Tess Lawrence versus McKean Park Lawyers and the NAB

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Contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence fronts the Federal Court in Melbourne tomorrow in her appeal against the bankruptcy order made against her on November 11 last year. As she reports, much has happened to her since that hearing — very little of it good or just.

Only one more restless sleep before tomorrow's welcome 9.30am hearing in Melbourne's Federal Court of Australia for an extension of time and leave to Appeal last year's November 11 Bankruptcy Order against me by Justice North and made in my absence as a result of PTSD triggered by threats made to me at the Magistrates Court last May 9, by my bankruptor's lawyer, McKean Park's Richard Ashley.

Since the assault and my breakdown, I have been trying to rebuild my life and confidence and my journalism, especially with the Diggers Fair Go campaign that I unashamedly and passionately support — and which remains an important part of my rehabilitation.

Thanks to the supportive work of psychologists Michael Crewdson and Dr David List and other doctors and good people, I have mended to the extent that I am able to again represent myself in Court; a choiceless matter, given my financial hardship and rejection by Legal Aid and PILCH (the Public Interest Legal Clearing House).

The severe personal and professional emotional blows of having my property stripped bare of even load bearing fittings and personal belongings stolen and trashed, including documents and files and business equipment, having my backyard bulldozed and front gate and front doors broken into on several occasions and possessions and family possessions stolen and sold without my knowledge or consultation has opened my eyes to the endemic culture of the brutalising of ordinary people by SOME within our legal and judicial systems and departments, including the Sherriff, bankruptcy trustees and banks and their agents and representatives who breach with impunity Commonwealth and State Laws and who remain indecently partisan to the banks and bankruptors, when they are legally obliged to remain impartial.

What is more, it seems we are nice fat little earners for bankruptcy trustees and all the bottom feeders in these chains of human misery — and if they are nice to the banks and bankruptors, they'll get even more work. They answer to no-one it seems. They are a law and a lore unto themselves. And that's also what SOME police believe.

Civil laws and protocols can be breached by criminal acts. Police seem to think that criminal conduct remains subservient to civil law.

The breakdown of law and order in our community streets is reflected in our bureaucratic streets as well.  There is little scrutiny in these backstreets. And that's the way the boys in the backroom like it.

On Saturday evening, an incident happened that was an enormous emotional setback to me and immediately triggered the flashbacks I thought I was 'managing'.  I daresay that was what the incident was supposed to do. But knowing that doesn't stop the derailing of months of remedial work and therapy.

I don't know who the man was. He didn't identify himself. He was dressed in blackish clothing.

He terrified me to such an extent that I remained awake all night — too scared and upset to sleep.

I had been out earlier and was walking up the street on the opposite side of the house when I noticed that a silver car passed me and parked diagonally opposite my home. A man, dressed in blackish clothes got out of the car and went to the boot to get something out.

I started to get a really bad feeling and flashbacks of the Court assault and other bad things that have happened to me, including bushfires. I remembered instructions from security personnel. If it's between fight and flight, choose flight. Do not engage with anyone you don't know or who does not identify themselves or who leaves anonymous messages or notes or notices. People on 'official duties' professionally identify themselves. I was told to be wary of those who don't.

I started to shake uncontrollably and decided I must trust my instinct and turned to walk back in the direction from whence I came.

I walked back down some way down the street and stopped and turned around to see if the man had gone, scared in case he had followed me, or was hiding in a laneway.

I could see him outside the car, looking in my direction – I felt that he was definitely there to do me harm – and then he got into the car and drove off, quite fast.

I don't know how I did, but I forced myself to walk back towards the house, still on the opposite side of the road, but I just had I just had a feeling that he would be waiting around the corner in cowardly fashion and double back. I thought that if he was waiting for me on legitimate business, he would have called out and identified himself and explained he was on formal business.

My locked gate has been forced open on a number of occasions in past weeks and cards left to call unidentified numbers, no names. I do not – and in crisis management training counsel others not to – ever contact people who are not prepared to identify themselves. Especially when I have been physically beaten and verbally threatened.

Anyhow, as I got closer to my home (still on the opposite side of the road) the man came around the corner, on my side of the street, and started approaching me. I can't remember everything he said, but I know I said something like 'do not approach me, do not come near me — I have made a statement to police’. I recall he threw some papers over a neighbour's wall onto their garden — that was on the opposite side of the street to my home. The man kept coming towards me, and I know I was yelling out aloud for him to go away and I thought he was going to hit me. I think I said several times that I had made a statement to the police about the assault in the Court.

I recall crossing to the side of the street next to my home and then he started coming towards me again.  I didn't want to try to get in behind my gate, in case he pushed in behind me. It is a wooden paling gate, and I thought he could beat me up and no-one would know. So I backed off back down the street.

He eventually ran off back around the corner and I followed him, trying to see if I could get the car number. I couldn't see him anywhere. He may have had a driver in a getaway car.

At no time, to the best of my recall, did the man identify himself to me. And I recall he kept calling me by my first name as if he knew me, though he was not known to me.

Click here for a signed and sworn copy of the supporting affidavit for tomorrow's hearing; we share this with you in keeping with our pledge and belief that our Courts and Judicial processes should be transparent and accountable.

Matt Norman will be in Court with me tomorrow as my McKenzie Friend and under the circumstances I am particularly grateful for his support. He too is a self-represented litigant and I have reported the extraordinary goings on that took place at his hearing in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Matt also shot and edited the Youtube news video capturing what awaited me at Daylesford. The video has already had more than 1800 viewings.

The affidavit has already been sworn in the Federal Court and was personally served on McKean Park last year, on December 21st, 2011.

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