Woke up this morning, and realised that it is the two year anniversary of the day I had my nephew arrested.
It was accidental of course.
When I reported the crime, I had no idea who the perpetrator might be. He wasn’t even on the list. Some of his friends, perhaps; a random stranger with bank card cloning skills, possibly; my own nephew, not a chance! Ironically, as we left the police station that night, the officers on duty, who knew him much better than I, already had him down as their main suspect.
When they called a couple of weeks later, to confirm that they had acquired enough video evidence to put forward a prosecution and that it was, indeed, him, we still looked for reasons that may, in some way, exonerate his behaviour. Perhaps he was being blackmailed, or had been coerced by threats of violence, or any one of the myriad excuses we managed to construct on his behalf.
That, of course, was before we found the drug baggies. That was before we unearthed the paraphernalia of a drug dealer. That was before we received the risk assessment, from the social work department, highlighting the state of neglect his grandmother, with whom he lived, had been in when she was admitted to hospital. That was before…
It’s in the national psyche, writ large in the DNA, and drummed into every kilted toddler in the land: “Ye Cannae Shove Yer Granny Aff A Bus!” Yet, there he was. Having effectively done just that, and not a hint of remorse.
He could have gotten away with it, too; if he hadn’t been greedy.
You can steal your granny’s money, and the law will allow you to “deal with it inside the family.” Defraud an investment company, however, and the police will act, with or without your statement. “It’s out of your hands.” The law, in effect, protects corporations; whilst simultaneously failing to ensure that these same corporations implement effective safeguards to protect the individuals with whom they do business.
Bonus twist of fate! It is also the anniversary of his sentencing; primarily because he had the brass balls to decide not to show up for his trial, originally set for January, choosing instead to text his lawyer that “he was too busy” that day, and would be for the next couple of weeks. Apparently it was the fastest “contempt of court” warrant that had ever been executed. So there is that.
Today he will have served out the community payback element, the reward for being “a low risk of reoffending.” Easy to say that when your granny is dead, but who am I to disagree with the courts? He remains on “supervision” for a further year. I’m not even entirely sure what that means, but it will no doubt be treated with the same, sneering contempt with which he treated the entire legal process.
I could say that he has been forgiven. Chances are high, that may never be true. But it’s early days. I tell myself that it isn’t worth holding on to whatever this numbness is. The problem, of course, is that “forgiveness” is easy. It’s “trust” that is hard – once broken, impossible to mend.
Ultimately, the knowledge that “he tried to get away with it” blocks any real sense that a “second chance” is even possible.