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Suspended sentence for woman who saw her son “too often”

 

I read this story on ITV news way back in December 2015, and it took 20 seconds of googling to suggest that there might be more to it than the headline suggested.

http://www.itv.com/news/2015-12-15/suspended-sentence-for-woman-who-saw-her-son-too-often/

 

Because the woman in question had a previous history in the family Courts, that history being that she turned up with a report from a psychologist that she had in fact forged, by writing it herself and the named psychologist knew nothing about it. And that she went to prison for perverting the course of justice. That’s pretty unusual, even in the circles of contentious private law proceedings.

 

This matter has a very long and very sad history with continual court proceedings stretching over almost the entirety of X’s life. The mother was made the subject of a previous s.91(14) order at the conclusion of proceedings before Mrs. Justice Macur, as she then was. After that order had been made, the mother sought permission from Mrs. Justice Macur to make an application in respect of X. In support of that application, she filed what purported to be a report from a psychologist. When it was checked, it was discovered that that document was a forgery and the psychologist named denied any knowledge of ever writing any such report. Criminal proceedings were instituted against the mother for perverting the course of justice, during the course of which she was convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of nine months. That was in or about October 2012. The mother was still serving that sentence when the matter came before me in May 2013.

 

That of course doesn’t mean that she wasn’t the victim of injustice THIS time around, but it does mean that you might be somewhat cautious about taking her word for it.

Anyway, the committal judgment is now finally up.

Y v Najmudin 2015

 

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2015/3924.html

 

The contact order provided for supervised contact, seven times a year.

Having heard evidence over a number of days both from the parties, from the children’s guardian and expert evidence, I concluded that it was in the welfare best interests of X that his contact with his mother was very restricted, that it should take place, as I have set out, seven times per year in a contact centre, and it had to be professionally supervised. That was because I was satisfied that the mother had lied to me throughout the course of the hearing in 2013 and that she had and would, if permitted to have unsupervised contact, cause emotional and psychological damage to her son.  

 

The mother breached that order by making her own arrangements to see her son, clandestinely and without the knowledge of the father. She was not taking up her sessions at the contact centre, because she was making her own arrangements.

Evidence

  1. The mother in her evidence asserts matters have changed. X is more mature and he is older and he is old enough to make decisions for himself. That may be the case, but the fact that this mother chose to tell this child about this hearing and talked in detail about the evidence, in my judgment amply demonstrates that the circumstances that I found in my judgment in 2013 have changed not one jot.
  2. She may no doubt love her son, but it appears, in my judgment, that she remains incapable of assessing and putting his welfare best interest first. In addition, she did not at any time, despite regular email communication with the father, either (a) tell him that she was meeting X; or (b) ask his permission to see X. At no time, the mother concedes, did the father in fact agree to change the contact arrangements as set out in the order of 3 May. In her evidence, the mother tells me that she could not remember the terms of the order made in May 2013; that she did not know that by seeing X as she did in the street that she was acting in breach of my order. I, without any hesitation, entirely reject that account from the mother. I am satisfied so that I am sure that she knew full well what I had ordered and what were the restrictions on her contact, but she has chosen, in my judgment, deliberately once more to flout the court’s order and to ignore it.
  3. She takes the view that X is old enough to make his decisions and if he asks to see her, then whatever there may be in a court order is completely irrelevant. Well, she is wrong. She, by taking the actions that she has, has put X in an immensely difficult position. The father tells me, and I accept that X has said to him that he loves his mother and he would like to see his mother, but he would like to see her in the supervised contact centre. The mother tells me that when she sees X he is pleased to see her. I have no doubt being a loving child that he would do that. But the father tells me that by the time he gets home, it is plain that X feels uncomfortable, worried and concerned about these chance meetings, knowing that they are not taking place as the court has ordered; knowing that they have not taken place as he would wish. The mother, in my judgment, has put X in an extremely difficult position. She has quite deliberately chosen not to tell Mr. Y about these meetings, nor to seek his permission. All of those facts demonstrate to me that the mother knew precisely what it was that she could and could not do by the court order, but she chose to breach it.
  4. Furthermore, I am reinforced in coming to that view in terms of the adverse effect on X because I accept the evidence from Mr. Y that X has taken now to taking different routes home from school in order that he may try and avoid seeing his mother in those haphazard meetings in public. I accept that evidence. I am also concerned to hear it because it demonstrates very eloquently the conflict that this young man feels about the circumstances that his mother has caused him to be in.
  5. On the totality of all the evidence that I have heard, I am satisfied so that I am sure that the mother has breached the order of 3 May 2013 and, in particular, para.6, on each of the occasions set out in the schedule of findings sought by Mr. Y. In respect of those matters, where the mother was either not sure whether she had seen X on a particular date, or said that it was in fact her partner, Mr. Z, for example, who went to the father’s home on Wednesday, 15 April, I unhesitatingly reject those explanations and I find as a fact that the mother has met with X as set out in that schedule.
  6. Accordingly, I am entirely satisfied that the mother is in breach of that order and she is in contempt of court and she now falls to be punished for that contempt. I will consider what punishment I should impose at 2 o’clock after I have heard anything Dr. Najmudin may want to say in mitigation of her breaches of the order as I have found.

 

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About suesspiciousminds

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

5 responses

  1. There seems to be no doubt at all that the mother breached the order and that she therefore committed contempt of court.
    However there also seems no doubt that the order was draconian in the extreme and in clear breach of the child’s human rights to see his mother and enjoy a private life undisturbed by public authority (article 8).
    The idea that the father should have the right to read his mother’s emails to him and decide whether to pass them on or not reads like something from a Communist State not a democracy.
    A 13 year old boy and his mother (who has never physically harmed him and never been convicted of any crime against him ) should be free to meet whenever they choose and the judge forbidding this should be disbarred.

    • By “There seems no doubt” you mean that you know better than the Judge who had all the facts and heard the evidence? Also, article 8, as you know, is a qualified right.

      [We don’t actually have the previous judgment, where Keehan J made the order for supervised contact, but he was clearly satisfied that on the evidence that he had seen and heard that this mother was not safe to have unsupervised contact. I know that you disagree with that as a matter of principle, but someone who is prepared to come to Court with a faked report from an expert is a pretty unusual scenario]

  2. ashamedtobebritish

    That’s what the local authority do, whys it ok for them and not the parents

  3. Shirley Buckley

    I had a penal notice put on me by Charles in the Court of Protection (judgment in public domain) “SBis forbidden from criticising to MB the staff, facilities, care and/or treatment at the ……unit ( alearning disability psychiatric unit – my son has epilepsy) SB is forbidden from telling MB that any other plaement is superior to ……..unit in any respect. 7 separate injunctions, which I obeyed to the letter – in fact I simply stopped contacting Martin. By obeying these injunctions I broke every moral and ethical principle that our family had lived by while caring for Martin. Read very carefully what he wrote – this is the vice president of the Court of Protection – and he personally had declared (according to the psychiatrist’s report) that Martin lacked capacity to decide on medical treatment, where he lived, and his contact with me. Of course the mother forged the report, why not. Have you read these reports – the mother is always viewed negatively – and to love your son or daughter is regarded as unimportant. Charles did write Martin a letter (which I never saw) which told him that his mother loved him, but what she was doing was not in his best interests. I hope this reply makes clear how I, and many other mothers feel. Read 7 days in an ATU please all of you read 7 days in an ATU

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