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Laws Don't Apply to Social Work
June 2, 2012 permalink
Last week Christopher Booker reported that the baby daughter of Joe Ollis and Marie Black was sent back to France after British social workers took her from France to England without legal basis. Not so fast. A court ordered the girl sent back to France, but British social workers have ignored the order and are keeping her in England. In another case, a mother fled to Spain to give birth and social workers cannot retrieve the baby girl because they do not know the mother's Spanish address. In an effort to find it they ransacked the homes of three family members in Britain and are threatening to seize the missing girl's cousin if they cannot find the girl they want.
A baby is still held in Norfolk, despite judge’s orders
The High Court has ruled that a child abducted by UK social workers must be returned to France.
Last week, I reported two examples of how determined our social workers can be in tracking down families that have fled overseas, to seize their children born abroad and bring them back to Britain.
The first of these concerned the baby daughter, born three months ago to Marie and Joe who, when Marie became pregnant last year, went off to live with his mother in France. Thanks to Freedom of Information requests, we now know that Norfolk social workers spent nearly £6,000 on air fares, nearly £2,000 on hotel bills, £750 on car hire, and another £9,661 on French lawyers, to bring the baby back to Norfolk. They claimed they were entitled to do so because the child was “habitually resident” in England even though it had never lived here.
This argument was accepted by a Norwich judge. But two weeks ago, in the High Court, Mr Justice Bodey ruled that, under EU law, the British courts had no jurisdiction over the child. He ordered that, by last Friday, the baby should be handed over to the French authorities, who were also expected to comply with certain conditions.
It turns out that the French social workers, who have been involved in the case since the child was born, see no reason for their further involvement. They know Joe and Marie well, have no concerns about them, and cannot see why the baby should not simply be given directly back to its parents. They also cannot understand why they should obey the orders of a British court which admits it has no jurisdiction. But the result is that, contrary to the judge’s ruling, and to the parents’ utter dismay, the child is still being held by the Norfolk social workers.
There have also been developments in the other case, involving a couple who escaped to Spain for the birth of their daughter.
Last week I described how, in an attempt to track them down, a senior Welsh social worker led six policemen to the homes, in turn, of the mother’s mother, and her father (the grandparents are divorced) and her sister. Each was threatened with imprisonment unless they revealed the mother’s whereabouts. The grandmother was arrested and held in custody for 14 hours. The grandfather was also held in custody (though he didn’t even know that his daughter had gone abroad), and, on the orders of the social worker, the police searched each of the three homes from top to bottom, confiscating laptops, mobile phones and a camera, which they said would be returned in a month.
Now, I am told, the same social worker has told the mother’s sister that her 10-year-old daughter could be taken into care. The social worker approached the girl’s school, where a robust head teacher apparently said that he knew the family well. He and his staff had no concerns over the girl, one of their star pupils, and could see no reason for any intervention by social services. So this unhappy drama continues.
Again the question arises, as in many other cases I have followed: why did those policemen seem so willing to obey the orders of a social worker, when there appear to be no good reasons for the state to be involved in the lives of this family at all?
Source: Telegraph (UK)