Sometimes you never know where life will take you, even when you have planned it very carefully.
In early 2014, I received a telephone call from Trevor. He was speaking very quickly, almost as if he had limited time to tell his story.
On Christmas day the year before, while Trevor was overseas, he received word there was a terrible fire at his home. As a result, his wife perished and one of his two children suffered significant burns.
Trevor had been dealing with the insurance company with little success. With one child in the hospital and now having to find a place to live, Trevor was desperate to resolve this matter.
When Trevor came to see us, he brought a bundle of documents. As soon as he sat down he said, “I don’t know what this is all about. I’m confused”. In the bundle of documents were police reports and letters from the insurance company.
As I read through the papers it became clear – Trevor was being investigated for causing the fire to his home. As I mentioned this to Trevor, his eyes welled up with tears in disbelief and he said, “You’re not serious!”. Sadly, it was serious and true.
Fortunately, after many dealings with the insurance company and the police, Trevor was overjoyed when we contacted him to let him know the police investigation had been concluded and he had been found innocent. As a result, the insurance company was going to make a payout on his claim.
Fast forward to the second half of 2016 and there is another telephone call and yes, it is from Trevor. No doubt, as you hear the name you wonder what might be the problem this time around.
Trevor had been pulled over by the police for driving uninsured, unregistered and on cancelled licence plates. I urged Trevor to make an appointment to see one of our solicitors. Trevor could not wait until the next scheduled appointment and within fifteen minutes he was at our office, pleading to speak to one of our solicitors.
It appears that Trevor had been sent notices that his car was due for registration and because he had failed to respond, his plates were cancelled.
One of the reasons Trevor did not receive notice of his registration renewal was that he no longer resided at the address on his registration. In fact, Trevor and his children had only recently moved into their new home.
In addition to that, the home where he once lived had been demolished and nothing stood on the site any longer. Where were the letters being sent? No one knows. This was a series of mix-ups which ended in Trevor having to appear before the Magistrates Court.
Trevor was nervous and told us he had no police record apart from a few minor traffic infringements. He worried this would remain a blight on his history when it was clearly a mistake on his part. We decided to engage with the Police Prosecutor as quickly as possible. However, on the first court date, there seemed to be no evidence of the Prosecutor having received our submissions.
On the second court date, we were advised that our submissions were received but no one had read them. Once more the matter was adjourned to another court date.
On the third court date, Trevor was waiting for me and with a smile on his face, said to me, “Tell me it’s going to be sorted out today”. I remained hopeful that the Prosecutor had read our submissions.
I walked into the courtroom and saw the Police Prosecutor was someone I had dealt with in the past and had found to be a person of integrity. After speaking to the Police Prosecutor, I turned to Trevor and smiled. I headed towards him to tell him the good news just as Trevor’s matter was called.
I quickly beckoned Trevor to the bar table and after noting my appearance, Trevor heard these words from the Police Prosecutor: “Your Honour, we have considered the submissions made by Salvos Legal Humanitarian and offer no evidence in this matter.” There was quizzical look on Trevor’s face.
As I bent over to speak to Trevor, the Magistrate asked Trevor to stand and then said: “The Prosecutor has no evidence to offer in this matter. Your matter is dismissed. You are free to go.”
It took a few seconds for it to sink in before there was a smile that crossed his face. He finally understood what had happened. He was free to go.
As we walked out of the courtroom, I thanked Trevor for choosing to return to Salvos Legal Humanitarian for further assistance. He smiled again, thanked me and turned to walk away. After a few steps he stopped, walked back towards me and said, “I trust you. I trust your advice”.
A few days later, I received a telephone call from Trevor. He was excited to tell me that he was in a new relationship and he was happy. He also told me his daughter had been accepted to university to study law and, if it was possible, he wanted her to volunteer at our office in the future. I let the good news sink in and said, “Let’s see what the future holds”.
Life sometimes takes tragic turns and what we have planned does not work out the way we intended. To me, Trevor was an example of happiness coming out of tragedy. We look forward to hearing more good news from him in the future.