Archive for July, 2008


















‘Guilty Of Child Kidnapping’

Work Location:
Triangle House,
Green Lanes,
London
N13 4YB


















‘Guilty Of Child Kidnapping’

Work Location:
Triangle House,
Green Lanes,
London
N13 4YB

Full Story: http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/News_0944.htm

Sir, As a clinical psychologist who has spent several years as an expert witness in child and family hearings, I would like to thank Camilla Cavendish for her excellent series of articles on family justice (times2, July 8, and letters, July 9). There are a number of issues that are also worth raising. First, there is the difficulty in reconciling an adversarial black and white system of law with the much greyer fields of psychology, social work and so on. The latter are inexact sciences, regardless of how psychologists would like to pretend otherwise; shoehorning them into a court can be a very inexact fit, leading to experts withdrawing from the system for fear of being pulled apart in a legal confrontation. I have been criticised for reading social services files without obtaining permission from the court; this was perfectly justifiable clinically, but unacceptable legally. I have sat in meetings as barristers have incomprehensible arguments about cases that have little meaning clinically. Secondly, social work is one of the most undervalued and pilloried professions in the UK, its members often working for relatively low pay and under huge pressure from swollen caseloads. We do not, and never have had, a perfect system errors are made, either when children are removed from families when they shouldnt have been or when they are left too long in a family. We do not spend the money to invest in a root and branch reform of how services are provided to families at risk of breakdown. Thirdly, there is the problem of parents with learning disabilities. Such parents have little chance of defending themselves in court there is something grotesque about people with the bottom 2 per cent of the intellectual range having their children being removed by the top 2 per cent and are sometimes classed as unable to instruct a solicitor, at which point their case is handled by a stranger. Parents with a learning disability are almost certain to lose their children once in the court arena, despite having evidence against them that would not stand up against a non-learning disabled parent. Finally, while I believe The Times is correct to wish for an increased level of transparency from the courts, there will be no such increase from some of the families involved. While I am sure that miscarriages of justice do exist, many families in cases which reach the courts have raised concerns for years; been through the GP/community mental health team/special educational needs co-ordinator routes; have not responded to social services requests to alter parenting practice; and, even after court proceedings are initiated, continue to provide care which is not adequate to meet the needs of their children.

Full Story: http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/News_0943.htm

Britain faces an investigation by Europe into secrecy in family courts, amid growing political pressure to overhaul the system. The Council of Europe has stepped in after allegations that gagging laws designed to protect the rights of children are allowing miscarriages of justice and children to be removed unnecessarily from their parents. The Times has been running a series of articles this week about the consequences of the system that keeps reporters and the public out of many family court hearings and obstructs people from seeing evidence against them or obtaining copies of judgments. Opponents of the system say that judges can be too ready to side with social workers and experts who want a child removed but whose evidence is rarely made public. Family courts in England and Wales hear 400,000 cases a year, mostly divorces and child custody cases. In about 20,000 cases a year, however, local councils apply to remove children from parents on the ground that parents are abusive or neglectful. The councils investigation was initiated by Paul Rowen, the Liberal Democrat MP who is one of Britains representatives, and will begin in September. It could involve hearings by a committee that will take evidence and be able to visit courts. It will come at a critical time for campaigners who are fighting to open up the system. The Government has promised to respond to a long-delayed consultation after the summer. Three years ago the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee said that greater transparency was required and restrictions on the discussion of their cases by parents should be removed entirely. Moves to open the courts up were quashed by Lord Falconer of Thoroton in one of his final acts as Lord Chancellor in June 2007. He stated that a survey of 200 children had shown that many would be anxious about the presence of the press in the family courts.

Full Story: http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/News_0942.htm

The daughter of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian incest offender, has given evidence against her father to court authorities for the first time this week.
Fritzl, 73, a retired engineer, incarcerated and sexually abused his daughter Elisabeth, 42, in a purpose-built concrete dungeon beneath his home in the town of Amstetten for more than 24 years and fathered seven children with her. One of the children died shortly after birth and Fritzl burned its body in an incinerator.
The case was revealed on April 26 but doctors treating Elisabeth and her family have only now allowed the first questioning to take place, with her condition said to have dramatically improved after two months of intensive psychotherapy and medical care.
Elisabeth has now revealed details of her ordeal for the first time to Judge Andrea Hummer, who will try the case against her father. She was questioned only in the presence of the judge and her lawyer, while prosecutors and the legal representative of her father were able to ask questions via video-link from a separate room.
The hearing will continue into next week and possibly beyond that. Elisabeth’s two oldest children, who spent their entire lives in the cellar, Kerstin 19, and Stefan, 18, will also be questioned by the court as soon as doctors give their approval.
Their testimonies will be recorded and presented to the court during the trial, expected to take place by November this year, in order to honour Elisabeth’s demand that she and her children never be confronted with their father again. Fritzl has given up on his right to follow the questioning of his family and even ask them questions, together with the prosecutor and his lawyer, via video-link

Full Story: http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/News_0942.htm

The daughter of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian incest offender, has given evidence against her father to court authorities for the first time this week.
Fritzl, 73, a retired engineer, incarcerated and sexually abused his daughter Elisabeth, 42, in a purpose-built concrete dungeon beneath his home in the town of Amstetten for more than 24 years and fathered seven children with her. One of the children died shortly after birth and Fritzl burned its body in an incinerator.
The case was revealed on April 26 but doctors treating Elisabeth and her family have only now allowed the first questioning to take place, with her condition said to have dramatically improved after two months of intensive psychotherapy and medical care.
Elisabeth has now revealed details of her ordeal for the first time to Judge Andrea Hummer, who will try the case against her father. She was questioned only in the presence of the judge and her lawyer, while prosecutors and the legal representative of her father were able to ask questions via video-link from a separate room.
The hearing will continue into next week and possibly beyond that. Elisabeth’s two oldest children, who spent their entire lives in the cellar, Kerstin 19, and Stefan, 18, will also be questioned by the court as soon as doctors give their approval.
Their testimonies will be recorded and presented to the court during the trial, expected to take place by November this year, in order to honour Elisabeth’s demand that she and her children never be confronted with their father again. Fritzl has given up on his right to follow the questioning of his family and even ask them questions, together with the prosecutor and his lawyer, via video-link

Full Story: http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/News_0942.htm

The daughter of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian incest offender, has given evidence against her father to court authorities for the first time this week.
Fritzl, 73, a retired engineer, incarcerated and sexually abused his daughter Elisabeth, 42, in a purpose-built concrete dungeon beneath his home in the town of Amstetten for more than 24 years and fathered seven children with her. One of the children died shortly after birth and Fritzl burned its body in an incinerator.
The case was revealed on April 26 but doctors treating Elisabeth and her family have only now allowed the first questioning to take place, with her condition said to have dramatically improved after two months of intensive psychotherapy and medical care.
Elisabeth has now revealed details of her ordeal for the first time to Judge Andrea Hummer, who will try the case against her father. She was questioned only in the presence of the judge and her lawyer, while prosecutors and the legal representative of her father were able to ask questions via video-link from a separate room.
The hearing will continue into next week and possibly beyond that. Elisabeth’s two oldest children, who spent their entire lives in the cellar, Kerstin 19, and Stefan, 18, will also be questioned by the court as soon as doctors give their approval.
Their testimonies will be recorded and presented to the court during the trial, expected to take place by November this year, in order to honour Elisabeth’s demand that she and her children never be confronted with their father again. Fritzl has given up on his right to follow the questioning of his family and even ask them questions, together with the prosecutor and his lawyer, via video-link