wings and things

Ming’s court case update

on January 26, 2014

I wasn’t going to say anything about this for awhile because it is so hard to talk about. Ming and I attended court the other day and his charges were read out, one by one. So, instead of the magistrate saying, “You are charged with five counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm”, she read the charge five times. I sat at the back of the court room thinking it sounded like he had had five separate accidents. Ming stood next to his lawyer who then asked for an adjournment. This was approved with the next court appearance late in February. I think that is when the barrister will assist Ming in his plea of guilty and help him get a lesser sentence than prison.

The fact that prison is a possibility has been pointed out to me by the lawyer, barrister, police and our Anglican priest (who also happens to be the prison chaplain for this area). He – the chaplain – is meeting with us next week to discuss prison implications for Ming and to demystify its terror. Of course this scares the hell out of me because I thought prison was a very remote possibility, but the chaplain has said that the law is quite unpredictable and he wants to prepare Ming and me for a scenario whereby Ming is whisked straight from the courtroom to prison.

It is so hard for me to accept that my son, who was only wanting to give the kids a thrill, with parental consent, drove off the property, lost control on gravel, and injured five children. This careful, cautious, non-reckless son did this and I still cannot believe it; it still seems surreal.

All five children have recovered physically now, and for this I am so grateful that I cannot put it into coherent words – just a hell of a lot of tears to say thank you for the fact that they are okay.

I haven’t been able to properly focus on Ming for many weeks, because I was ashamed of him, and distraught, and so worried about the kids. Now that I know they will be all right, I am re-focussing on Ming and am terrified of course.

Praying seems a rather good idea.

103 responses to “Ming’s court case update

  1. niasunset says:

    Oh dear Julie I pray too for a good decision of court. Love, nia

  2. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    Praying sounds like a good idea to me too (and I’m not all that religious). But I know Ming will accept the court’s decision with Grace and Dignity (even if he is crying in silent pain).

    I think that it’s the Waiting that is the hardest part for you and your family. One’s emotions tend to sea-saw from imagining the ‘worst possible sentence’ to the ‘Maybe the Judge will be lenient’ on this first offence.

    We can only pray and hope…..


  3. mimijk says:

    I share your fear Jules – having three sons who have made more than their share of flawed decisions in their lives. And in Ming’s case, he had had the approval of adults around him. For him to bear the total responsibility of this awful nightmare seems unfair to me. And your son is one to be proud of Jules – you’ve done an awesome parenting job with that wonderful kid. Horror over this situation? Yes? But ashamed of him? He’s assumed responsibility, guilt, heartache, etc from the outset. Nothing to be ashamed of there.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Thanks, Mimi, I only get the ashamed-of-him thing every now and then (and he doesn’t know). It’s more like he was an idiot! Thank you so much for your thoughts – I really appreciate it. He is away this weekend so I am alone and somewhat maudlin! Jx

  4. paulaacton says:

    Will be keeping everything crossed for you sadly it frequently seems that the law, justice and common sense are used in conjunction with one another so i guess it is best to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best x

  5. Anonymous says:

    Julie, I feel so awful for you and Ming.. It’s just so wrong… We will be praying very hard for you both… The waiting must be the worst, a nightmare where you just want to wake up… Love Lathams..

  6. Julie I am so sorry. I will pray for all of you. I cannot imagine what you are going through. I hope the court is allowing the others to give statements. It sounds like the “team” around you are trying to be helpful in preparing you for everything that could happen. I will keep praying.

  7. I will join you in your prayers–I so hope prison is not the chosen punishment–Ming has probably already punished himself a thousand times over–((((hugs)))) to both of you

  8. fgassette says:

    Will continue to keep your family in prayer. Hope this song helps


  9. ksbeth says:

    my fingers are crossed, and i am hopeful that the magistrate takes a humanistic approach to his sentencing. she most likely is a mother, daughter, sister too. you have all suffered enough, very hard lessons have been learned. i am with you all in hope and spirit. it will all be okay, once again.

  10. bulldog says:

    I’ve been praying for a good outcome to this case for some time now… and this is going to be the time Ming needs his Mother to be strong for him … God forbid he spends time in the prison, he can do without that sitting over his head… don’t you have community time there, where young chaps can spend time serving the community instead of prison time?? It just seems so wrong that an accident can end in prison time for Ming… Accidents happen, it’s not as though he planned it, a fine and suspended licence seems fair to me… and this would probably be the case here…

    • jmgoyder says:

      I hope you are right. The police have asked if he would be willing to come with them to schools to talk about this kind of accident and he is more than willing to do so, so that’s on record and will hopefully help his case. Thanks bulldog xx

  11. Ming is young and he made a mistake. How many of us can say we didn’t mess up at least once? Thankfully, the kids recovered, and of course you are happy about that. I’m praying for leniency.

    Jennifer x

  12. Before I retired from my law practice, I used to handle cases like this, for the defense of drivers like Ming. Was alcohol involved? If not, I suggest you ask your lawyer if support letters from friends, teachers, employers and the kids who were injured might make a difference. If so, then he should voluntarily begin AA or a similar program. I seem to recall that alcohol was not a factor, but there are still some things you might be able to do now to mitigate his sentence. Ask the lawyer. It would likely be a plea bargain, if your system is anything like ours in Connecticut, and the more support you could muster in the form of letters and testimonials to show what a fine person he really is, the better.

    • jmgoyder says:

      I’ve collected around 15 testimonials now, including from family involved, and the lawyer has these, and there was no alcohol involved, so we are hopeful. I didn’t realize you were a lawyer. Thanks so much for this advice.

  13. Oh Julie, my heart goes out to you. Your words convey every mother’s nightmare come true. The minister is right in that the law is unpredictable (both the process and the application of ‘laws’) and you won’t know the outcome till it comes. Please take care of yourself, specially during the time of waiting, whatever the outcome in February – the stress of waiting will take its pound of flesh. Ming will be okay, he is young! I don’t mean that none of it matters to Ming but that our young tend to look forward into the future (jumping over consequences). I don’t say any of this as a social worker or counsellor – but as a friend and a fellow Mum (who bought up six kids) xox

  14. I cannot begin to imagine how frightening this whole experience must be, for you and for Ming! I suspect the uncertainty of it all makes it that much more unbearable. somehow knowing what one is up against–even if it’s a formidable challenge–is often easier than the demons one can conjure up. Keeping a good thought for you all….

  15. janeslog says:

    Prison? I cannot believe that will happen. In the UK a driver can kill a pedestrian or cyclist and say they never saw the person and get off with it. One of the reasons I don’t cycle on roads now.

    Here’s one driver who killed a cyclist and only got 240 hours of unpaid work, a £60 surcharge and £85 court costs and banned from driving for two years.

    • jmgoyder says:

      We’ve been told that it is unlikely but possible – all down to whatever magistrate we get apparently. Just read your link – what a tragedy.

      • janeslog says:

        Yes it does depend on the magistrate. Pity Ming doesn’t have children to support as this seems to stop a custodial sentence.

        There are terrible stories nearly every week about people getting killed and the driver getting off with it.

  16. You can count on my prayers for you and your beautiful son Julie. Now go hug that boy right now!
    Diana xo

  17. mrs fringe says:

    I can only imagine how terrified you must both be right now. My heart aches. Sending peace, prayers, and strength.

  18. Jules, I so understand your fears ….. we are still awaiting that damning court date and have no idea what will happen other than that he has been told that he will not get off “scot free” – I still live in that fear/terror of my son ending up with prison time as well. How my heart goes out to you – and to Ming – you are in my thoughts often. Hang in there, mama bear!

    • jmgoyder says:

      We are holding hands across the kilometres. Do you have any idea of your court date? All I know is ours will be end of Feb. Best wishes to your son xxx

      • not yet -he was let go from his job end of November (a new job that just wasn’t working out on top of his stress of living 10 hours away from his familiarities and by himself), moved back to Brooklyn – it has taken most of 2 months to get his continuing health coverage paperwork – and so he is now (I pray – at least as of last week) looking at a psychologist recommended in-patient rehab program for mental illness/addiction issues. This is also critical for his defense. My biggest fear is that if the worst happens he will not have access to care for his bi-polar disorder.

        And being 2000+ miles away is killing me. Between anxiety and insomnia – and thinking about him every waking moment.

        Hugs to you – and even more between Ming and Ants.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Oh how I feel for you.

  19. tootlepedal says:

    The prosecutor’s decision seems to be rather over the top.

  20. While it’s good that you know the possibility of prison…. it’s not necessarily going to happen and we will certainly hope and pray it doesn’t. If you remember I spoke about my son and he was in fact prepared to definitely go to prison…. however he didn’t and we believe it was that he had character witnesses, our minister also spoke on his behalf, and he was truly contrite and remorseful and that was very evident. It didn’t hurt that much prayer was done on his behalf. I think you mentioned that there are some that will speak to his character… so that is good. And when he was questioned by the police Ming accepted responsibility…that has to go to his credit as well as my son did also. … So we will hang in there with you and I will be praying…. Diane

    • jmgoyder says:

      Yes I do remember about your son and that’s one of the reasons I have obtained so many character witnesses – thank you so much Diane for your understanding.

  21. Helen says:

    I’m sorry you and Ming are going throughout this. I find it shocking that prison is a possibility. Surely they will look at the cercumstanses and mings character and see he is one of the good ones. I will also say a prey. xx
    I’m home this afternoon if you would like a cuppa.

    • jmgoyder says:

      I would love a cuppa but today I am off to Rockingham to meet friends for lunch – later in week? Re Ming, I hope you’re right, but I have had to prepare myself for the possibility. xx

  22. I am sure that when all the emotions settle, everyone will see that the judge will do the right thing and not pronounce jail as punishment, but something much more productive and character building such as community service. I will be keeping you and Ming in my heart and thoughts and I wish that I could wave a magic wand and make the monetary worries go away because worries of punishment are bad enough and to add monetary concerns on top of all this is just too much. Big Hugs Jules

  23. This is obviously such a difficult situation. I feel for you deeply and send you thoughts of strength. I send thoughts of leniency on the part of the court.

  24. Thinking of you Julie. Here is hoping that the judge will see reason and truth.
    (I am glad that the others are now all OK).

  25. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Julie, I don’t understand how jail can be considered in this. I’m not saying it because Ming is near Daniel’s age or because I relate in any way, but truly: no-one DIED, and all the parents consented. I just don’t believe that’s going to happen.

    I don’t want you to have false hope and then be shocked, but I really can’t see that as being a justifiable result.

    Good luck, Julie. Please, please keep us posted.

  26. Oh my goodness Jules I didn’t think prison would be an option reading that it is upset me, if I had just heard about this on the news I might have thought differently but I like many feel like I know Ming kind of if that makes any sense and I know he is not a dangerous man and only made a mistake yes people got hurt but that wasn’t his intent.

    • jmgoyder says:

      I think that so many were injured and that he broke the law by having them on the back of the ute is the issue but hopefully the barrister will convince the magistrate that there was no intent and, as there was no alcohol involved, Ming should be safe from prison but you never know. Thanks Joanne xx

  27. elizabeth says:

    Julie, please let us know, especially before the day of the Feb court date, so we can be in prayer for Ming’s protection as the court is in session.

    And I was wondering if the children and their parents will be allowed to give testimony on MIng’s behalf? I think that would be so helpful.

    Keeping you both in prayer; ((hugs))

    • jmgoyder says:

      Thanks Elizabeth and I will blog the court date + details when the time comes. Parents have already provided testimonials so hopefully that will help. xxx

  28. Terry says:

    Because our God is a loving and good God, he surely knows that Ming is a good son. A loving son and a son who doesn’t behave badly. I will and have prayed for Ming. I will continue to pray.

  29. lensgirl53 says:

    praying for Ming and you and hoping that the court will go easy on him….he is not a career criminal….my goodness! There are really bad people out there they could be rounding up instead of a young man who did not intentionally harm anyone…it was an accident and should be treated as such…in my humble opinion…..xoxo

    • jmgoyder says:

      It’s one of those fingers-crossed situations where anything is possible so I am expecting the worst but hoping for the best. Thank you so much for your concern xxx

  30. The waiting is so cruel. Thinking of you both and yes, praying x

  31. viveka says:

    Julie, I’m not a person with faith .. as such – but I still have a strong believe in that after all Ming will come out “good” from this. He will get some kind of “punishment” … but I don’t think it will prison. I can’t even image what Ming and you are going through just now and then it’s dragging on too. .

  32. Thinking of you and your dear son, Julie. Yes, the waiting must be so stressful for both of you. Praying for the best outcome. Sending hugs and love. 🙂

  33. Denise says:

    Add my prayers to the mix. I’m just astounded that prison time could be a possibility; I mean, the awful things people do and get away with…although I don’t believe, really, that anyone gets away with anything; karma, and all. But Ming didn’t set out to hurt anyone, this wasn’t deliberate. The fact that the kids were hurt is “punishment” enough, if you will. The law can be so f—-d up.

    Sending you love and blessings and wishing you strength in the weeks ahead.

  34. FlaHam says:

    Julie, I know these are trying times, and not knowing how the justice system works there, but if you change the names a bit, it sounds like just like here in the US. I hope all goes well, this is his 1st offense, and he has great references, and he is a good kid, hopefully all of this will be taken into consideration. Take care, Love Bill

  35. Trisha says:

    The waiting must be absolute hell. I join your moral support team in wishing and praying for the best outcome for Ming. Jail seems completely pointless in this case. I hope the magistrate feels the same way.

  36. Lynda says:

    This has been one of my favorite lines these days:

    “…The waiting is the hardest part
    Every day you see one more card
    You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
    The waiting is the hardest part…”

    ~Tom Petty~

    And yes, praying is always a good idea, Julie. xo

  37. Rhonda says:

    I would venture to substitute the word ashamed with perhaps embarrassed? you (and Ming) have nothing to be ashamed of Jules. These things happen, and for some Ungodly reason, they seem to happen when there are a whole hell of a lot of other things happening at the same time. Ming is a treasure, you know this to be true. The children will all be fine, and I know that eases the burden on your heart. You have prayers going into the heavens from around the world because those that know YOU know Ming is worth every single one of them. Take heart my beautiful friend…what ever happens, and yes, the worst case could…but whatever happens, you are not alone. You are only a plane fare away for those that love you, and if you need it, it’ll happen….xoxo with prayers added for you both.

  38. Lynda says:

    Reading all the lovely thoughts your friends send to you brings tears to my eyes, Julie. You are surrounded by so many people who love you and wish only the very best for you and yours. What a gift!

    • jmgoyder says:

      Hi Lynda, I continue to be amazed by how the blogging world works and how real people connect with real people (like you and me) across the miles and via the internet; it is extraordinary! I have friends and family close-by, geographically, for which I am so grateful, but the blogging friend support has been beyond amazing. I didn’t think my posts were asking for support, but I got it anyway; I caught all of those good wishes and prayers in moments of desperation or glee and I still do. Juliexxx

  39. I don’t pray, but I do a lot of positive thinking, and I’m thinking a lot of positive thoughts for you and Ming right now.

  40. law in the states allows for responsibility to be shared. that seems reasonable to me. praying also seems reasonable. sending warm hugs and love to you

  41. tersiaburger says:

    Dear Julie, surely this cannot be??? Parental consent…an accident is an accident!! You are in my thoughts and my heart!

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