Juries eat that shit up
That they do, but in this case… a possible suicide attempt, history of abuse. Those kinds of things can cloud your judgement whatever you've got between your legs
Sarah’s judgement was pretty spot on in this case
Doesn’t matter. She had a big target painted on her back, too easy to show her in a ‘cry wolf’ light for someone of Crittenden's skill
You do remember how that 'cry wolf' story ended? Lol
Yea, nobody believed the lying little shitbag. Even broken clocks are right two times a day. If she was seeing everything as possible abuse she would eventually be right
Crittenden just wouldn’t have been able to do the same to a man. You know as well as I do that you have to go out of your way to show a man as unstable to a jury, it’s the opposite for women. The man on the street is just waiting for her to burst into tears
It is depressing how often the ‘sad/mad little girl’ play works with the public, the calendar might say 2021, but in the jury box it’s still 1821. The boss took a risk putting her on the stand
I can understand why he did it though. Sarah was right after all and it just feels right that someone in CS be responsible for failing Emma-Mai... Also Forster-Clyde is a fucking tool
Andy should have known he was onto a loser though
Maybe winning isn’t everything. The select committee are looking into CS powers and funding. More officers, lower threshold for intervention
Fingers crossed they’ll be a few less Emma-Mai’s in future
I second that. This one must have been a bitter pill to swallow, but it should save thousands going forward
We can only hope. Remember all the gory details coming out in the press?
Go through (link-repeat: "press clippings")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/12uqoo-MZ3CoEsE7VaH5HB2ZwtdmyooCN/view?usp=sharing')].
[[Check mobile]] ''Cerys (07744272917):''
You still not done with those files yet? You know we don’t get paid overtime lol
Still deciding exactly what I think about all the boss' decisions here :/
Don’t burst a blood vessel, it won’t change the outcome. As long as you have done your homework and know what you’re talking about he’ll be happy. It's not a true/false quiz, he's looking to get a grip of your character.
Was that supposed to be comforting??! What do you say when the right thing isn’t the same as the legal thing...
I now pronounce you a lawyer
Bear in mind, the boss did his histories. He knew Sarah’s background and told her exactly what to expect. They both went into this with their eyes open
And by nudging the govt into action the case caused big improvements to CS
It better… And in spite of the "L" on his record Andy got to fight the good fight, get our name out there in the press and bring a lot of new clients in the door
Must have been crushing for Sarah though
That's putting it lightly... You read her (link: "letter")[(open-url: 'https://drive.google.com/file/d/1kpjQKBn0byiGrJ2VHKFWRTVnh3MqK7TO/view?usp=sharing')], the one she gave Andy after the trial?
Yea :O, with her mental health history that must have shit him right up
It did. Story goes he reads it and goes off like a fucking rocket, jumps in the car and gets a para to look up her address on the phone as he’s steaming out of the parking lot. Drives like a lunatic across town to her place and kicks the bloody door in when she doesnt answer
!!?!! No shit?
I shit you not. Place is a fucking wreck, lights are all off. She’s in bed drinking in the dark :(...
Shit. That’s not a great look
Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. I know I have
Least she was in one piece
Yea. He cleans her up, tidies the place and tucks her into bed. Next morning they get talking about how much he admires the stand she made and that hopefully it makes a difference in future, she says she couldn’t have done it without him. One thing leads to another...
And now they’re two years married
You just never know how things are going to turn out I guess. Andy likes a win, everyone does, but on his team he wants crusaders. People that will take the leap with him
People who'd take being right over winning
In his mind they're the same thing
I'd better head on out. You hanging out?
Fuck no. Lol, I'm in for the long haul tonight. Save yourself!!!
Ha, thanks. Catch you tomorrow. X
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