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Contempt – adult breaching a recovery order

This is the London Borough of Newham v CA 2013

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2013/4597.html

I note, wryly, the explanation at the start of the transcript as to why it took so long to produce  (an explanation which contains three misspellings and confuses ‘of a’ for the word ‘over’)

Note: this is a judgement from an oral judgement and sentence for contempt given in open court on 20th December 2013. The transcription was over very poor quality as a result it took some time to collate notes from those present and to produce this judgement

Anyway, in this case, there was an adolescent girl absconding from care and it was believed that she was being the victim of sexual exploitation. A recovery order was applied for by the Local Authority and obtained.

The child was located and was with an adult, Mr Quasim Shah, who was the subject then of this committal application. I pass little comment as to the circumstances in which this girl was with Mr Shah other than

1. Note the concern over what risk this girl was at

2. She was found attempting to leave his property at 5 Hartington Road on 27th November 2013. At the time he was found naked, or almost naked, and trying to stop police from gaining entry and by those actions he is in contempt of court, specifically the terms of the collection order.

3. The case has been referred to the CPS

Mr Shah had been served with the recovery order and denied knowing where this girl was – he is not  a relative or carer of hers (fill in the blanks yourself)

 

These are the breaches he admitted

(i) That he had text contact with the child throughout the 17th October 2013 from 00.21 up until 16.32 compromising of 152 text messages to the child from him and 117 text messages to him from the child which grew in frequency nearing one text per minute during the period 15.13 to 16.22. The child absconded from her placement at 17.20. The telephone contact completely stopped until 25th October 2013.

(ii) He it is accepted that he made plans with the child to abscond. It is not accepted that he physically collected her from her placement and thus aided her absconding, although he does not deny being involved in her absconding on that occasion.

(ii) He accepts that he had contact, every day, with the child from 17th October to 22nd October and on 25th October the calls and that the calls and texts stopped when the child stopped using her mobile.

(iii) He accepts that he provided his mobile telephone number ending 8840 to the child, which she used to call her mother on 1st November 2013; the child informed her mother that she was with a male in his 30 who was taking care of her.

(iv) He accepts that he telephoned the Mis-per Police Unit on 1st November 2013 and stated that he did not know the child except for the party on 17th October and that he did not associated with her.

(v) He accepts that he told the police that he had not seen the child since the party on 17th October when the police Mis-per telephoned him on the 2nd November 2013 trying to locate the child.

(vi) He accepts that he denied the child used his telephone on 1st November, that he had not seen her for a few weeks when police officers attended his home and spoke to him on 2nd November to try to locate the child.

(vii) He accepts that on 14th November 2013 police officers attended his home and spoke to him and he did not disclose his knowledge of the child or her whereabouts.

(viii) He also accepts that when the police officers attended his home he made some threats towards them. The exact nature of those threats as contained in the papers filed with the court is not accepted.

(ix) It is accepted that the child was found in his company at his property on 27th November.

(x) He accepts that he attempted to bar entry tried to impede entry to his property on 27th November 2013 by sitting on the floor naked, or almost naked, against the door and that he did not move from that position when asked by police officers three times.

(xi) Finally, he accepts that when service was attempted by the process server who came with the documents at his property dated 20th November, including the witness summons of the High Court he refused to open the door.

 

It is not a huge surprise that he received a prison sentence

In respect of the contempt in the face of this court I pass a sentence of six months.

In respect of the breaches of the collection order I pass a sentence of three months, to be served consecutively.

 

Many readers of the blog might be mentally comparing this sentence, for what happened here, with the sentences for grandparents who did not reveal where their daughter and grandchild had fled to, or the man who facing criminal charges declined to give a potentially incriminating statement in care proceedings on legal advice.

If you are ever served with  a Recovery Order, it is worth noting that if you breach it, and that is proved, Courts really do send people to prison for this.

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About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

4 responses

  1. One big difference is that the grand parents didn’t try to sexually assault the child. you know its the small things that make the difference. Comparing gps to pedos is a somewhat new approach.

  2. forcedadoption

    The twenties hollywood star Mae West summed it up well when asked by the judge “Are you trying to show contempt for this court ? and she replies “No I’m just trying to hide it !”

  3. Matt, my fault for expressing that clumsily then. My very point is that sending someone to prison for what this gentleman did in breaching the order ends up with the same result (albeit a different amount of time) as the grandparents. I don’t think that most people would think that the two things ARE comparable, and yet both of them end up with the individuals concerned being locked up.

    If they both do have to be locked up, are the comparable sentences a fair reflection of the huge difference between the circumstances? I think probably not (the dad who refused to file a witness statement on legal advice got longer than this individual)

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