Okay, first things first. Doug and Adele arrived safely. I said I would post so their kids knew they were here. They had a good trip, got here just fine. I’ll have them email you tomorrow morning. They’re tired and turned in early.
Wow. There are a ton of things rolling around in our heads and hearts right now. The short version is that there are some very upset people in Pierre Payen tonight. But, we’re not them.
Before I get into the good parts we want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who was praying for us. We know many of you have been over the last week, and more so last night and today. I also know that many of you were praying right as we were waiting in the court house this morning. I say that because there was a very distinct moment where my stomach stopped flipping and my heart stopped thudding and I felt an overwhelming peace wash over me. I know it was because you were praying at that moment. Court was running late and when we should have been going in we were still waiting and that’s when I felt it. Chris said that he knew people were praying because he slept well last night and wasn’t stressed. Thank you so much for lifting all of us up this way. Thank you.
Now, onto the court proceedings.
First off, our lawyer was amazing. He told us he was confident going in, but he ROCKED the court room. He put up with nothing. He was aiming to go in there to argue against having the trial today and to have it pushed back. We were thinking “we didn’t have enough notice” etc. But no. He went down into every inch of how everything was improperly handled. Every. Single. Thing. And he wasn’t just yelling loud and blowing smoke so that it sounded like he was knowing what he was talking about. He knows his stuff in and out, and he knows it well. We are so very thankful for him and that he is taking this seriously.
The judge ruled in our favor, after much argument between sides. There were documents that weren’t handled properly, and most of all there was a definite course of action that should have been taken, but it wasn’t. Mainly, that there are a few other people that we have arrest mandates for, that were supposed to be arrested and questioned and investigated before anyone went to trial. That wasn’t done.
There were reps from the UN anti-corruption unit in St. Marc present to watch over the session which we were thankful for. It’s always good to have people around that remind those in positions of responsibility what their jobs are.
Now, all seriousness aside there were some highlight or surreal moments of the day.
- One of our all time faves was when one of the defense lawyers was arguing that the first judge that had seen the case should be removed from his position because the case had been handled improperly (not his fault, but rather the investigative judge). The defense attorney was very animated. And I think probably a little upset. It might have had something to do with the fact that our lawyer was laughing out loud. The judge that he was saying should be dismissed was laughing out loud. And the main judge was looking at the ceiling the entire time trying to stifle laughter. Chris and I were biting our lips because the whole moment was so surreal and funny.
- After our lawyers initial push to have the trial moved the defense was able to give a rebuttal. The last thing he said was, “And then he goes and hires a lawyer from Port au Prince. He’s not even from St. Marc” and the whole court room broke out in a huge cheer and applause. Normally this kind of thing would be used to pressure the judge, but the judge looked at the court room, pointed his finger at them and said, “That’s the last time. If it happens again everyone is out.” That was also when more police officers moved around the room. For a good part of the proceedings after that I had the butt of a PNH officer bumping the back of my chair and all I could think when it would happen was, “Huh, there’s a police officer bumping me with his butt and his shotgun is only about 12 inches away from my head area. That’s a bit surreal.”
- After the outbreak our lawyer had a chance to talk again and at one point he pointed at the accused, looked at the rest of the courtroom and said, “He’s a delinquent and I don’t know why you would want to support someone who is stopping the progress of Pierre Payen!” The court room was quiet. Our lawyer was that good. We like him.
- Our lawyer is a former senator. I rode in with him and I just kept thinking, “Our life is SO weird. I mean, I’m riding with our lawyer, and he’s a former senator.” There are definite moments where I look at our life here and think about how so very far away it is from anything that our life would be like back in Canada. It’s so strange when I have those stand back moments and realize that aside from being interesting, it’s just plain old strange. I mean, I grew up in Armstrong. We’re known for making cheese. And that’s about it. I am ordinary. And I’m living this oh-so-not-ordinary life.
- One of the other comical moments was when Chris got a phone call from our old lawyer 20 minutes before we were supposed to be in court and he said to Chris, “The dossier is in a big mess.” Chris said, “Yeah, I’ve known all week. You’re not my lawyer anymore.” THEN, we got to the court house and were waiting in a lobby where they ended up trying a civil case because of overflow, and guess who shows up??? Yep. Our lawyer wanders in and sees us and smiles and waves. We just looked at him. Turns out he was there to try the civil case. I wonder how he was planning on being in two places at once? Oh, wait. That wasn’t his plan at all.
- After everything was done people started to leave. The police vehicle was out front and they had the accused in it. There was a big crowd around and lots of yelling and wailing. I forgot to mention that there were a couple hundred people that showed up for him. We had about 20, but it was a good 20. Anyway. There were a TON of people in the streets and very quickly things got animated and people started to manifest. The police started to come out and do “crowd control” which was crazy. Another very surreal moment. We thought that everyone on the street was upset about our case, but later found out that most of the people there were upset about another one that had just finished. They were the ones that were manifesting. It was just so crazy to watch.
- One of the things that just really resonated with me today was the irony of the whole situation. The accused’s family spent a lot of money to get papers pushed etc, and in the end that was what it came down to today. Due diligence wasn’t followed, and that’s why he’s still in prison tonight. I know that they will never look at themselves as having had a part in that, that it will still be our “fault”, but we know. And God knows. And he is ultimately in control.
- A poster on the courtroom wall, all big and green with white lettering said (in French), “The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world.” I thought it was really cool that it was plastered up there on the wall to remind me that it is so very true and that God is still on the throne and that he is the perfect judge and jury. He knows everything about this case and was in it and around it the whole time, and will continue to be.
Well, I’m starting to come down and I think it’s time to go crawl in bed with my new jammies that my mom sent. I LOVE new pajamas.
Thanks again for the prayers. And thanks for walking with us through this so very crazy journey that we call our lives. We love you for it!
PS – I forgot to tell you that the staff members that were going to take legal action didn’t have to because their stuff was tied up in our stuff and it got dealt with.