After the injustice I recently experienced, I wanted to witness another case for myself, to see if others received the same treatment. I was shocked.
Every time I have sat in the court waiting room I hear the same story from other parents; Social Services reports are factually incorrect and yes you guessed it, favoured Social Services not the parents.
This case was a little different.
A parent had a string of bad luck. She was involved, as a passenger, in a road traffic collision while pregnant. During her pregnancy she was hospitalized for most of the last 6 months. Two independent social workers cleared the need for further involvement by the Local Authority as [both] pre-birth assessments concluded there were no concerns with the Mother’s ability to parent her child (one due to prior domestic violence and the other due to false allegations (unbeknown to her) being fed to social services by her sister; which she had limited knowledge of until receiving the trial bundle from Essex Legal Services following her application to appeal)
In November 2009, while talking with her mum [maternal grandmother] in the bedroom upstairs (parent’s house), the mother perched on the window sill. Unaware the window was not securely locked behind her, she leaned against the window only to find herself grabbing at the curtain in a desperate attempt to prevent herself from falling backwards; while her mother helplessly watched her daughter plummet onto the patio below [approx. 12/13 ft.]. She landed on her back, smashing it on a step that led out into the garden from the downstairs living room. She fractured four vertebrae. A witness statement from her mother and hospital records concluding that this was an accident. She was released after a Psychiatrist concurred with finding it an accident [in lieu of suicide attempt]. Social Services claimed to believe it was a suicide attempt thereby giving reason to remove her child. I witnessed the mother make a heart-felt plea that social services taunted her with adoption; even while paralysed in hospital when a Social Worker from Basildon contacted the hospital to inform the mother that her child was going into care, and would be adopted in 6 weeks. She did not even have the [physical] ability to wipe the tears from her eyes. She pleaded with the court to consider her appeal on the grounds of serious procedural irregularities which would have prevented Local Authority from filing an application for a Placement [Adoption] Order. She brought volumes of documents which she believed to have been submitted to the County Court during her proceedings, unaware that this evidence never made it to the trial bundle.
With the assistance of a McKenzie Friend they presented what I thought was solid grounds to set aside the placement order. I listened as O’Connell cited document after document which supported their application. He was cut short by the Lord Justice, whom said that this was not the time to “unravel further details of the case”, implicating the mother was highly intelligent therefore should to have better managed her case and namely her [then] legal team during the care proceedings! [cognitive functioning test conducted on behalf of Local Authority reflected she could not have possibly scored higher on any area albeit the comprehension which brought down to the top 3% intellectually of population] The McKenzie friend was quick to defend that, although she has the capacity to comprehend and interpret Practice Guidance & Statutory Instruments, she would not have the knowledge of Legal Court Procedures as she is not a legally trained professional. She was another victim of a neglectful legal team who funnel money from vulnerable parents in need of legal aid.
BACKGROUND of CASE HISTORY
It was after social were granted an ICO that she was ordered a drug alcohol test. Results yielded positive for cocaine and stating she was chronic excessive drinker. The hair testing company failed reverse the test, which eradicates possibility of false positives given due to chemicals metabolizing in the system. There was no consideration that while in hospital, temporarily paralysis from injuries sustained, everything is sterilized with alcohol based products. The mother is t-total. Subsequently there was a retest, which corroborated that the mother did not drink and that she had not used cocaine. Unfortunately, unbeknown to the mother, this retest never made it to the trial bundle/ or was removed.
Over the course of the next 18 months she passed all hair strand tests. In attempt to get a further 12 months tested, her mother (the maternal grandmother) funded an additional test costing almost £800, the court of appeal refused to wait two weeks for the results of this test to come back, expressing that this too should have been address at the time of the final hearing.
She has since received the results, not surprisingly testing negative for cocaine and reaffirming she is not a drinker [Liver Function Test]
Social Services reports stated that this mother made 7-9 suicide attempts during her pregnancy. The McKenzie friend argued the sourcing of this information, which remains unknown, then presented a volume of medical documents covering the entire maternity of the mother. Having been hospitalized for most of the latter trimesters of her pregnancy, the court was presented a plethora of case notes from doctors and nurses who treated her while in hospital from injuries sustained in the car accident. It was presented that the claims from Social Services was erroneous and unsubstantiated whilst the Mother had solid evidence to corroborate her version of events [which had been washed away at trial as she was chalked up by the LA to be a liar] She had documents evidence was ignored on premise that is should have been before the County Court Judge. The McKenzie Friend referred to the Mother’s transcript of evidence where she clearly stated to the Local Authority Barrister “You do not have the correct Index [court bundle]” and she referred to specific valuable documents and statements which she believed to have been in her evidence. Social Services had no previous records of the mother due to her residing in USA, highlighting the fact that social services had fabricated the suicide attempts within reports. The courts ruled balance of probabilities due to inaccurate records from social services that the fall from the window was attempted suicide.
During the judgement one of the judges (Thorpe) appeared to have fallen asleep and then was awoken to say “I agree” to the verdict. It was injustice at its worst.
At the court of appeal she was denied submittal of this evidence (which she thought was before the county court). She was also told by the LJs she was not permitted to discuss the case with anyone. Silenced to suppress the truth and handed a life sentence with her daughter’s imminent adoption – she is devastated.
I have since spoken more with the mother. Details of her case cannot but bring tears to your eyes. I can verify first hand that she does/ did have the evidence that should have been considered proportionately. However, content of the volumes which she presented to the Court of Appeal were “washed away”.
Seeing for myself how there is a pattern within proceedings where people are targeted by Social Services and they will stop at nothing until Social Workers completely destroy the lives of the people involved.
If this travesty and severe miscarriage of justice was not painful enough – on Wednesday 25th July the mother awoke to an Instant Message from a friend who read an article in their local paper. Her case was reported anonymously, labelling her in ways one would interpret as a cocaine abusing alcoholic who became involved with social services following an attempted suicide. Struggling to contain emotion surrounding the denied appeal, she has since been publicly humiliated after the Evening Echo printed libellous, inaccurate and erroneous half-truths as “facts”. The paper’s editor claimed that the article was sent to them in summary from an agency whom had a reporter at the court. She disputes the legitimacy of the article as reporters were seen by herself, myself, and others speaking with the Local Authority while we awaited going into court. Our suspicions were confirmed as they sat in the press area of the public gallery. Unfortunately for the mother she cannot publicly defend these libellous false allegations in fear she will go to jail.
The paper’s editor saw no fault in what was published, despite it being factually inaccurate and devastating to her character.
Although not named, she was clearly identifiable to those in her area.