Family Court

Yesterday 16th october in Open Court, just having celebrated her 40th birthday, a mother was jailed for one month

Her crime was not a crime and Counsel for the mother in mitigation pointed out that nothing she had done was criminal [except HHJ Plumstead pointed out that harassment that badly worded law where almost anything becomes a crime if the complainant perceives they were distressed or alarmed is now a crime].

The hearing was set up from a failure of the Police to file within time limit a criminal complaint. The Judge had given the father permission to take out a private action by way of serving a show cause within 14 days. The father did not file by 15th September but purposefully waited until 1st October to file and the mother was served on 2nd October 2007.

He laid some eleven allegations. Allegations 1-7 were struck out as there was no proof the mother had been aware of the contents of the injunction until February 2007.

The mother consulted her Solicitor on 10th October and I attended the meeting. She complained of lack of time to prepare as the hearing was set for the 16th October 2007. She wanted a number of witnesses to attend and also to get witness statements from various person who the father had reported hearsay from yet not provided any evidence.

The sole evidence before the Court was a best evidence video recording of a child F. The child is no longer permitted to be cross examined!!! The recording took place 7 days after an allegation had been made and the father admitted he had numerous conversations with the child and also that the child knew that the father was watching him being videoed from a two way mirror. Accounts varied from what the child had originally told the father and the video evidence.

The father’s affidavit.

Four text messages on the father’s mobile phone.

A photocopy of a proof of recorded delivery letter.

A letter allegedly sent by the father’s previous solicitors to the mother that she had never received.

The Judge refused to strike the matter out as the show cause was served late.

The judge refused to adjourn for the mother to get witness statements and to properly consider the matter.

The mother refused to take part in an unfair hearing and refused to give evidence.

Based on the small amount of evidence and after refusing to adjourn in order to give a fair hearing – the Judge sentenced the mother to –

One week imprisonment for each text message sent which is draconian in the extreme.

28 days for upon seeing her child she allegedly shouted out ‘F I love you’ and allegedly chased him into some woods. It must be noted that the allegation of being chased only came out 7days after the event. One wonders how child evidence can be used if it cannot be cross examined and a parent is knowingly present outside and watching the interview.

One day for sending copy of the permission to appeal application to the father direct and not to his solicitors. Although he had changed solicitors and the new solicitors were not known.

The mother’s words on leaving with the Police were ‘You’ve got blood on your hands’

The grandmother was expelled from Court because she told the father that he did not need a barrister as he had the Judge on his side. The judge took offence. Yet the manner in which the hearing took place and the refusal of an adjournment and draconian penalties make me believe that Justice, mercy and Right have gone missing.

Yes you have no rights when Family Court Judges blindly ignore relevant matters and do not put sufficient weight upon your article 6 rights which in these proceedings you have the full rights under article 6. It has just come to notice that the lawyers have now refused to Appeal as they had promised as she will be out in two weeks.

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