LATEST BOOKER ARTICLE “SUNDAY TELEGRAPH” 3 MARCH 2012=
“We already have unjust secret courts
Behind a wall of secrecy, the family courts routinely turn all the familiar principles of justice upside down.
Dreyfus was convicted on the basis of evicence shown to the judge in secret Photo: ALAMY By Christopher Booker
7:00PM GMT 03 Mar 2012
There was outrage last week over government plans to extend the degree to which our courts can operate in secret. David Davis, former shadow home secretary, claimed that such “a regime of secret courts and hidden judgments”, where defendants could not even be “told the evidence against them”, were worthy only of “despotic one-party states such as Syria, Iran and North Korea”. A letter from 57 of the 69 lawyers already familiar with such practices, from their work on terrorist cases, protested that extending this system would “represent a departure from the foundational principles of natural justice that all parties are allowed to see and challenge all the evidence relied on before the court”.
However shocking this may sound, though, it is already the system which operates in our family courts. Behind a wall of secrecy, they routinely turn all the familiar principles of justice upside down in just this way. Among the dozens of cases I have reported where children are removed from their parents, often for what appear the most absurd reasons, I have been astonished to hear how judges accept extraordinary claims by social workers and lawyers without allowing the parents to challenge them. Hearsay evidence is accepted in a way that would never be allowed in a normal court, and parents are condemned on evidence they are not allowed to see.
One such case I compared recently to the Dreyfus affair – which turned on evidence supplied to his judges but withheld from him. Yet in our family courts such travesties of justice are commonplace. I shall return to this particular case in a future column. I must add an update, however, on the case I reported last week, where a mother faced imprisonment because her teenage children, two of them in care, had been communicating on Facebook. On Monday, the judge decided to adjourn the hearing for two months. I can say no more –thanks to that secrecy which conceals abuses of justice just as shocking as anything David Davis and others protested about so eloquently last week.
Comments on this story are disabled for legal reasons.”
29 10 2011 – Christopher Booker – MUSA
Lord Justice Wall takes on an alarming child-snatching case
This seems to be a classic instance of the way social workers make a crashing initial mistake, then add ever more questionable allegations to defend their blunder.
“Sunday Telegraph” reporter Christopher Bookers articles about the Musa family ordeal at the hands of Haringey council:
The mystery of Haringey’s missing ‘Girl X’ makes a mockery of the Children Act
The family of a girl taken into care have not seen or heard from her for 10 months, writes Christopher Booker.
Torn apart: the system of child protection is a national scandal
7:00PM BST 11 Jun 2011
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7870342/Forced-adoption-is-a-truly-dreadful-scandal.html 3 July 2010
My last case is so shocking that I will return to it in more detail at a later date. It centres on a London couple who, earlier this year, had their six children seized by social workers on what appears to be flimsy hearsay evidence (I have seen the court papers). The mother was pregnant again. Last month, after the boy was born, three social workers and five policemen entered the hospital ward where she was breastfeeding at 3am, wresting the baby from her by force. They then discovered that they had nowhere to keep him. The boy was put into intensive care, where his mother was taken to breastfeed him for four days, until she was fit to leave the hospital. She saw her baby for the last time two weeks ago. I will return to this story when I have had some explanation from the council responsible.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7896592/Its-time-to-bring-family-law-to-book.html 17 7 2010
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7946155/Forced-adoption-social-workers-surreal-investigation-recalls-satanic-abuse-scandals.html 14 Aug 2010 This entire article is about the musa family.
By Christopher Booker 6:39PM BST 17 Jul 2010 107 Comments
I have never, in all my years as a journalist, felt so frustrated as I do over two deeply disturbing stories of apparent injustice that cry out to be reported but which, for legal reasons, I can refer to only in the vaguest terms. To cover them as they deserve, and as the victims so desperately wish, would challenge a part of our legal system shrouded in an almost impenetrable veil of secrecy.
D} http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/8098952/Child-protection-MPs-must-act-on-the-scandal-of-seized-children.html 30 Oct 2010 This is a very general article – not specifically about the M family, but give an idea of what they are going through.
E} http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7946155/Forced-adoption-social-workers-surreal-investigation-recalls-satanic-abuse-scandals.html 14 8 2010
There could have been few more bizarre meetings anywhere in Britain last week than that between a married mother and the social workers who had taken her six young children to place them unhappily in foster care. The officials, of a council I cannot name, are fixated with the idea that this respectable Christian is a “sex worker”, whose children all have different fathers and who is engaged in “child trafficking”.
many more articles on the MUSA case by C Booker…b.