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April 8, 2014 permalink
British Columbia father Frederick Philip Shupe has been jailed for two months for threatening an unnamed social worker. He was frustrated because social workers had ultimate control over every aspect of his children’s interactions with him.
To understand the frustration listen to British Columbia social worker Rhonda Bailey in another case on YouTube or a local copy (mp4). Mr Shupe found himself unable to follow the advice of a family lawyer: the best attitude toward social workers in child protection matters is “obsequious fawning".
Two months in jail for threatening social workers
A father of three who threatened a social worker and admitted to fantasies of holding a workplace hostage was sentenced to two months jail on Friday, Feb. 14.
The threats by Frederick Philip Shupe “destroyed the sense of peace and security of the victims and destroyed the atmosphere of the workplace,” said provincial court Judge Mayland McKimm.
In a victim impact statement, a social worker with Secwepemc Child and Family Services said she feels unsafe in her own home after the threats and had to tell her young child “someone wants to hurt mommy.”
Shupe was convicted at trial of two counts of uttering threats.
In one instance, he left a message on a social worker’s voicemail stating: “I will . . . haunt you until you die.”
In another instance, he confided to a probation officer he wanted to tie up social workers, hold them hostage and set traps for police when they came to free them.
While the phone message started out evenhanded, by the end McKimm characterized it as “intense, screaming and incredibly frightening.
“He was spiralling out of control.”
The defence argued unsuccessfully Shupe should serve a conditional sentence in the community.
McKimm said Shupe’s criminal record, including assault, robbery and multiple impaired and dangerous-driving convictions, makes jail necessary.
He also said a message needs to be given to those who intimidate social workers concerned for the safety of children, workers who showed Shupe “extraordinary tolerance.”
Shupe was also handed 12 months probation and a 10-year firearms ban.
At his sentence hearing, Shupe told McKimm he was driven by frustration at bureaucrats with ultimate control over every aspect of his children’s interactions with him.
He said he was once told by a social worker at Secwepemc Child and Family Services he was not to approach his children and their mother if he saw them in a public place.
“If I see my children anywhere in a public place, I’ll hug and kiss them and tell them I love them,” he told McKimm.
The hearing provided an insight into the complex factors courts and social workers must face in child protection — including driven and volatile parents.
Campbell called the 45-year-old man his “own worst enemy” during his interactions with bureaucrats over access to his children.
Crown lawyer Neil Flanagan called him “rude, aggressive and intimidating” — so much so the social agency’s offices were placed in a lockdown.
“He’s created a situation where it’s impossible to contact directly with Secwepemc Child and Family.
“Can you understand that?” Flanagan asked Shupe.
“Can you absorb that and change your behaviour?”
Campbell said Shupe has been sober for 11 months.
“He’s worked hard, as hard as any client I’ve had to keep his life on track,” said Campbell, adding Shupe is locked in a battle of wills with social workers — a battle he cannot win but nonetheless continues.
“This is a situation where he’s reduced to 20-minute supervised calls with his children,” Campbell said.
The lawyer, who has extensive family-court experience, said he advises clients their best attitude toward social workers in child protection matters is “obsequious fawning.
“As soon as you get on their bad side, you’re doomed.”
In one instance, social workers refused to let Shupe’s children eat lunch with him at the New Life Mission, where he resides and is undergoing a treatment program.
“They [social workers] deal with way too many cases and have way too few resources,” McKimm said, adding while the rule against the children’s lunch at the Mission may be “absurd,” Shupe has to live with their rules.
“Why would he do that it they’ve told him not to do it?” he asked during the hearing.
Campbell also presented letters of support, including one from a psychiatrist who diagnosed Shupe with post-traumatic stress syndrome. He is on medication for his mental health.
Lawyers said Shupe’s problems began when he voluntarily agreed his three children could go into ministry care after officials found his home was not clean enough.
He argued he was working full-time in forestry and was overtaxed at the time and also drinking.
Shupe was convicted in 2011 of an assault on a son from another relationship in a dispute over a computer.
He was jailed 60 days.
Flanagan said letters and threatening behaviour to social workers began after his release from jail in 2011.
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What the headline fails to divulge is skewed perspective: Philip Shupe, a father who feared for the safety of his children and alienation, responded in a manner most in keeping with appropriate parental emotional reaction; to protect his offspring from harm. (He is in reality, a good man, a gentle one who loves his children very, very much.)
Source: Kamloops This Week