Next job to do in December was to travel up to her chambers to meet Amanda, our barrister.
Before that, Chris and I spent ages writing our position statement. This was, of course, all new to me. My naive idea was to include every single thing that had happened throughout the year - rather like all the stories I have included in this blog. I find it difficult in those early days of getting representation to distinguish between the points of law and all the other abuses that had gone on over the year. After hours of discussion, we came up with a very long position statement.
Amanda took one look at it and said that it was too unfocused. So back to the drawing board, we pared it back to the two main declarations we wanted the judge to agree. Firstly that the current DOL was unlawful and should be terminated. And secondly, that it was in Steven's best interests to be living at home. The legal people believed that if we got the first one, the second would automatically follow. So, we ended up with a much shorter position statement that I must admit made me nervous. Had we done enough?
Over the next week, Hillingdon's position statements started to come in. The social worker had gone missing, so it was left to her manager to prepare the one on behalf of the supervisory body. The Unit manager wrote the one for the managing authority. They were dirty pieces of writing. Both of them portrayed Steven as a dangerous young man and me as an uncooperative, belligerent father. It was also at this point that we discovered the content of Hillingdon's application - they hadn't,as they led me to believe since August, made an application for a DOLs review. In fact, their application didn't even mention the DOLs. They were going for a full welfare deputy application which would have given them complete control over all the decisions in Steven's life, cutting me totally out of the picture. It was outrageously audacious and arrogant. Did they not expect a full hearing where the extent of their deceit would be revealed? Did they just assume it would be a rubber stamping exercise?
A few days later, Chris turned up with boxes full of all the social care records. he wanted me to go through the whole lot and pull out the ones that I thought would be good for the case. He'd already discovered that the head of safeguarding adults who was responsible for DOLs had been adding bits to the authorisations that hadn't been included in the best interests assessments. So much for impartiality. My guess was that on the day each DOL was due to be authorised, he and all the stakeholding managers got together to make sure they were all singing from the same hymn sheet. It was whilst going through these boxes that so many things came to light about how much Steven and I had been lied to during the year. Of course, I was furious but I also had a sense of relief as well - relief that I hadn't been going mad and been imagining things. Amongst the things I found were the minutes of the meeting in April when they decided to send Steven away but not to tell me; the "always something or other with Mr Neary" email, emails from some of the professionals expressing their discomfort with what was happening. There was a lot to take in. I was astonished at the number of private professionals meetings that had been held over the year. And they either achieved nothing or made decisions that they had no right to make. It took three days to go through all the boxes and I was exhausted by the end of it.
The last thing to do was to write response statements to the statements submitted by Hillingdon. Once again, I got caught up in wanting to expose the duplicity and had to be reined in by Amanda who said ti would all come out in court (which of course it did).
And then it was a case of waiting. A long week's wait until the 21st December when all would be decided.