We represent the Respondent Mother (who has learning difficulties) in an ongoing complex Children Act matter. In October 2017, the Applicant Father issued a Child Arrangements application for contact with the parties’ daughter and then-unborn son.
We were approached by the Respondent Mother in November 2017. She expressed that she had fled to her parents’ address on 6 September 2017. She alleged the Father had isolated her and their daughter from family, friends, and peers, and had emotionally, psychologically, financially, and sexually abused her throughout their four-year relationship/marriage. The Mother explained she was forced to leave university, have their baby, and get married. We immediately issued an ex-parte Non-Molestation Order and Prohibited Steps Order to protect the Mother, daughter and unborn child from any further abuse at the hands of the Father, which we were successful in obtaining.
During their relationship Mother alleges that the Father tactically informed all professionals and police that she was at risk of honour-based violence from her parents, which assisted him in isolating her further through the assistance of professionals, where her address was kept confidential from her family and close friends. The Respondent Mother states that he would make her rehearse lines that he permitted her to say to professionals during her hospital visits. The Respondent Mother and her family allege that the Father extorted her parents for money in exchange for limited contact with Respondent Mother and grandchild. It is alleged that the Respondent Mother was not allowed to bath for months or eat food if she disobeyed him and he would shout in their daughter’s face.
After the Mother fled, the Father entered into a new relationship with a teacher who was approximately 20 years older than him who had two boys of her own. In these proceedings the Applicant’s new girlfriend provided a social worker with a supporting statement that she was one month pregnant, that he was a good father figure to her two boys, and could provide a loving relationship to his own children. However, during these proceedings it came to light that Father has also isolated his new girlfriend and her children, removing them from London to Wales. Although the court had previously granted the disclosure of the Cardiff report being, the S7 and S37 in this case, at a directions hearing before HHJ Jacklin, who was new to the case, directed that these papers be removed as it was not relevant to the matter. This was appealed by the Respondent Mother which was heard at the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal found that there was similar fact evidence involving propensity, which was highly relevant in both, the fact finding hearing and welfare decision in this case and to exclude this evidence that had probative value in relation to the core allegations in this matter.
The matter is listed for a 10-day fact finding hearing before an allocated High Court judge, which has recently commenced.
The Respondent Mother is represented by family law solicitor Michelle Lubelle and director Adeeba Naseem. Counsel Maggie Jones of Garden Court Chambers.