“Sir James rejected a sweeping injunction designed to effectively prevent anyone in the world from seeing the film, knowing the names of the social workers involved, or even discovering the name of the local authority that applied for the order, Staffordshire County Council.” from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2413373/Top-judges-war-secret-courts-Family-hearings-exposed-glare-publicity.html
The video judges tried to block: https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=443476159069924
Father secretly records harrowing moment six-hour-old baby is taken away by social services
- Seizure by Staffordshire social workers secretly recorded on webcam
- Shows police and staff telling couple they have to take ‘baby J’ away
- Film can be shown for first time after landmark ruling
This is the moment social services took a baby away from its parents when it was just six hours old.
The infant at the centre of the Munby judgment, known only as J, was removed from its parents after his birth in April.
The father secretly filmed the seizure on a webcam attached to the family computer.
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It has long been available on the internet but an edited version can only now be published and viewed legitimately.
The views of the father and mother of the four children taken into care by Staffordshire social workers can also now be published following yesterday’s landmark judgment by President of the Family Division Sir James Munby. More…Top judge’s war on secret courts: Family hearings must be exposed to ‘glare of publicity’
The parents said social workers removed their baby because they decided their mother was incapable of bringing them up because of her learning disability.
The video shows the father holding the newborn infant at their home when social workers and police come to take it away.
In the video, the mother is clearly distraught and holds onto her baby and rocks it as her husband remonstrates with officers and council staff.
One social worker can be heard telling the parents: ‘We are going to take [baby J]. I don’t want to have to get physical.’
The mother can be heard wailing and screaming ‘no’ as social workers take her baby.
The baby’s father told the Daily Mail: ‘I taped over the light on the webcam so the social workers couldn’t see it was switched on.’
The couple – who cannot be named – have lost four children who were removed by social workers. Three have now been adopted.
The father said yesterday they have never been accused of harming their children.
Cases in which children have been taken from families with learning difficulties have been acutely controversial over the last decade.
Campaigners and some academics say over-zealous social workers have broken up families led by parents who are no threat to their children and who can look after them capably.
The father told the Daily Mail: ‘The social workers said my wife and I were in a volatile relationship. But we have been married for a long time and we do bicker a bit. We have differences of opinion.
‘There has never been violence, and nobody has ever said there is any evidence to say otherwise.’
The father said his oldest daughter was seven years old when she was taken from her parents four years ago.
‘There were no problems for seven years,’ he said. ‘Then we had a new social worker who had a different attitude.
‘My wife has a learning disability and for a period I was depressed, although that was quickly over after the GP helped. But the social worker tried to section me. The court was told that there was a risk the children would come to harm in the future.
‘They were never harmed. They were taken away as a preventative or precautionary measure.’
Sir James rejected a sweeping injunction designed to effectively prevent anyone in the world from seeing the film, knowing the names of the social workers involved, or even discovering the name of the local authority that applied for the order, Staffordshire County Council.
The father said that although social workers considered his wife disabled, the wife’s disability benefits were halted after intervention by Staffordshire council staff.
The parents, who do not work, were supported by family and by church food parcels for nearly nine months, he said, before state benefits to the wife were restored.
He said he acted as his wife’s carer.
The father, 41, had been married to the mother, 36, for 13 years.
The couple are permitted to see the eldest daughter six times a year under agreements settled in court, the father said. But he added: ‘We have only been allowed to see her once this year. She wants to come home.’
A test case in Essex in 2005 involved the parents of a four-year-old girl and a 14-month-old boy removed from their home even though they were clean, well-dressed, well fed, much loved, and had never been harmed.
The case attracted attention because Essex social workers used court injunctions to prevent the parents from discussing their children or anyone from reporting the case.
A High Court judge backed the council and said it was unrealistic for the parents to expect to bring up their children.
Sir James Munby said of Staffordshire’s attempt to silence the parents in yesterday’s case: ‘The father wishes to share information with others. Why should he not be able to do so?
‘And why should those who may wish to hear his views not be permitted to approach him?
‘This is in effect, if not in intention, a means of indirectly gagging the father so that what from the local authority’s perspective are his unpalatable views are less likely to see the light of day.’
Sir James added: ‘I simply fail to see how naming the local authority, the social workers, the local authority’s legal representative or the children’s guardian, or even all of them, can in any realistic way be said to make it likely that J will be identified, even indirectly.
‘The risk is merely fanciful