Sherlock’s Back

We knew he’d be back didn’t we. We knew that somehow he would bounce rather than splat, and we knew he’d be just as unblinkingly confident of his own rightness.

Gratuitous Cumberbatch photo, courtesy of Wikipedia

Gratuitous Cumberbatch photo, courtesy of Wikipedia – don’t let it distract you from the facts

Also this week, Mr Booker is back with more tales of injustice, more drama and intrigue. I, Cumberbatch-like, shall remain emotionally detached and analytical. I shall use my powers of deduction and leave you ignoramuses (ignoramusi?) to work it out… I have had to meditate in my mind palace for some time before achieving this state of external calm. I have the last of the Xmas 2013 sloe gin in my mind palace*.

But first, I do want to note something rather different from the Telegraph, because here at Pink Tape we love a bit of balance and to give credit where it is due – and before I had to retire to my gin palace I had resolved to flag it up as an example of some good journalism from a newspaper I have sometimes been critical of. The Telegraph ran today a rather excellent explanatory article about the criminal bar “strike” tomorrow : Criminal Barristers Deserve Justice Too. A rather sobering piece for the start of 2014, but it is recommended reading for those wondering what on earth the bar are complaining about (and those, like my brother, who wondered over Sunday lunch how barristers can strike at all – answer, they can’t really so they will have a mass day of non-attendance, for which they will very probably be subject to professional conduct disciplinary proceedings).

So, back to the latest from Mr Booker : The Lunatics Take Over The Asylum In ‘Caring’ Britain. I am not going to make any positive assertions about this case – because this is not a case where there are extant proceedings or any other publicly available information to rely upon – the only information we have is that which is set out in the article. But I think it is worth taking a careful look at what we do have and seeing how far that takes us. Read the original article first, and then read it with this observations in this post in mind – consider this as context rather than commentary. It is too early in the new year for ranting…

  • Booker’s article refers to the italian c-section case as the one where the mother was “forced to undergo a caesarean section so that her baby could be sent by social workers for adoption“, from which it can be inferred that he does not take on board criticism of the early reporting of that story.
  • This mother’s children appear to have been removed about 4 years ago and she is still having contact with at least one of them. We are not told, but they are probably in a foster placement or with extended family (inferred from age and fact of ongoing contact).
  • The children appear to have been removed four years ago but we do not know the reason for that, although the article implies that her mental health or fabricated autism may have been part of the picture. There may have been other reasons.
  • We do not know if there was an appeal. If there was we can infer it was not successful since the children remain away from the mother.
  • That the mother appeared “sane” (to use Booker’s terminology) a week ago, and that at other times she has been considered to be well by various professionals does not tell us how ill she may have been around the time of removal nor what the prognosis or risk of relapse might have been. That is to say it does not, in itself, tell us that the removal of the children was not necessary and proportionate. Nor does it tell us that it was.
  • Booker’s source for the assertions about the current and past sanity / mental well health of the subject of the article appear to be based entirely upon her account / assertions and his unqualified observations of her. Her accounts appear to be significantly at odds with the views of others.
  • Similarly, his source for the history of the removal of the children and of the mothers’ treatment by mental health services appears to be the mother herself. Her accounts appear to be significantly at odds with the views of others.
  • The fact that the Mother has a law degree and has held down responsible jobs tells us little. People with mental health difficulties are often intelligent and are often able to continue working and functioning perfectly well during or between episodes.
  • We do not know what sort of mental illness the mother suffered / suffers from as it is repeatedly described as “insane”. This generic and rather pejorative terminology is not as far as I am aware a term in current use amongst mental health professionals, and diagnoses of psychological or psychiatric problems are considerably more complex and nuanced than this. There are references to psychotic, cannabis addiction and to Factitious Induced Illness / Munchausen’s By Proxy but the picture is pretty unclear.
  • If the mother is or has been as profoundly unwell as medics appear to have described her to be (particularly if she is psychotic or delusional) her account may be plausible and apparently credible without being reliable, complete, objective or accurate. Even if she has not been as unwell as medics appear to have thought her to be her account may not be reliable, complete objective or accurate. That is not to say that her account is not largely or completely accurate, but taken in isolation it has potential to lead us astray.
  • There appears to be a dispute about whether or not one child suffers from autism or not (with mother saying he does, professionals saying not). It is not unheard of for parents who are struggling to attempt to explain behaviour through attributing it to a condition, rather than environmental factors like poor or inconsistent parenting or a chaotic or neglectful household. It is not unheard of for parents to seek (unconsciously or not) to have their own emotional needs met indirectly through presenting their child as having particular needs above and beyond those they actually have. This can stifle their ability to become independent and can give them a warped sense of things. That said, Munchausens by proxy or Factitious Induced Illnesses are controversial diagnoses. I do not know whether any of these scenarios applies in this case, but one can infer some professionals may have thought so in the history of this case. We do not know if they were right or wrong.
  • The fact that the child was diagnosed in 2003 with a condition does not necessarily mean that the child suffered from the diagnosed condition. Diagnoses can be wrong and can be revised. They are based upon the information available to the diagnosing professional at the time, and the state of medical knowledge at the time. In the case of children, professionals are heavily reliant upon parental descriptions of the child’s behaviour and difficulties.
  • Cases of FII are notoriously difficult to identify and to prove. They are the kinds of cases it is easy to get wrong (in either direction).
  • One cannot obtain information about individuals through a Freedom of information Act request. It is therefore unsurprising (and not at all mysterious) if those repeated requests were turned down. A subject access request under the Data Protection Act could have been made. Perhaps the applications were DPA requests that have been misdescribed by Booker. Perhaps in appropriate applications have repeatedly been made and properly rejected.
  • The events of December last year (detention when stopping for a cigarette) cannot be the entire story. There MUST be further information we are not privy to. I don’t know what it is. Two options are that there was further evidence suggesting that the Mother had become unwell again, or that there was not and there was some conspiracy to detain her in the absence of such evidence, for reasons unknown. There may be other scenarios I have not thought of.
  • The Mother’s home was apparently burgled – and only materials relating to the children and the case were taken. Again, it appears that either it was burgled by persons unknown whilst she was detained (the implication being there is some connection to the case and presumably either a professional conspiracy or the involvement of some other person involved) or that the psychiatric team were correct and the mother was responsible, knowingly or not (presumably prior to her detention) – or was simply saying that the items were missing, perhaps as a feature of her illness. We have no way of knowing which is right. There may be other scenarios I have not thought of.
  • The Mother is said to be a cannabis user, and that is said to be related to one of several chronic health problems. It seems possible from the information that we have that professionals may be skeptical about whether or not the mother’s physical symptoms are connected to her mental health or psychological issues. That may be a legitimate inference to draw, it may not.
  • If the mother was in fact psychotic when detained it may well have been necessary / justified to sedate or medicate her forcibly in order to stabilise her condition either to assess or to treat her.
  • Patients detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act are entitled to legal advice and representation and to have their case reviewed at a Mental Health Tribunal. Parents who are detained under the Mental Health Act are entitled to legal advice and representation within any care proceedings concerning their children and will be able either to instruct their solicitor directly or, if they lack capacity to do so (not always the case just because they are sectioned), will have their interests represented by the Official Solicitor. Their children will be separately represented in any event.
  • The mother has only very recently been authorised for indefinite detention, and the legal process concerning that has begun to kick into action – she has been given paperwork to enable her to exercise her right to legal representation / a tribunal.

And in the wise wise words of Forrest Gump (I have been topping up on feelgood films): “That’s all ah gotta say about that.” Over to you, Watson.

Post script :

Of course, it just may be that for those of us without Sherlock-like powers of observation and deduction, it is impossible to draw any solid conclusions at all from this news story with its striking headline and dogmatic language, still less safe to draw from it sweeping conclusions about systemic dysfunction. (Sorry. Couldn’t help myself…)

* I bought my mind palace with my fat cat legal aid income btw

114 thoughts on “Sherlock’s Back

  1. Nice reply. As a social care professional I have been troubled by this article today, and very aware of the author’s recent other high profile care stories.
    One particular element which I find incredible is the account of being ‘bundled’ into an ambulance (by paramedics it implies) simply following a stop for a fag.
    As a mental health professional, we normally have to book ambulances for formal Mental Health Act assessments and wait a considerable length of time for them to arrive, post-assessment and detention.
    The idea of an ambulance turning up (and presumably following said victim) and taking the opportunity of detaining her, with no legal authority (only the police can detain for the purpose of a psychiatric assessment in a public place) seems to be beyond any comprehension. Frequently ambulance staff refuse to get involved with restraint and conveyance of detained patients even when there is clear legal authority, so to imagine a couple of rough paramedics doing this to a person who has just pulled over to have a puff seems unlikely in the extreme.
    As you mention, the report that ‘she was allowed home…to find the house had been ransacked’, clearly assumes that it had happened during her detention. If this was her first visit home since detention then a feasible explanation would be it had happened prior to the admission, and/or that she had done it herself. We do not know whether there was evidence of a break-in. As you state, there is a subtle undertone of conspiracy in the writing, almost as if the professionals had gone there during her detention to remove documentation. I have seen very many homes of people with acute mental illness which have been trashed (by themselves) immediately prior to their admission. Who knows how it happened?

  2. Way too much solid info is missing to even begin to verify anything in the account. However what I have seen in other cases of mental illness is that people that are deemed mentally incapacitated are rarely tested by the court to determine if they are truly incapacitated. Also it seems weird to claim mentally incapacitated while being terrified to tell them the court’s decisions for fear that they would understand what was told to them. Lastly while people may be entitled to legal rep that doesn’t mean that the court will afford them the courtesy of such.

    • Well, as a matter of law they are deemed to have capacity – and only if evidence is provided to satisfy the court on the balance of probabilities that they lack it will the court treat them as lacking capacity.

  3. I used to be quite a fan of Booker – largely as a result of reading his books. Unfortunately the more we have of his journalism the more, it seems, we cannot trust his judgement. In that context his present article seems to be pretty pointless – it could lie anywhere between truth and complete fabrication. He can certainly no longer be relied on and as a consequence he undermines the very case he is trying to make out.

  4. The story about the forced C-section on an Italian woman, after the two court judgments were publicly released (and I read them), appeared to me no less disgusting than it did from Booker’s article alone. To mention just a couple of points: is a one percent chance of uterine rupture (or whatever, for that matter) indeed a valid reason for FORCING a C-section on a pregnant woman? Why the baby’s father was dismissed as a potential carer (is an unclear immigration status, referenced in the judgment, a sufficient reason for denying a person the joys of parenthood and the baby — the benefit of being raised by a birth parent)? Etc…

    A couple of other cases about which I read in Booker’s articles appeared to me equally lurid when I learned about additional details from other sources.

    So I tend to think this story can be yet another abomination.

    • Actually that case has been discussed to death. Unfortunately people took Booker seriously. It was not abominating. Booker’s article was. It also made me think that nowadays a journo can print whatever, without actually having any evidence of the actual facts.

      @familoo: This reminds me of Sherlock, last episode. What Magnussen says? “I don’t have to prove it, I just have to print it”.

      • Familoo,

        I see there has been an outbreak of Booker Bashing on the legal blogs.

        Its cause appears to be he raises some uncomfortable truths.

        However it is unfortunate your blog has discussed this particular case in this form.

        [edited – see comment]

        I assure you of the accuracy of the above and the Dread Christopher Booker’s article.

        • I’ve edited out the lengthy and highly intimate account that you give about the circumstances of this case, which I have no way of verifying. Nor do I have any way of knowing whether the person whose private life is being described in this way does or would consent to that information being placed in the public domain. Please don’t try to publish it again, it is not in my view appropriate to publish it on this blog.

  5. If a person is seized , detained ,and forcibly injected it is natural that such a person would protest and Booker has reported her first hand evidence,as indeed he did the previous week for the Italian lady whose baby was taken for adoption after being extracted from her by forced Casarean.In both cases Booker reported first hand evidence from the victims and in both instances was answered with sneering hearsay, speculation and guesswork by certain legal bloggers who have spoken to nobody at all concerned with the case.As yet noone involved has contradicted a single sentence of the two articles;merely speculated on possible alternatives;
    Did any of you critics see an old but brilliant film called “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest”?

    • Forcedadoption, It is indeed natural that such a person would protest and it is indeed the fact that Booker has reported her first hand evidence, as he often does. However, in terms of us trying objectively to understand what has actually happened it may not be the whole story. I have been very careful not to say that the account given is untrue, merely to flag up that in itself it is not determinative and it might not be accurate. No sneering at the people caught up in these sad cases here. Just an attempt to analyse whether we can or should swallow the article as reported hook line and sinker. I have not asserted the truth of any of these cases except where it is apparent from evidence and I have not claimed to have spoken to the individuals concerned nor to have some greater access to truth than anyone else. I am simply analysing publicly available information, rather than accepting it without thought. You are correct that I have not contradicted the articles (except where the law is wrongly expressed), there is insufficient evidence to do so, in the same way that there is insufficient evidence to rely upon them. I do not base my opinions upon films.

  6. Familoo,I was not referring to you when I referred to legal bloggers who claimed that the victim’s stories were untrue ,You did not do that though plenty did ! If a victim of any kind tells a story and is not contradicted by a witness or person directly involved then the story should be believed or at least not derided.All that the lady still detained in the mental hospital can do is cry out for help to tell her story and journalists can only publish information given that is not obviously false until someone comes up with a first hand different version which should then be published to give balance .In this case nobody has alleged that she has ever threatened or harmed anyone including herself.So why detain her forcibly?
    All that anyone who believes themselves to be unjustly detained can do is to scream to the media for help and in this case she hopes she will be allowed to represent herself as a means of proving her capacity to the tribunal if and when it sits.

    • Oh really Forcedadoption. Were you not?
      You seem to suggest that the press are compelled to publish all information that is not obviously false. As if they have no editorial discretion or responsibility to consider whether a story can be better researched before publication.

  7. Booker does painstaking research on all his articles including those concerning the ladies detained in mental hospitals.I really cannot understand the unfounded and non specific criticism of him !

    • For all I know he does do painstaking research, but as far as I can tell from his article it is drawn entirely from the account of one person. That is all I am saying.

  8. Well who else would have agreed to talk to him?

  9. The facts are simple.A lady has been incarcerated despite the fact that she has never been accused of harming herself or threatening or harming anyone else ;she has broken no laws ,but detained she is; mainly on the word of some crackpot psychobabble charlatan……………….
    Poor England……………..

    • But if nobody else has agreed to talk to Booker other than the Mother how can you possibly know that any of those allegations / assertions are true?

  10. If she had been guilty of criminal behaviour the police would have charged her…….

  11. To reply to the various posts which are supporting Brooker, and suggesting that the criticisms have not foundation, I can list a number of reported ‘facts’ which are so incredible as to be beyond belief, even without knowing the details of the case.
    To have an ambulance ambush a person in this way when they are out shopping in their car and stopping for a cigarette is beyond any possibilities. They would have to have been following ‘Wendy’ and waiting for the opportunity to grab her and ‘bundle’ her into the vehicle. If indeed this did happen, she would immediately have a cast-iron claim for false imprisonment and illegal detention, as ambulance staff do not have that power in law. There would be quite a few thousand pounds coming to her and two paramedics out of a job.
    As the blog states, you cannot request to see your notes through the Freedom of Information Act, it would be a different piece of legislation. Perhaps she did use the Data Protection Act instead, but this would be just more extremely sloppy reporting if that was the case.
    We are told that despite no further assessments, Wendy was told that she was ‘certified’ on section 3 ‘indefinitely’. A further full assessment involving two doctors and a social care professional (AMHP) is required before a person can be moved from section 2 (max 28 days) to section 3 (max 6 months – not indefinite).
    Again, if indeed she had been placed on section 3 without an assessment, that’s quite a few thousand more in her pocket once she finishes with the local authority and the trust, and a few more mental health professionals dismissed.
    All these ‘facts’ can be challenged without any detailed knowledge of the case, as the legal processes as described by Brooker come out of a fairy tale.

  12. STEVE, All you state above is guesswork since you have never claimed to have talked to anyone involved in the case.! She will hopefully sue all those who broke the regulations you describe if she ever gets out,as her captives now have even more incentive to keep her there ! Booker can only report accurately what the lady told him and that he has done.Maybe Steve you could call at the hospital and get the “official version” if there is one ! Meantime it ill behoves you to pour scorn on a woman crying for help ,detained against her will and forcibly inected with chemicals;Are you saying Booker should have ignored the lady?Any good journalist is duty bound to record such an appeal and hope that others will give their versions eventually if there are discrepancies .

    • WHY are journalists duty bound to report it? WHY are they duty bound to report it without at least an attempt to obtain independent verification or corroboration? Aren’t they duty bound to assess whether the material they are putting out there for public consumption for reading by the public who wont be equipped to spot inaccuracies – whether that materi is likely to be reliable and accurate?

      • Somewhat like going on anecdotal evidence claiming a conspiracy by the MoJ to harm lawyers and the public? Maybe if you tried to get solid verifiable evidence of lawyers subsisting on supposedly sub-par wages instead of claiming a great injustice while giving voice to lawyers throwing a temper tantrum like small children wailing and gnashing their teeth.

        You still haven’t proposed what ares the government should cut to fund legal aid to allow any criminal defendant to hire an entire law firm.

        • The Law Society and Bar Council / CBA all proposed a range of alternative efficiencies / changes that would have saved all the money that needed to be saved. You can find the details of their proposals on their websites or in their consultation responses, should you wish to read them. The amount of money that needs to be saved is in fact comparatively small in comparison to some other government spending. It is a question of priorities.

          As already observed, the governments own statistics are evidence that a significant proportion of criminal barristers are on the sorts of incomes that we have been talking about. The precise number doesn’t much matter if in broad terms the system as a whole is unsustainable.

          • You are assuming that the lawyers are only taking in legal aid as their sole income. You are saying if they too incompetent to be hired privately they should be subsidized by the state. Have the secret courts taught you nothing, you can streamline the entire process while saving money by getting rid of any legal rep and or juries. Let the judge, LA, and expert testimonies hash things out, if that method is considered just for the most vulnerable of society so too it is just for the rest of them.

          • No. That is not my assumption.
            Are you proposing criminal trials without lawyers? The discussion we are having about legal aid is about criminal cases not family cases.

    • Familoo beat me to the reply.
      I was simply going to say that in my opinion, journalists have a responsibility to report accurately and to check their details.
      My posting above lists a number of ‘facts’ which are just plainly wrong.
      Brooker may have obtained the information from the person themselves, but not to check with an independent person whether all the details are credible seems to be irresponsible in the extreme.
      I totally agree that people who are or may be the victims of abuse of local or national state power should have their voices heard.
      However, when it is done in this manner, I believe it is not doing ‘Wendy’ any real favours at all.

  13. Wendy wants to get out ,says she should never have been detained,and wants the world to know !Booker and others ARE therefore doing her a favour Steve;Both you and familoo know that mental hospitals never comment on their patients to outside enquirers. Any enquiries from a journalist to mental hospitals , social services,or local authorities about injustices result in trhreats of contempt or gagging injunctions
    Nobody with first hand knowledge has denied the ambulance swoop,the forced injections,or that she was told she was now on section 3 .
    Like many legal critics I feel you would like to stifle all protests from victims of both the family courts and from mental hospitals.Your philosophy seems to indicate the following:-“Never print the account of a dispute unless you have heard both sides but if one side refuses to speak then print nothing !”War correspondents might not agree…………………

  14. I also must commen that it is simply astonishing how “lawyers” whether judges,barristers,or solicitors so often prefer hearsay to live first hand evidence !This case is typical,as legal types prefer gossip,speculation,and theorising to the only first hand evidence available!
    “What she says can’t be true ” otherwise the law would have been broken ! Well fancy that,who could imagine such a thing???!!!!

  15. The fact of the matter is that no other country in the world has a family justice system where maverick doctors and social workers can club together to smash the lives of families on such an industrial scale. Look at what happened in Cleveland for example. And did you watch that BBC programme the other night? You will find that all these dubious removals will come down to one or two doctors, so-called, doing the dirty work on social services’ behalf. Remember Meadows and Southall for the untold damage they caused? Where are the apologies from them and the shameless judges who wrecked the lives of so many children and parents.

    This country cries out for yet more mavericks like Booker, to oppose the utterly dreadful system of family justice we have which lawyers to a man seem only too happy to defend. All you lawyers seem to do is snipe at the one person who has possibly done most to bring these injustices into the light.

    No other country removes children at the rate we do, in such secrecy, with the backing of the state.

    • Wow. You really think that these kinds of injustices like Cleveland / Meadows etc are the norm rather than being terrible yet exceptional?

      I did watch the BBC Panorama programme. I thought it was unbalanced and potentially highly misleading and dangerous for parents who may find themselves involved with social services or with an injured child.

      • Where is your information that these injustices are rare? What you do know is that Meadows alone, one man, consigned literally hundreds of families to their unjust fates. One single paediatrician. Again, in Cleveland we had a couple of charlatans going round with their ridiculous anal dilation machine with over one hundred children removed as a result.

        In the same way that Meadows failed to disclose the possibility of vaccine as a causal factor in Munchausen cases, we now have court “experts”, probably amounting to one or two doctors only, who in case after case, fail to disclose vitamin deficiency as a factor in child bone fractures, such is their enthusiasm for diagnosing non-accidental injury. The confident, arrogant doctor always knows best when actually he knows sweet f.a. about the family context and the child’s true circumstances.

        The reason we don’t have a death penalty is because of the probability of killing innocents; Belgium got rid of it after one man was wrongly hanged. And yet we have a child protection system in the UK which is so crooked, it steals away non-abused children from innocent parents as a matter of daily routine.

  16. PUNISHMENT WITHOUT CRIME is itself a crime and even the lawyers on this blog cannot deny that thousands of parents who have committed no crimes have their children taken into care every year, and often adopted by strangers ;The President of the family courts Sir James Munby has ruled that foreign children born of foreign mothers should be subject to courts in their own country and never taken away to be adopted by British parents.Let us hope this applies not only to the Slovak children he referred to but also the Italian “caesarean” lady and countless other foreign mothers who have suffered at the hands of uk ,legal,medical,or local authorities by losing their children to uk strangers!

    • Er. I haven’t had time to go through the judgments with a fine toothed comb but I’m not sure that is exactly what he said…

      • Ah yes, here it is, pa 44 of Re E [2014] EWHC 6 (Fam). Not what he said at all. “I express no views as to the effect of Articles 36 and 37 of the Convention as a matter of either public international law or English domestic law. There is no need for me to do so and it is probably better that I do not. Nor do I take it upon myself to proffer guidance to local authorities, health trusts and other public bodies as to how they should interpret whatever obligations they may have under the Convention. That is a matter for others. What I do, however, need to do is suggest how as a matter of good practice family judges, when hearing care and other public law cases, should from now on approach these provisions.”

  17. No court can order a child from Europe to be taken from their parents or given up for adoption, said Britain’s most senior family law judge, Sir James Munby.

    Overseas authorities should always have a say in cases involving their nationals, and the future of foreign children must be decided by courts in their own country, he said.

    Judges and social workers must no longer keep their decisions secret or try to gag foreign media either, he added.

    And so say all of us (or nearly all) !

  18. If you don’t know your facts, then you are presumptuous to assert that these terrible cases are exceptional. Many in the caring professions say they are anything but. What’s more, in their enthusiasm for removing children from innocent parents, doctors and social workers overlook the real child killers in the crowd.

  19. I have read that Munby admitted that UK ss doesn’t follow the br2 guidelines does this mean that if the UK doesn’t follow the Vienna Conventions then UK citizens are not protected by such guidelines. Maybe it is simply “Do as we tell you, not as we do.”, someone forgot to tell england that they haven’t been a major world power in over a century.

  20. Social workers ignore children living in appalling conditions who are eventually beaten to death (poor adoption material) and seize on healthy,happy, children from good homes for ” emotional abuse” (no firm definition) or risk of it ! (excellent adoption material).
    Judicial statistics show that the proportion of children taken into care for physical or sexual abuse as fallen drastically since the death of baby p, but the proportion taken for emotional abuse has inreased dramatically! (easy pickings because parents cannot defend themselves against predictions made by hired gun experts) .For this familoo, they desrve to be criticised.
    Punishment without crime inflicted on UK parents is indeed a wicked practice ;and only when that abomination is banned and outlawed will justice prevail for UK families caught up in the sticky social service spider’s web.

    • Forcedadoption – please can you identify what judicial statistics you are referring to and provide a link? Are there statistics for neglect too? Are there statistics which show how many cases involve more than one category of risk or harm??

  21. Children subject of child protection plans in England (2009 … – nspcc…/england_wdf49858.pdf?Traduire cette page
    Children subject to child protection plans – England. 2009 – 2013. Children and young people who were the subject of a Child Protection Plan (CPP) by category …

    This is refers to an image so you may have to google to get it as it will not cut and paste. However, the stats clearly show how there are more children put on protection plans for emotional abuse than sexual and physical combined .Also that the proportion of the whole taken for emotional abuse is increasing but that for physical and sexual is decreasing since babyp showing that the effect of baby p taking increased numbers in danger of physical abuse is a myth !

    • Link doesn’t work. Can you try again?
      I haven’t seen the document (obviously) but the pattern and profile of children on Child Protection Plans is not necessarily the same as the pattern and profile of children who are subject to proceedings or to children who are removed from their families. Based on the description you give I don’t see how the document supports the proposition you made.

  22. Like I SAID GOOGLE “CHILDREN SUBJECT OF CHILD PROTECTION PLANS NSPCC” and then click onto the link that appears and you will get the image.

    I should not imagine the proportions of children taken into care vary very much.

    • Thank you I have found it here. It DOESN’T tell us anything at all about care proceedings or removal of children. It DOESN’T support the proposition in respect of which you prayed it in aid.

      Unless you have figures for the proportions of cases over time where children have been removed and where the threshold in care proceedings is crossed on one or more of emotional, physical, sexual, neglect and multiple (and I’m pretty sure these don’t exist) – then I don’t think you have made out your point at all. Just to remind you – you said : “Judicial statistics show that the proportion of children taken into care for physical or sexual abuse as fallen drastically since the death of baby p, but the proportion taken for emotional abuse has inreased dramatically!”

      The stats you have referred to are not “judicial statistics” at all. They relate to children who are not and may never be the subject of court proceedings – and hence to children who have not and may never be taken into care. Some children who are on child protection plans go on to be the subject of proceedings. Some do not – because in some cases a child protection is effective, and there is no need to issue proceedings. And because of the way the CP process is set up the category of harm selected does not always reflect the full range of concerns. Further, the stats you quote show the category for which the child is first registered – at a point where the full range and nature of difficulties within a family may be poorly understood. The first category under which a child is registered is sadly sometimes the tip of a rather more nasty iceberg.

      The figures for physical abuse are pretty much static – not falling. The figures for neglect are climbing – this is unsurprising since one result of the Baby Peter case has been better understanding and focus on chronic neglect cases, and cases where there is a pattern of repeated low level concern. Emotional harm figures are probably up because it is better understood than previously.

      I don’t know whether you think that emotional abuse is somehow “not real”. It’s very real – and the children who have suffered serious or chronic emotional abuse are often the hardest to place for adoption, because their needs are so challenging and their normal development so compromised.

      Sorry, but I don’t think that point is at all well made. There may be an increase in the numbers of removals for emotional harm (I don’t know, there are no stats), but even if there are there is no evidence to support the proposition you make as to the reasons for that rise.

      • Do you think the Italian woman suffered emotional abuse or harm while detained by ECC? Also while I have found cases in which SS made false statements I can’t find any punishment for perjury or professional misconduct. I guess when the state does such it is not a crime?

        • 1 She wasn’t detained by Essex CC. She was detained under the Mental Health Act by a Health Trust.
          2 I don’t know if she suffered emotional harm or abuse. Evidently, in order to section her, the medical professionals agreed that she was at risk of harm if she was not detained against her will.
          A witness can be prosecuted for perjury if they give false evidence. I don’t know of any cases where that has happened, but that is not to say they don’t exist.

          • No no you are quite correct being detained against your will, kept in the dark, knocked and cut open against your wishes, awaken to being no longer pregnant, and have your child taken away is neither terrifying or traumatic at all. In fact it was probably relaxing like a trip to the spa or going on ‘oliday as you might say.

            On a other topic do you agree to the EU having authority other the UK and knowing what is best for the UK?

          • I did not say it would have been a pleasant experience. I am quite sure it was traumatic for her. The question is whether it was less harmful or emotionally damaging the alternative, which is something which I can’t really express a view on.

            Don’t really see the relevance of the question in your second para.

  23. Alternatively if you can bring yourself to click onto my site and scroll down about 12 pages you will come to the NSPCC TABLES clearly indicated.
    Good luck !

  24. Emotional abuse is not a crime and until it is (there was a bill before the house I believe) it is not up to social workers or your good self to try and make it one with penalties accordingly.Mere “Risk of it”,even less so !
    Granted the stats are from NSPCC and refer to protection plans but in the absence of similar stats for care orders there is no reason to think the proportions would be very different and those proportions clearly show that physical and sexual abuse cases are “on the down” and emotional abuse cases are “on the up”.Of course emotional abuse exists but we all suffer from that from time to time .It is called “living” and risk of it is an absurd reason to remove children from non criminal parents.

    • Forcedadoption – did you even read my last responses? I’ve set out lots of reasons why the NSPCC stats cannot be relied on in the way you suggest – there are lots of reasons set out there as to why the proportions might well be different. But even if there were a correlation between the proportions of CPP cases in particular categories and the proportion of children removed for particular reasons – that would not prove your point, namely that it is a deliberate selection process of “healthy” children for the purposes of adoption, rather than a process by which a genuine attempt is made (albeit imperfect) to protect children from harm of all sorts.

  25. Granted my original comment should have read “children put on a protection plan sourced from NSCC statistics.”The willingness however of social workers to increasingly target emotional abuse (which is not a crime) and to diminish their attentions towards physical and sexual abuses (which are crimes) is demonstrated clearly and emphatically.
    Though the totals would change down if we considered only those children taken into care ;there is no reason to think the proportions for emotional abuse and physical abuses would change ,so I stand by my original claims.

    • emotional abuse is not a crime but it is a lawful basis upon which to remove a child if proven (I know you don’t agree it should be but at present it is). I’m not sure that we can extrapolate that an increase or decrease in one category necessarily means that there is diminished attention on one type of abuse – it depends on the overall number of children at risk of harm or suffering abuse, and the overall number of children “on the radar”.

      The number of children falling in a particular category on those stats has only shifted by 1-2% in each category over a five year period.

      Plus, I think that the stats don’t enable us to see shifts in understanding of a child’s risks over time. So, for example some children are picked up because bruises are spotted – category on registration physical abuse. Later it may become apparent there is a lot of psychological abuse going on that is far more pressing – that change in category is not captured by the stats you have. Similarly, a child presenting with disturbed behaviour or where professionals are seeing very harsh parenting at the school gates may be registered first under emotional harm – but later injuries may be discovered or allegations made by the child of physical assault. That might be a case where the CP stats showed emotional abuse but proceedings were issued as a result of concerns re physical abuse. In fact in such a case whilst the precipitating factor is likely to be physical harm the threshold is likely to be pursued on both grounds. So, again your stats don’t tell us much about a pattern.
      Incidentally Ian, since CP plans do not always lead to proceedings and indeed have as their primary aim the protection of children preferably without proceedings – are you suggesting that children are put on CP Plans under the category of emotional abuse in order for them later to be snatched for adoption for financial benefit? Do you accept that children are put on child protection plans in order to try and improve their situation through parenting support and guidance and the provision of services to families? I’m not asking you whether you accept that always works well and effectively, just whether you accept that is its purpose and the main motivation of those involved in running the system?

    • The grounds for a care order with children are not that a crime has been committed (be it physical or sexual abuse or anything else) but that the child is at risk of or has suffered significant harm, and that the harm is attributable to the care given to the child.
      In addition, the ‘no order principle’ in section 1 of the Children Act 1989 states that the court will not make an order unless it considers doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all.
      In other words, just because a child has suffered significant harm, a court of law still has to determine that it would be better to make the care order than to leave the child at home.
      Therefore it may be better to rail against the British Law rather than social workers who are required to work within it.

  26. NSPCC figures show that the “baby P factor” is a myth !
    Children subject to a child protection plan were over a 3 year period as follows:-
    Physical abuse 2010=5000,2011= 4800,and 2012=4690 A steady decline in the number of children subject to a child protection plan for physical abuse..

    Emotional abuse:-

    2010=10,800, 2011=11400,2012=12330

    An increase of 14% over the last 3 years!
    Clearly “emotional abuse” is the “buzzword” for social workers……………. Yet it is not a crime !!!

    Ther main purpose of the child protection department in each Council is the same as that of just about ALL the departments of both local and National government: To EXPAND, to employ more people,to exercise more influence and power,to get more cash allotted for their budgets,and to allow the managers to move up their grades getting automatic higher salaries for themselves and eventually for those working for them!
    POLICE punish criminals by arresting them ,fulfilling their arrest targets, and taking them for a largely fair hearing in a criminal court.
    Social workers punish parents ,who usually are NOT criminals,(fulfilling their adoption and fostering targets on scorecards) by confiscating their children, and taking those parents to unfair family courts that even L.J;Thorpe described as “so prejudiced” !

  27. Birds of a feather flock together ! Does that make anyone believing the truth of this saying into a “conspiracy theorist”?
    “Those who live off the system defend the system” yet another truism that can get one denounced as a conspiracy theorist for believing its logic;
    Next thing will be accusations that I and fellow campaigners have no capacity !
    Bring on my favourite parasite to defend us … The Official Solicitor ” !

  28. It won’t let me respond up there so I have responded here.

    Do they take into account the probability of harm or maybe suicide with how they treated the Italian woman?

    The UK believes that they know what is best for foreign nationals to the point that they refuse to contact foreign embassies to allow them to know they have detained a citizen or have the courts proceeding against their citizens. Yet the UK decries the power the EU as a whole has over the UK believing that the EU should stay out of the UKs business. How would the UK react if one of their citizens were treated in the same manner as this Italian woman?

  29. There’s nothing racial or personal about it.When social workers are out and about exercising their chosen profession of snatching babies they have found that foreign parents swiftly become , bewildered and intimidated by the extreme process and so make easier targets than uk parents who are beginning to “wise up” to methods of resistance thanks to the publicity accorded to the most extreme cases.

    • Forcedadoption, For what you allege to be true there would have to be hundreds of social workers up and down the country quite deliberately involved in a (racist) conspiracy to commit criminal and fraudulent acts in order to financially benefit not themselves particularly (since social work salaries are not great) but their employers, and there would have to be judges up and down the country either stupid enough to fall for their lies OR who were part of that conspiracy (or a mixture of the two) – and who would consistently be prepared on either basis to make findings of actual harm suffered or risk of significant harm and the orders that flow from that (I’m not sure what their motivation is intended to be since their income would be unaffected by the decisions made – is it supposed to be ideological?). Even IF social workers were consistently able to fabricate sufficiently convincing evidence to pull the wool over the eyes of the court some of the time it seems implausible to think that they could do so all or almost all of the time – and the alternative is a conspiracy so vast as to seem extraordinary.
      Have I understood you incorrectly? What is it you are saying?

      • It’s only too easy to put up false arguments on behalf of a person with whom you disagree and then demolish them ! I have always denied conspiracy theories,and it is only tired old supporters of the present social services regime who allege that campaigners for change must be conspiracy theorists !
        “Birds of a feather flock together,”and” Those who live off the system defend the system “are more appropriate descriptions of uk social services and family courts !
        Social workers make their living snatching children in the same way that police make their living catching criminals.Those who do well , and consistently reach their targets get promoted etc .Unfortunate children ,once snatched, have their phones and lap tops confiscated to isolate them from family and friends before being exposed to the risks of prison and prostitution so closely asociated with the “care system”
        Far from being a conspiracy ,judges,guardians,social workers,and “hired gun” experts each strive individually to support and expand the system of “punishment without crime”, taking newborn babies and young children from law abiding parents;
        Much like the old Communist and Nazi parties unquestioning loyalty to an appalling system is demanded and given. Parents who have committed no crimes are cruelly punished by the removal of their children ;sometimes for life !Punishment without crime must eventually be scrapped but only when enough people have suffered and protested to finally pressurise judges and MPs to carry out the necessary reforms.Sir James Munby has already opened the door to a small chink of light and hopefully that signals the beginning of the end of a shocking tyranny .

        • *Godwin’s law alert*.
          2 questions:
          1 Re “Far from being a conspiracy ,judges,guardians,social workers,and “hired gun” experts each strive individually to support and expand the system of “punishment without crime”, taking newborn babies and young children from law abiding parents;”
          Why? Why do they do this?
          2 Isn’t Munby part of the conspiracy (sorry, one of the flock of birds) you describe? And if not, why is he different?

  30. You have the energy to argue with Forcedadoption yet no inclination to answer my question which actually is relevant to the case?

    • John, It’s kind of my prerogative. And I have long been trying to properly understand the basis for Forcedadoption’s quite radical views about the family justice system. I still don’t, try as I might.

  31. Also is it possible to sue someone in civil court on the probability that they believe someone might in the future harm them phs/emotionally/sexually? If not, why not. Do non-children deserve no protection?

    • John,
      Um. Cannot think of how it could be possible to sue on that basis, no. “Non-children”, which I take to mean those who have not yet been born but who might be at risk in the future, are protected through pre-birth conferences and, once born, through child protection processes – which include as a last resort court proceedings. In family proceedings a child who has in fact suffered no harm may be the subject of protective orders only on the basis of proof of specific facts that demonstrate a future risk (for example actual harm to another sibling, or behaviour that in the presence of a child would be harmful). Does that answer your question? I’m not sure I’ve understood it properly…

      • I mean adults not foetus

        • Oh. Well now I think I understand the question even less. Should an adult be able to sue because they think that someone might hurt them in the future? No. But they can ask for protection in the form of an injunction based on past behaviour which might be repeated or upon threats of future behaviour. And they should be able to ask for such protection in my view. Does that answer the question?

          • So the state can prosecute people for future injustice yet people can not, seems fair.

          • No. The state cannot prosecute anyone for future injustice. Minority Report is just a film. Issuing protective orders is not prosecution, although implementing that protective order may feel like punishment to those whose children are removed the purpose is different. And it cannot make those protective orders without some past or current factual basis that establishes the future risk. AND the court cannot sanction a course of action that is disproportionate to the risk in question – so, not all cases where there is a risk of harm to a child result in removal.

  32. How is that a child born to non-resident foreign nationals in the UK are UK citizens when UK law doesn’t have Jus soli as part of citizenship? In [2013] EWHC 3298 (Fam) the UK has said that a child that was born in Pakistan to a perma-resident of the UK is in fact a UK citizen, I am confused as to the seemingly contradicting statement from UK courts. As far as the Rome court ruled they did not find in favor in either party stating that it was out of their jurisdiction, however they did have some words with the way the UK went about it.

    • 1 I think you may be confusing nationality with habitual residence.
      2 I am not an immigration lawyer, but I think that actual nationality and an entitlement to it are not the same in all cases and that nationality does not entirely depend upon the law in the UK but also upon the law of the other country – so the answer on nationality of children born here may be different depending on which country their parent(s) come from.

      Any immigration lawyers reading who can help me out here?

      • I am saying that the Italian women was not a habitual resident of UK but is of Italy. Also according to Italian law the child is an Italian citizen However it seems that the UK courts have determined her child to be a UK citizen even though neither parent is british or a habitual resident of the UK. So I am asking why the UK claims such.

        Also I have been wondering the point of the Vienna Convention if there is no punishment for not following it. Clearly if ECC/NHS/SS had contacted the Italian authorities they would have stated such. Does this mean that if the roles were reversed would the UK authorities be so understanding.

        • Where have the UK courts said she is a UK citizen? Missed that…

          • So you are saying the UK has the authority to decide the fate of foreign nationals who have no say in it and have committed no crimes? Does this mean UK citizens could be adopted against their parents consent outside the UK in the EU?

            I would have thought it would be best for the home country to decide the fate of their citizens.

          • What? Who said that?

    • Actually according to this case the child would also be a habitual resident of Italy. Just as in the case [2013] EWHC 3298 (Fam) I sighted the court ruled that even though the youngest child was born outside of the UK they are still a habitual resident.

      This makes the UK decision in the Italian case a bit odd.

  33. The basis for my views is ever so simple. I believe punishment without crime is wrong.Children should not be taken from parents who have not committed any crime against children and therefore should never be punished by the removal of their children ,sometimes for forced adoption which is a life sentence ..That is surely the worst outcome for parents short of capital punishment.
    Similarly blameless children taken into care should not be punished by confiscation of their mobile phones and laptops isolating them from family and friends.
    Surely that is clear enough for even the most fanatical supporters of social services and the family courts?
    Now familoo your two questions:-
    1:- Why do they do this? Answer already given that they earn a very good living out of the system so “those who live off the system support and defend the system”;Ask the two social workers who founded the national fostering and adoption agency a few years ago, and who sold out last year for £130million why they did it !
    2:Why is Munby different? Well I would not presume to read his mind but I suspect he may have “seen the light” and wants gradual reform ;or perhaps he has realised that social workers are now the most hated and feared profession in the country so that reforms are necessary to prevent the system crumbling under the sheer weight of public opinion.Whatever his motivation in urging transparency and the naming of local authorities,social workers,and expert witnesses,in family courts his heart seems to be in the right place !

    • Yes yes yes, I know you think that punishment without crime is wrong etc etc. I’m not asking about that. I’m asking about the basis for your assertions about the corruption within the system, which I think based on your description sounds like a conspiracy. For what it’s worth, I am not using conspiracy in pejorative way. I am using it because what you have described would properly amount to a conspiracy if it were true.

      So all these people working in a system designed to protect children, in fact spend their whole working lives talking about protecting children, pretending to strive to protect children, whilst knowingly participating in a giant and all encompassing conspiracy to wrongfully take children for reasons entirely unconnected with child protection and whilst knowing that each child so removed has been harmed by being wrongly taken from their parents?

      Is THAT what you think is happening Ian?

      Because what you are suggesting is (I think) something more than some corruption by some individuals, its something rather larger than that.

  34. Conspiracy and corruption are your words not mine familoo ! I reckon that like you familoo (and I accuse you of neither corruption nor conspiracies) the majority of these “birds of a feather” actually believe they are doing the right thing !It is nothing new for people doing bad things to believe they are doing right.The Spanish Inquisition,the Klu Klux Klan,the Gestapo,the K.G.B, the upholders of slavery in the Southern States,suicide bombers ,etc etc .The list is endless of those supporting vile actions or equally vile systems quite sincerely believing that they are right and doing good.I do not question the sincerity of you familoo or those commentators on your blog who agree with you;I just believe you are terribly terribly wrong.I am sure that in 30 or 40 years time some hapless UK Prime Minister will emulate George Brown and make a fulsome apology for what the family courts and the social workers are doing in the UK now.Alas I shall not be there to see it ……..

  35. Would crohn’s disease or late term cancer for a single parent qualify taking their children into care due to the probability in the future they would be unable to care for their child/ren at times or cause emotional distress and trauma to their child/ren watching them suffer? Would it be in the best interest of the child to be adopted by parents that could attend their needs full time.

    • It would have to be actual or a risk of significant harm attributable to “the care that would be attributable to the care given to the child, or likely to be given to him if the order were not made, not being what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to give to him”; or attributable to “the child’s being beyond parental control”.

      There would need to be a consideration of whether it was necessary and proportionate to remove, or whether some support package might be able to be put in place to prevent it, taking into account the parent’s own entitlement to services as a disabled person. There would need to be a consideration of other less draconian measures like care or support by extended family, assistance from support workers or respite care under s20.

      So on the first question : maybe. Maybe not.

      On the second : don’t know. Depends on the facts doesn’t it?

      It’s not a simple equation of who can provide the best physical care for a child – lots of foster carers are in a better position for all sorts of reasons to provide better parenting or more material things for children, but that doesn’t mean that children are necessarily better off in foster care. They are better off with their parents unless it is unsafe. It all depends on a) whether the court has jurisdiction to make an order (i.e. has the significant harm threshold been crossed) and b) how the child’s needs were best served. They might well not be best served by taking them away from their parent. Or there might be no alternative.

      Can I have a rest from your questions now?

      • What? Who said that?

        So you are saying that the UK lacks the authority to determine the fate of foreign nationals? I thought it was a simple yes/no answer. If the answer is yes does that extend to other EU member states? If the answer no then it would appear that Essex is in the wrong.

        • I’m not saying anything. You keep posing questions that suggest I have already expressed a view when I haven’t.

          • I was asking possibly in the wrong way if the UK has the authority to do so and if that authority extends to other EU member states. All you had to say was “I don’t know.”. I do appreciate the response though.

          • Ok, I’m sorry for being snarky. I don’t know.

          • Cut to the chase ! This Italian mother , visiting the UK when pregnant was forcibly detained,then ripped open by force with knives ,so that her baby could be extracted and handed over to strangers for forced adoption despite her protests?
            No excuses can justify such barbarism ! No legal quibbles can excuse the perpetrators;No pregnant tourists to uk are now safe.

          • Ian Joseph, That is outright scaremongering and you know it. No pregnant tourists to uk are now safe – what rubbish. The women who are really at risk are those who might be frightened into believing they should flee the country rather than engaging with childrens’ services. I am on the brink of just banning you from commenting because whilst I have held firm to my quite open commenting policy to date, I really find it difficult to give you a platform to reach more parents. Oh god. have to go. child being sick…

  36. YES most of these deluded social workers ,guardians,Cafcass officers,”hired experts”,legal aid solicitors and barristers or those hired by the local authority, probably think they are doing ‘the right thing’!
    Just like some years ago it was considered right and respectable to send gays to prison ,or to send 150,000 children (many said wrongly to be orphans), to Australia for forced labour and sex abuse by the “christian brothers”.
    In Saudi Arabia and in some neighbouring countries it is believed right and proper to cut the hands off thieves,to stone to death adulterous women,and to put to death any person of Islamic faith who later renounces that religion.
    No conspiracies ,just a lot of people doing what they think right when in fact they are in my opinion terribly wrong.
    Who am I to decide anyone is doing wrong or to declare that “punishment without crime” and” forced adoptions” are abominations? Just someone with the same right to express my opinions as anyone else.No more,no less !

    • You are indeed entitled to express your opinion as you do regularly and at length.
      You might get more people listening if you didn’t have a tendency to compare genuinely motivated individuals to the STASI, SS, Nazis, KKK or any other objectionable, ideologically flawed or bigoted group of people.

  37. Familoo,
    I don’t think I mentioned the Stasi,but thanks for the suggestion as all the groups you mention were full of people believing they were doing good;as did the other uk groups I mentioned.There’s nothing more dangerous these days than “fanatical do gooders” who are so certain they are right that any criticism calls down the wrath of the gods to punish or at least silence the unbelievers with gagging acts or even consignment to mental homes !Devout Christians were “motivated” to imprison gays in the UK not so long ago and many devout muslims still think it right to slaughter them !Social workers and judges are similarly “genuinely motivated” to punish mothers who have committed no crimes by confiscating their babies at birth.”In the interests of the children”.I reckon that enough people do listen to me to eliminate any worries that there are not enough.Right now I am content to have demolished the absurd “conspiracy theories” propounded by the local authority and legal minions to try to ridicule their critics !

  38. Based on what has been released about the Italian case do you believe that SS tried everything in their power to keep the family together?

    • The court seemed to think that there was no other option based on the evidence. I have not heard all the evidence. The judgment is not very detailed and we still don’t have the ICO judgment. So whilst it appears, based on current evidence, they did enough to justify the adoption of their care plan by the court I don’t know whether that is correct.

      • They forwent the option of informing the Italian authorities upon detainment as they were required to do so. Such as it was the Italian government was barred possibly intentionally from participating in the case. After the oddly rushed c-sect order in which the views and wishes of the prisoner were never once mentioned in the short 42 minutes of a hearing. After the forced birth Mostyn J made it a point to keep the mother out of a MBU against the advice of the medical professionals. Perhaps if she had actually tried to murder her child Mostyn J would have done more to keep them together

        Once she had recovered ‘physically’ from her ordeal they wheeled her out for a hearing in which the judge implied that the assessment that she had regain mental health was BS, the Italian doctors were noted as agreeing with the judge on how extremely unwell she was. As soon as the hearing was over they escorted her with undue haste back to Italy which the judge was quite critical of.

        It is sad that she had to go to Italy to get proper treatment that was lacking in the UK. Did they ever explain her rights and options on getting her child back? Did they create a support package to help her stay and fight the judgement on appeal? It would appear that they wanted to get rid of her as soon as possible. Why were they unable to repatriate her over a month before the birth? Why did they not liaise extensively with their Italian counterparts?

        There was much to be desired on how they handled such an important case.

        • I would not be surprised that they cleared her capacity for the hearing in order to be compliant with the 26 week rule.

  39. Familoo,

    we had the full approval of W.

    C B interviewed the PAIN case workers who had checked the details for accuracy and have read the documents.

    • Well “Winston Smith”, at its best then that is at least third hand information. And if the documents were documents from the children proceedings they were not material that should have been disclosed by the PAIN workers to the press regardless of consent of the Mother (unless the court gave permission). How do we know that any or all of the people in the chain have correctly understood and interpreted the information, and selected / passed on all the relevant information?

      By the way, please do not keep attempting to post comments containing detailed private information about cases involving vulnerable individuals and which I have no way of verifying. I will not publish them.

      • Familoo,

        I can only say I am deeply concerned by your attempts at censorship.

        CB has written a second article, regardless of whether I agree with it or not, which contains two different items;-

        • Winston Smith,
          It’s not about censorship. The blog is broadly about family law procedure and practice, and comments upon the reporting of it. The purpose of this blog is not to “break stories” and I am not a journalist with the resources or time to be able to fact check, nor do I have the safety net of insurance held by my multinational employer. See About page here

          Also from an ethical standpoint I would not want to publish information that might be inaccurate or distressing or might prejudice someone’s case, which I cannot verify, which might not be permitted due to rules of court or RRO, or where there may be some other legal problem with publication – and especially not where it comes via a third party using the pseudonym Winston Smith.

  40. Interesting story I read Seems that that they allowed the UK to assist him and provided an official court appointed lawyer to represent the man in court. I am sure that the court did not make their decision lightly given time and thoughtful reflection upon the issue.

    I suppose the UK does not have the market corned on “fair” trials. At the Pakistan informed the UK and allowed participation to a degree instead of complete secrecy. Small favors I guess.

  41. “She may have been experiencing schizophrenic episodes but that does not mean she lacked the mental capacity of making decisions for herself. But her voice is entirely absent from court proceedings on this matter. It’s paramount to at least try to gather someone’s opinion in a mental health case. I am pretty shocked by the paucity of evidence here. It is not a good example of best interest assessment.”
    In other words, had Ms Pacchieri been asked if she wanted a caesarean and her reply included something about it giving access for the devil to emerge from her uterus while she chewed on the bed head, you might conclude the decision should be made by others. But she didn’t even get to the reply – nobody asked her.
    Instead, in that very male type of panic that can surround birth, a group of men in a hurriedly convened a courtroom amidst a fear that babies just pop out when nobody’s looking and rushed the decision to perform major abdominal surgery on the basis of one tiny risk – uterine rupture. One per cent of births following previous sections suffer this potentially harmful complication of an old scar opening up. But one per cent of vaginal births experience a similarly dangerous cord prolapse.

    No one asked as they did not care what she thought.

    “One per cent of risk would never normally be used to justify invasive surgery. The NICE Guidelines, state that even women who had up to four previous caesarean sections should be advised that uterine rupture is rare and offered the choice of vaginal birth. They used the notion of uterine rupture as a trump card. The risks of a caesarean were not discussed at all. How is that a holistic approach to decision-making? She could have had another two weeks of pregnancy left. There was time to properly consult Ms Pacchieri and her extended family.”

    Barrister Proschka, who acts in many mental-health cases, is particularly unimpressed by the obstetrician’s conclusion that the woman might have “dissembled” or become “uncooperative” and refused electronic monitoring during her labour. This is quite extraordinary. Most women have moments of howling-at-the-moon lunacy in labour.
    What option were they considering: ‘we’ll let you birth this baby yourself but at the first signs of “dissembling” we’re tying you to that bed?’ Perhaps natural childbirth would have triggered a psychotic episode. Or perhaps, with the right human support, it would have been a healing experience for a woman who looks like a poster-girl for those who believe that women who deliver by unwanted caesarean can find bonding with their babies so tough, that they can’t even raise them at all.
    I’m not for one moment suggesting that a natural birth would have magically made Ms Pacchieri’s schizophrenia disappear. But the potentially positive mental health benefits of a birth she was allowed to control were not even considered. Nobody mentioned the notion that the chance of keeping this baby with its mother might be improved by encouraging those first precious moments of attachment. Nobody seems to have raised the fact that there is an increased incidence of post-natal depression after a caesarean.

    My question still stands on whether they did a suicide assessment based on what this might do to her mental and emotional health.

  42. Familoo,if you think I am scaremongering by saying thet no pregnant tourists are safe in uk,will you help a french lady I can put you in touch with ?

    • I’ve edited the details of the case that you attempted to publish Ian. Why would you attempt publish that information? Yes, I am always willing to accept properly constituted instructions from a client providing I am competent, available and (unless acting through the Bar Pro Bono Unit) funding is in place. I do accept public access instructions but usually such instructions are not appropriate in public law cases. It would not be appropriate for me to contact the lady in question through her email address (which you included in your comment). If she or her solicitors get in touch with me or my clerks I will consider whether it is appropriate to accept instructions and if I am able to help – based on information from them rather than a third party.

  43. Familoo you also claim that I endanger pregnant women by helping them to flee the UK to avoid forced adoption of their babies instead of “engaging “with uk social services.
    How can you seriously expect a pregnant mother to “engage” with social workers whose intention expressed in writing is to remove her baby at birth ? Surely these mothers are wise to go to other European countries where forced adoption is either very rare or non existent ?,

    • I think your formulation is oversimplistic. It is hard to engage with people you think might try and take your baby. That doesn’t mean it is not a good idea. It usually represents the best chance a parent has of keeping their child.

  44. Familoo as John McEnroe used to cry “I cannot believe you are serious” ! Do you honestly believe that after a pregnant mother has received letters from social services warning her not to leave the hospital until after social services have called to remove the child with a view to eventual adoption ,that the same mother would have a better chance of keeping her child by “engaging” with the authors of the letters rather than fleeing to another European country where she could be helped maybe by other family members or funded by the baby’s father remaininng and working in the uk to support the mother of his child?

    • In many cases, yes. Concerns or safeguarding measures taken in the immediate aftermath of birth when assessments have yet to be completed are a long way from a judge approved decision that a child needs to be permanently removed from their family. The latter does not necessarily follow the former.

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