Oh, what I day.
At least I got to start it with cows!
When I went to unlock the gate, the renter’s cows (and bull) were in the old hay yard. The grass is too high to see, but it looks like there is still water in the low spot where you can see a bunch of them gathered. They did seem to be drinking, rather than grazing.
I just love the renter’s cows. They make me smile!
I left very early for my court date with our vandal today. I did forget on detail until I went over the paperwork again last night. He’s not suing me for $10,000. He’s suing me for $13,000.
I’m glad I left as early as I did. Aside from stopping to get gas on the way out, when I got to my usual route to a place I knew I could park without time limits, I found the road was torn up. There was only 1 lane of traffic, away from where I wanted to go, and it was several blocks before I was able to take a turn back to the main road and go around another way.
When I got there, I did have a bit of a heart attack when the security guard told me there was no court today. ???!!! The court office was open, though, so I went in to ask. At first, it was confirmed: no court today. Then I showed her my case file and she said, “oh, yes. There’s court for you.”
Because this was a civil suit, it’s Court of Queens Bench – a federal court, not a provincial court. When I filed for a restraining order against our vandal, it was all provincial, and in a different court room. The court rooms are just down the hall from each other, though. There are some benefits to small city courts!
After some time, I could hear our vandal’s voice, talking to the security guards at the door. When he and his witnesses came around the corner, they saw me sitting by the doors and just stopped, taking seats at the other end of the hall.
He had said he would have two, then four, witnesses, but three were there. His wife, of course. A mutual friend whose voice I recognized, and another guy whose voice I could not recognise at all. They had bright windows behind them, so I couldn’t see him. In the end, it turned out to be a neighbour of ours that we both grew up with. Not someone I would have expected to be there, though.
Because he was the claimant, when we finally got before the judge (about 15-20 minutes past the scheduled time), he got to talk first, with an opening statement, then calling in his witnesses, one at a time.
The first thing the judge asked him, though, was how he came up with the $13,000 he was after. He rambled about how much he thought things were worth, and that some things had sentimental value, but in the end it came down to “that’s what I think it’s worth”.
As for his opening statement, my goodness, he rambled on. Then stopped. Then rambled some more. Then stopped. Then rambled some more. The judge was good at keeping a poker face, but even she was starting get that “are you done yet?” look.
In a nutshell, everything is my fault. I am the “ringleader” in trying to destroy his life. I have cameras because I want him in jail. I locked the gate because I want to keep him from his stuff. I call the police on him, over and over and over, and the police came to see him, like, THREE times, and he was fingerprinted and everything. I pressed charges for no reason (his vandalizing the gate was him “opening” the gate). I applied for a restraining order for no reason. I was using the police and the courts against him because I’m so very mean and don’t want him to have his stuff. The farm’s ownership went to my brother “behind [his] back” and “in secret”. He still seems to think he has some sort of claim to the land itself, not just the stuff he claims is his. Lots of rambling about how he and my late brother did SO much to take care of the farm, and how he went to auctions and stuff to buy things that were stored on the farm because he didn’t have room out of the elements to start it, etc. My other siblings did nothing. It was just him and my late brother. And I’m mean for not letting him onto the property.
Then his witnesses came in, one at a time, and basically said the same thing. He did lots of stuff on the farm. He helped my dad a lot. He had lots of stuff on the farm. My dad wanted the farm to go to him. !!! He should be able to go onto the farm and take “his” stuff at any time. His wife even tried to make it sound like he brought his own tools over here and left them, if my father didn’t have a particular tool. Which is hilarious, because when we moved here, all the functional tools and supplies were gone.
Funny. Other than passing mentions, it was as if my mother, who actually owned the land when we moved here, didn’t exist.
The witnesses really didn’t make his case. But then, he doesn’t have one.
When I finally got to respond, it was pretty basic. I don’t claim ownership of the property or anything on it. It was my mother’s, and now it’s my brothers. He has submitted additional documentation that I wasn’t able to go over in full until later, but it didn’t add to his case. I submitted the Statement of Declaration, sign by myself, my brother and my mother, explaining why we moved out here and what my role here is – and that includes keeping things from disappearing. Because of some of the things he said, I included the transcript of a phone message he left with my brother that basically admitted he took all that stuff, and that he was going to keep suing us, even if it meant he had to sell his farm and be homeless. With lots of swearing. I also had a transcript of my dad leaving a message with my brother, shortly before he died, saying he wanted my brother to take over the farm.
My affidavit included an old email I’d sent back in 2018 to our vandal and my family where, among other things, I’d told him that if he could take stuff if he could provide proof of ownership. He never responded.
I also had the chance to say what he actually did to the gate, and that I had cameras because we found locks glued shut and the barn doors boarded up. I mentioned I have a disabled husband, and if we needed to suddenly go to the hospital, that would be a major issue. I also had the chance to mention I have no income; we live on my husband’s disability, so what does he think he can get from me?
There was lots more, of course. As expected, without someone there to keep him on a short leash, he stepped in it a few times. One of them was when he said I was using the police and courts against him and got away with it with a sob story that had the “judge wrapped around [my] fingers”. That was one moment where the judge’s poker face broke, ever so fleetingly.
Oh, one other time I think he stepped in it. He started rambling on about how this farm is apparently “worth a fortune”. And the house, too. Ha! The numbers he threw out wouldn’t even buy a “handyman’s special” house in the city. His own place, and all the stuff he’s got on it, is probably worth three times as much, if not more.
Also, apparently I have ruined him financially, because I pressed charges against him and riled a restraining order, and he had to pay a lawyer $4000. But he’s “financially ruined” because of me? Even on his pension, not to mention the golden handshake he got, he’s probably bringing in more than my husband’s disability payments, and if it isn’t, his wife’s job certainly is. But he was clearly very obsessed with the monetary value of this property, and that fact that I “control” it.
We used to be so close, years ago, but now his hatred of me is palpable. It’s remarkable.
What’s done is done, though. It’s now up to the judge. She will make her decision and we will get it in the mail within 30 days.
I am glad for that, as it means she’ll have a chance to go over all the documentation. Even after going over the stack of papers he submitted (and it was quite a stack, though mostly of photos), he still doesn’t have a case. It all comes down to the fact that 1) I don’t claim ownership over any of it and 2) he had plenty of opportunity to take his stuff, and he didn’t. It’s not like I gave him a time limit on that.
She explained at the end that if she rules in his favour, it would be for the $13,000 plus potentially the court costs, and did he want to include that? He asked what that meant, and it could be up to $500 more.
If she rules in my favour, she asked about court costs, and I said yes, too. So I might get awarded up to $500 if she rules in my favour.
It should be interesting to see what her ruling will say. Whichever direction she goes, if we don’t agree with it, we have up to 30 days to file an appeal.
I find myself wondering how it ever got to this point, but then I see how he still sees himself as a victim, taking no responsibility for the consequences of his own actions, and realize… it got here because for the first time in his life, someone actually stood up to him, and he can’t handle it. So he escalated it.
I think the judge could recognize that, though. We shall see.