A couple of interesting judgments here :
Holman J in Luckwell v Limata, a discrete judgment on the approach to the question of the court hearing financial remedy proceedings in public, and the exclusion of witnesses from such a hearing during the evidence of other witnesses. This is the one where the Wife’s father appears from press reports to be holding the whole case hostage as he has threatened to cut off the wife if she gives the husband a penny (in sketch form) (h/t Carol Mashembo).
Pauffley J in Re Y (A Child: Private Law: Fact Finding) (h/t Suesspicious Minds, who I think is probably beavering away now doing a proper post on this). It’s raining interesting Pauffley judgments at the moment, and this one is worth reading if you are interested in the press and social media response to recent judgments by female judges in private law cases, such as RS v SS, which I wrote about here and here. The judge’s findings in relation to the mother’s allegations are pretty stark; the scenario, whilst extreme and unusual in some respects, is not dissimilar to a number of cases I have dealt with – these sorts of patterns of insistent yet poorly evidenced allegations are sadly very common. It seems likely there is more that will unfold in this case and it does not seem sensible to speculate on what will happen next – much will depend one imagines on the Mother’s reaction to a judgment which is very strongly contrary to her position and critical of her.
[UPDATE 10.20am Thurs 5th Dec : Late last night material was published which names both mother and child and which shows a photo of both of them (face of child pixelated. I'm not linking to it. Any comment linking to it or referring to it will be edited or deleted. Read this post especially the bit about s97(2) of the Children Act 1989 to see why. I am agog, but I can't comment on it.
Further update 10.35am Sorry, forgot to link to the statement from the Health Trust on this which I had not seen when I published last night.
Further update 10.41 On reading the new material more carefully it may be that the naming of the mother is permitted. Further, the naming of the child is by way of pseudonym only. (See how easy it is to correct an error when you get it wrong?) I am trying to get hold of the Charles J judgment relating to a reporting restrictions order judgment yesterday and will link to it when up. If permitted I will link to the article in question.
Update 14.00 Worth a read too: Birthrights blogpost on the medical decision making and patient involvement]
A lot has happened since Monday night, when I posted a blog on the case which we now know as Re P (A Child). In view of the level of interest in it I felt it was right to update my previous post. Although I have added several post scripts to it this has become unwieldy, hence this fresh post.
The original post is here.
I’m going to run through a brief chronology of new sources of information first and then make a few observations.
- Yesterday (Tuesday 3rd) Pink Tape received over 16,000 hits. That is significantly more than it has ever received in a whole month.
- Also yesterday the judgment relating to the making of final care and placement orders in relation to P (the initial given to the child concerned in the County Court) was released. That judgment can be found here : P (A Child)  EW Misc 20 (CC) (01 February 2013).
- The UK Human Rights blog posted.
- Yesterday afternoon Essex made an unsuccessful application for a reporting restriction order. The application was refused because they had failed to put the press on notice.
- This morning a pre-recorded interview with the Mother’s Italian Solicitor was aired on BBC Radio 5 Live. My note of that interview is here (c-section italian lawyer.doc). It is not verbatim, but it’s a pretty good note as I touch type at a reasonable rate. Credit to BBC Radio 5 Live – they read out the WHOLE judgment verbatim in the care case, and the interview was careful and sensibly pre-recorded. The reading of the judgment no doubt does not make for “good radio” but was important context and balance.
- Around lunchtime the Judiciary website published a statement about the application for reporting restrictions.
- Today the Mental Health and Capacity Law blog published a helpful explanation of how the Court of Protection operates and what might have happened in the Court of Protection part of this case.
- Subsequently, this afternoon Mostyn J’s decision authorising the delivery of the child by means of c-section was published. That judgment, annotated by the judge this week, is to be found here : In the matter of AA 23 August 2012.
- Suesspicious Minds blog has considered the Mostyn J judgment here.
- Carl Gardner at Head of Legal has written an excellent blogpost “Booker, Hemming and the “forced caesarian” case: a masterclass in Flat Earth news” (he’s done it whilst I’ve been writing this one, so there is some duplication – his is better)
So what can now be said of things? Continue Reading…
UPDATE Weds eve 4 Dec : I’ve now written an updating post on this topic here.
Over the weekend a highly concerning story began to be reported in the press – the headline and byline read as follows: “‘Operate on this mother so that we can take her baby’ A mother was given a caesarean section while unconscious – then social services put her baby into care.”
It started in the Sunday Telegraph, courtesy of Christopher Booker, a journalist well known as a critic of the family justice system – and it spread like wildfire. It started, it was said, when the woman “had something of a panic attack when she couldn’t find the passports for her two daughters, who were with her mother back in Italy.” This led to her calling the police, family members on enquiry raising concern about her mental health conditions and non-compliance with medication, and ultimately to being detained hospital under the Mental Health Act, where she remained until the c-section described above.
Within hours of the original post another Telegraph journalist, Colin Freeman, was reporting that “Essex social services obtained a High Court order against the woman that allowed her to be forcibly sedated and her child to be taken from her womb” by caesarean section “according to legal documents seen by this newspaper”. The case, it was said “raises fresh questions about the extent of social workers’ powers”. The report stated that “The woman…was forcibly sedated. When she woke up she was told that the child had been delivered by C-section and taken into care.”
On Sunday night I posted a short blog post asking for information when a judgment was published on Bailii. Lawyers found nothing, even though the baby was now 15 months old. Continue Reading…