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Penetrating Anonymity

May 31, 2014 permalink

Enclosed below is the story of the baby with no name. First a report based solely on the judge's opinion. It shows a dangerous and uncaring family unfit to care for a child put up for adoption. The parents refused to give the boy a name, and the father assaulted his social worker. Then Christopher Booker's report. He penetrated the anonymity to disclose the rest of the story. The Hindu parents reserved naming the child until conducting a private religious ceremony known as Namakarana. As long as social workers insisted on attending the ceremony, it could not take place. The father punching the social worker? The thin-skinned social worker could not take criticism from the father and resorted to punching. The father's blow was in self defense.

Fixcas has repeatedly warned of relying on anonymous stories identifying the parties only by first names or initials. This case illustrates the peril.



Child with no name must be adopted, judge rules

Father behind 'emotionally harmful' decision not to name child, judge says

A judge has ruled that a five-month-old baby boy should be taken away from his parents in part because the child had not yet been given a first name.

Mrs Justice Parker said one of her concerns in an adoption ruling was that the baby at the centre of the case had not been named by his parents.

Ordering that the child should be taken into care, the judge said the father had been behind the "emotionally harmful" decision not to name the boy.

"His father has refused to give him a name," said Mrs Justice Parker in her ruling.

"I think ideally the mother independently would not have taken that view."

The judge said the boy was starting to acquire language, and added: "Every child needs a name."

She went on: "I truly think that it is emotionally harmful not to give a child a name."

The judge decided that the baby should be taken into care after being told how his father had assaulted one social worker and threatened to kill another.

She said the father appeared to have become frustrated by what he saw as an "invasive" approach by social services staff - and she said she thought that he could be "dangerous".

She also had concerns about the vulnerability of the baby's mother, who had been diagnosed with a learning difficulty.

Mrs Justice Parker outlined her reasoning in a public ruling following a private hearing at a family court in Watford.

The judge said the couple's two-year-old son was taken into care last year after another judge raised similar fears and described the father's behaviour towards social services staff as "dangerous".

She said the baby had been taken into interim care days after his birth, pending a final court ruling on his future.

Mrs Justice Parker described a history of problems between the father and social services staff in her ruling.

The judge said the father did not think his partner needed local authority support when looking after children, and believed he could provide all the support she needed.

He appeared to have become "increasingly frustrated and intolerant" about what he thought was an "invasive approach" by social services staff.

He had punched a male social worker in the face a number of times at a court hearing last year and had been convicted of threatening to kill a female social worker, she said.

Mrs Justice Parker said there was no evidence that the father or mother had deliberately physically harmed either of their sons.

"This is a terribly sad case because father and mother, each of them, have many excellent qualities," said the judge. "It is absolutely plain to me that both of them love each of their sons, their boys, from the bottom of their hearts."

But she said she was "quite clear" that a placement for adoption was the only answer.

She said no other family member was available to care for the baby.

The father says he and his partner aim to appeal.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

The real story of the 'baby with no name’

A stressed father had to leave his £90k job after his son was sent for adoption - but the public were not told the full story

Justice Munby
Lord Justice Munby has insisted that more family court judgments be published
Photo: Brian Smith

When Lord Justice Munby last year launched his admirable campaign to clean up our family courts from the growing stench of scandal surrounding the way they work, his priority was to strip away that self-protective veil of secrecy that has allowed so many abuses to flourish. His first move, on becoming head of the family division, was to insist that more judgments be published. But, welcome though this was, it is not easy for outsiders to grasp just how biased so many judgments have become without knowing how fairly the hearings that lead up to them are conducted, and how much the judgments themselves leave out.

An excellent example of this was the widely reported judgment last week by Mrs Justice Parker, in a case described as that of “the baby with no name”, whose father had “assaulted one social worker and threatened to kill another”. Nowhere did these reports explain why the father had refused to allow his son to be named, any more than they did those other two seemingly damning incidents. Yet having spoken to more than one person professionally involved in this case (but not to the parents), I understand that a full account of the circumstances behind them might have given the public a very different picture.

The father, who until recently held a senior position in a large company, is a British Indian and a devout Hindu. Ten years ago, when the mother was very young, she had a child with a man who left her. Her difficulties in coping on her own drew the attention of social services and the baby was given to the father. When eventually she met her present Hindu partner and had a second child, Hertfordshire social workers won a supervision order to ensure that her new son was being properly cared for.

But the Indian father, although said to be “normally a peaceable man who treats everyone with respect”, could not hide his increasing impatience at the constant intrusions of social workers into his family’s life, to the point where they applied to take the boy into care. A judge accepted that the child was “thriving”, but ruled that, because of the father’s “hostility” to the social workers, the boy should go into foster care. Outside the court, the father accused a social worker of having “lied” in his evidence. The social worker, as confirmed by a lawyer present, punched him on the shoulder. The father, in self-defence, took a swing at his head, and was fined £430 for assault.

Solely because of this background, when the mother had another baby, it was immediately taken into care. The parents were anxious to have their child named according to Hindu tradition, which involves a temple ceremony, Namakarana, which only the parents, close family and friends can attend. But the social workers insisted that they be present, lest the family “abduct” the child.

The father explained that this could not be allowed. During this impasse, the father, en route to discuss his case in Brussels, was stopped by police, who removed his laptop. In trying to explain his story, he admitted that he would like to do one social worker “significant harm” (his words were recorded).

None of this emerged from last week’s press reports on Justice Parker’s judgment. They record that she dwelt on the father’s assault on one social worker, his threat to “kill” another, and his refusal, for seemingly gratuitous reasons, to allow his son to be named. They quoted her as conceding that the parents had “excellent qualities” and had not physically harmed their baby in any way. She said that they obviously “loved each of their sons from the bottom of their hearts”. But the father’s “increasing hostility to social workers” and his “emotional abuse” of his son by not allowing his naming, created a “high risk of emotional harm” in the future. The baby must therefore be sent for adoption,

The strain and time involved in these court battles so impaired the father’s ability to carry out his £90,000-a-year job that last week he was forced to resign.

The parents are now being urged by their legal advisers to take both cases to the Court of Appeal. Under Lord Justice Munby’s new guidelines, the judgment will soon be published in full. But whether this will help outsiders to understand the full story behind what Justice Parker herself described as a “terribly sad case” is another matter.

Source: Telegraph (UK)