During Lever's first court appearance on October 28, 2019, it turned out that a key part of the INACIF report into his abusive behaviour — the final page with the conclusion — had mysteriously gone astray at the Juzgado.
And prior to subsequent hearings in both 2020 and 2021 the entire document duly dematerialised and had to be recompiled and re-presented from the copy that our lawyers have.
There are undoubtedly only two possible explanations for this — incompetence or corruption — and it seems that the only way to put a definitive end to these shenanigans is to make formal complaints on both counts to the competent (one hopes) authorities in the capital.
The main text of the INACIF report featured the English word gaslighting. We downloaded the classic 1944 movie with Bergman and Boyer after we first received it.
Gaslighting has become a more fashionable term of late and perhaps covers a greater range of vengeful and manipulative behaviours than it used to.
At base it's a truly heady mix of unpleasant tactics which involve a dishonest attempt to align others against a victim or victims, whilst at the same time psychologically abusing them to the extent that they could end up questioning their own grasp of events.
The INACIF investigator detected this in Lever's reported actions late in 2019, but in truth he had barely started back then.
One of the key practices of the gaslighter is projection — accusing the victim of precisely the sort of behaviours that they themselves are engaged in. And over time they will often come to delusionally believe that it is they who are really being persecuted.
This mentality also goes by the name of ego-syntonic and, as anyone that has been on the wrong end of this kind of manipulation can usually attest to, it is particularly hard to defend oneself against.
If you are acquainted with an individual blessed with it, you will also know that whenever they launch into a tirade of criticisms of others, they are in effect providing a verbal portrait of themselves.
We have witnessed both the Levers projecting onto both of us. Some telling examples...
1) They have consistently accused us of being problematic neighbours in an un-self-consciously self-righteous manner. All we have really ever done is try to protect ourselves against their encroachments and the resulting damage to our property.
And yet, although it is true that I have made enquiries at the Muni about the way Lever has installed his own stuff on my walls, inside and outside — painted them even — I have never lodged a formal complaint there.
Mrs Lever on the other hand, has repeatedly been to visit the Ayuntamiento, in order to file complaints about our own supposed violations, which in each case have absolutely nothing to do with her, and these depositions have been frivolous in the extreme.
They have also been made after she signed an acuerdo de paz in front of a judge promising to maintain the peace between our households.
Sometimes it feels like she spends her days and nights dreaming up new ways to harass us. On one occasion in 2019 she returned home in an Uber and on spotting us outside in the little park in front with our dogs, quickly persuaded the driver to turn his headlights on us full blast.
I have umpteen video clips of her driving around and around that little polygon with her mobile phone extended out of the car window, apparently attempting to record activity on our front terrace for reasons best known to herself. She has even put up some of her friends to walk up and down in front of our house and do the same.
On numerous occasions she has kerb-crawled me around the village, passing slowly and deliberately close alongside any pavement she finds me walking along, usually with one of my dogs. In the main she has at the time been at the wheel of her white Mazda SUV, but was once in another vehicle accompanied by a female friend. In each case the crude intention to intimidate, and perhaps to ridicule, was signalled. (Several of these mobile aggressions have been captured by security cams, not just our own, but those of friends and neighbours.)
And then this, the most recent piece of acoso on January 20, served up by Lever himself, aiming his cellphone camera up at our terrace and grinning up at my wife like the fool that he is.
Problematic neighbours? This is all textbook stuff.
2) The Levers themselves almost never conform to the basic norms that property owners in this country are obliged to abide by. When, last month, I asked the planning department at the Muni for details of any construction licence associated with Jason Lever's name on file, the only one they could find was for an obra menor in 2016 (a bodega, I believe) and this was registered to our address.
When Lever fabricated a kind of piscina in his garden back in 2016/17, the then alcalde auxiliar was soon banging on our door complaining that we had constructed a swimming pool illegally, and we had to let him inside to examine our garden so that he might be reassured that it had most definitely not been us.
We were thus presented with yet another example of how Lever consistently tries to camouflage his own infringements beneath the legal footprint of our own property rights.
3) In the key video evidence of Lever's misogynistic molestation around the side of our house on July 26, 2019 he is seen initiating this intrusion by accusing my wife of being an inveterate trouble maker. To quote: "Excellent, just causing trouble, can't help yourself, you need to get laid more..."
Yet for connoisseurs of maximum irony it can be noted that she was at that precise moment attempting to be helpful to a third party, and certainly the very last thing she was doing was actively seeking an uninvited interruption from this sort of man.
Yet, as the full video would reveal, Jason Lever himself was right then engaged in attempting to make serious trouble for us (the bottle of Coca Cola in his left hand providing the clue here) so, in effect, he was the one who couldn't help himself.
4) I once overheard Lever telling a friend that I he considers me a voyeur. Aside from being an out and out calumnia this is especially rich coming from a man whose sick verbal 'director's commentary' has been captured repeatedly inside our home. (More on all that in a future episode.)
As I was to observe rather curtly recently at the MP: if listening to us urinate in there causes them so much 'asco', why then do they feel the need to do it?
5) The Levers recruit friends and associates as surrogate projectors. There are many examples of this to draw from, some utterly shameless, but perhaps the one that stands out by a mile was served up by their lawyer during the first hearing at the juzgado on October 28, 2019.
In an instant when the courtroom microphones were seemingly not switched on (and yet still recorded for posterity) she informed the judge that we had previously made a pernicious and dishonest denuncia against her clients, the poor, set-upon Levers.
This was of course the absolute opposite of the truth. I know we now largely have to cope with a post-factual world, but...really?
6) The very same abogada — Claudia Paniagua — would later make the absurd assertion last October that Carmen Solares de Lever could not help herself but lie to the police as a result of us repeatedly playing — for 20 hours non-stop no less — a widely popular reggaeton track that apparently messes with her insecurities.
The merest suggestion that this might be true is itself a form of character assassination, and yet again the Levers' hypocrisy is near stupefying.
Around dusk on March 5, 2018 I was pruning the bougainvillea that clings to the first floor balcony of our original house in the village. My wife was standing below in the middle of the street, maybe 30m closer to the parque, conversing with an old schoolmate, now an established dentist in Antigua.
I spotted Lever on his moto approaching from the south, initially quite fast, but upon noticing her, roughly as he drew level with the Italika taller, he slowed down and began a bizarre pageant.
Passing deliberately and dangerously close to the pair of friends, waving his arms around like a fervent evangelical, he began singing I Believe In Love by Don Williams in a manner the dentist himself described as 'desquiciado'.
During the course of the week to ten days after this incident, a period during which (on March 7) he exposed himself when he spotted my wife pruning the plants on our wall, bellowing "Is this what you want? Is this what you want?" — in fact, it very much wasn't — he had the same Don Williams ditty on endless repeat, at full volume, night and day. I have kept the audio files in case I ever needed to demonstrate this.
Almost every time the second stanza came along Lever would deliver a loud karaoke performance of his own...
But I believe in love
I believe in babies
I believe in mom and dad
And I believe in you...
After the initial incident with the dentist back on the fifth, he had returned some time later the same evening and this time pulled up right alongside my wife, by then at the edge of a group which included me, my sister and brother-in-law, plus an American citizen who rents from the latter, and duly recited some sort of demented poem about how our childlessness had to be the universe's revenge on us.
So, one can safely assume that Lever had by then concluded that the surest way to be an utter nuisance was to imply — really rather viciously — that my wife was somehow less of a woman by virtue of not being a mother.
He has no reason to know why we chose not to have children. More importantly, he had no reason at the time to even know at all that we do not have kids. The matter had never been raised and we are adults in our fifties. So in order to be in a position to demean us so publicly he has to have had a prior and very morbid interest in our personal affairs.
The INACIF report concluded that he was guilty of emotional violence and everything that has happened since — the evasiveness, the crookedness, the cooked-up allegations, the projection, the pattern of lewd and aggressive intimidation — has simply compounded the offence.
And no matter how hard he tries to downplay or downgrade that delito, he needs to answer for it in a court. He knows this and this is why he has been generating procedural delays in a thoroughly cowardly manner unbecoming of an 'innocent man'.