A month later we attended Magistrates Court. At this stage Harry was still charged with 35 charges. Our barrister wasn't available so we had to meet someone else at the court. The last 8 months had been incredibly stressful and painful but as we got dressed to go to court, that pain intensified as the reality of what we were about to do hit home. I hadn't seen him in a suit and tie for a very long time and I remember thinking how handsome he looked. I wanted to tell him but as I looked into his eyes, he looked lost and scared, so I just told him I loved him and kissed him on his head as he put on his shoes.
We drove to court in complete silence, holding his hand tight for reassurance. We had no idea where we were going or what we had to do. As we pulled into the car park, we were early so I suggested going for a coffee but he just wanted to get there. As we went through security my heart was racing, I still have no idea why. We climbed the stairs and a clerk asked whether we were there for a court hearing. She ticked his name off a list and told us to take a seat.
We kept wondering whether anyone in a suit was our barrister and eventually I went to the clerk and asked whether she knew what our barrister looked like. She didn't. A man eventually went passed us with a trolley with the company logo on, so we assumed he must our barrister. I went over and it was. We had a short meeting with him where he asked what our plea was and briefly explained what would happen. I asked again about all the mistakes in the charges and again he said that they would get amended later.
Two hours later, after watching lots of other people going into court, his name was called and we went into this room, with magistrates at one end, clerks and our barrister. Harry was asked to confirm his name, address and date of birth. The charges were then read out. Still at this stage we didn't agree with the charges or with the fact that he was even in the court.
He was told to sit down whilst they did some paperwork. They then asked him to stand again, which he didn't hear. They got cross with him and repeated their request for him to stand. He still hadn't heard them. I wanted to go over and tell him to stand but I couldn't help him. They then asked our barrister to speak to his client. The poor bloke, he was so stressed with everything, he wasn't ignoring them, he just honestly didn't hear them. As I sat there, watching them read the charges and asking his plea, it broke my heart to watch this kind, hard working, caring man having to go through this.
Following a plea of not guilty, we were given a date for the Crown Court and told we could leave. As we walked out, the next person was making their way into the court room. It felt like a conveyor belt but we just wanted to shout his innocence and shake everyone about how ridiculous it was that he was even there.
How did it get this far......?