This is a report from the Daily Telegraph, and as luck would have it, I have the judgment that it refers to. Nice to be able to lay them alongside each other.
What they report is that the father had two children taken into care
He said he smacked his kids on the bottom, legs and arms, using his hand, but that the red marks left behind ‘did not last long’.
But Rotherham Council social workers took a dim view of his disciplinarian ways and determination to have ‘total control’ over his family.
It seems a fairly balanced piece from the Telegraph, to be fair to them. When I read the ‘dim view’ bit I was all set for social work bashing, but most of it seems to be extracted from the judgment and giving a balanced account. (It does show how much easier it is to write an accurate story if you use the judgment)
The children were placed with an aunt.
And the judgment itself
Rotherham Borough Council v L and Others 2015
I don’t think I’ve come across someone refusing to give the oath before, but the father did just that in this case (having previously micro-managed the expert assessment and refused to participate in any social work assessment)
- Father gave evidence before me. Before he did he refused to affirm or take an oath. He tried to explain to me why that was. Despite being advised by Mr P that in not doing so this may carry the impression that father wanted to control matters in his own way – a theme throughout – father insisted that he would not affirm or take the oath. He assured me he would tell the truth. His words were ‘I don’t lie.’ I therefore allowed him to give evidence.
- I have observed him throughout the case. Mr P was right when he warned father that his conduct would reinforce the evidence that he is a man who must feel in control. It does.
Whilst the Telegraph headline (though not the full story) might give something of an impression of a father who just exercised his legal right to lawful chastisement of his children when they were naughty, the judgment itself conveys much more of a sense of a man who was using violence amonst other means of exercising control over his wife and his children.