I know that the Press don’t always get things spot on with their coverage of family law cases, and the Daily Mail in particular has had two wildly dreadful headlines misrepresenting the cases entirely just this week.
This one though
has some credibility. Firstly it clearly is from an actual Court case. Secondly, they name the Judge, Her Honour Judge Watson. And thirdly, they have the Judge’s remarks in quotes. So there’s clearly something to this. A Judge clearly did find that some very serious allegations of a sexual nature were proven, because she is quoted as saying things like this:-
Judge Watson said some of the ‘suggestions’ might seem ‘fantastical’, but concluded they were probably a ‘grim reality’.
She said: ‘In my judgment, the children are telling the truth when they describe being taken… to a hotel where they had wine and tablets and were made to perform sexual acts watched by other people.
‘It is suggested that the accounts are not to be believed because the children report sexual activity with (a) dog and other animals. A rabbit was described as being frightened … and running off.
‘Such suggestions might seem fantastical but become a grim reality when seen in the context of my findings that the children have been made to perform sexual activities with each other for the sexual gratification of (the man), for the video camera, and for other people.’
The story mentions a written judgment. I can’t find that published online in any of the usual places. It isn’t (at the time of writing) on Bailii, or Lawtel, or the judiciary website.
So either there were reporters present at the hearing (they can make a request to be allowed to attend, and could have asked for copies of the written judgment) or the written judgment has been provided to the Daily Mail. Actually, on even further checking, I see that at some point today, there was a link to a case called Coventry City Council v AP 2015 on John Bolch’s Family Lore website (which is great, by the way, and ten years old this week, yay. http://www.familylore.com ) but the link takes you to a page on Bailii saying that it is no longer there.
Which I presume means that there was a mistake on the published transcript, probably identifying someone that should have been anonymised and it has been taken down. Which shows at the very least now, that the Daily Mail are sufficiently interested in family law cases that they are checking Bailii more often than even I do (which is twice a day, every day…)
More when it gets published properly.