Mum who hid her children is jailed in secret for refusing to reveal where they are

Woman jailed for 28 days in latest ruling by secretive Court of Protection

•Unnamed mother failed to tell social workers where her children were
•Judges have been warned to improve transparency at controversial court

By Steve Doughty, Social Affairs Correspondent
PUBLISHED: 23:39 GMT, 1 November 2013 | UPDATED: 23:39 GMT, 1 November 2013

RCJ3

A woman has been sent to jail in secret for refusing to tell a judge where her two children are, the Daily Mail can reveal.
The woman – who cannot be named – was imprisoned for 28 days by a High Court family judge last month for failing to obey an order to tell social workers of their whereabouts.
No details of the case and the sentence for contempt of court imposed by Mrs Justice Theis have been officially released.

The Royal Courts of Justice in London, where the Court of Protection is based. An unnamed woman was imprisoned for 28 days there for failing to obey an order to tell social workers of her children’s whereabouts
The Royal Courts of Justice in London, where the Court of Protection is based. An unnamed woman was imprisoned for 28 days there for failing to obey an order to tell social workers of her children’s whereabouts

The imprisonment comes six months after the Daily Mail exposed the treatment of Wanda Maddocks, who was sent to prison in secret by the Court of Protection for her efforts to remove her father from a care home where she thought his life was in danger.
Following the Maddocks scandal, judges were instructed that no-one should be imprisoned without their name and the reason for the sentence being published.

More…
•Boy who shot dead his neo-Nazi father at age 10 is sentenced to seven years in juvenile prison
•Cocaine-addict lawyer who tipped off Mr Big about police investigation to stop his own drug habit being exposed is jailed
•Why did they free my evil daughter? Grandfather of Baby P criticises the ‘crazy decision’ to release his daughter from prison

In guidance to judges in May, the then Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, and the country’s most senior family judge Sir James Munby, warned: ‘This is mandatory. There are no exceptions.’
Officials working for Sir James have said the latest secret imprisonment is, because of a legal technicality, not subject to the rules that say contempt sentencing must be done in public.

They added that Sir James, who is president of the Family Division, is now working to close the loophole.
His private secretary Alex Clark has written to Lib Dem MP John Hemming, who has been campaigning against secrecy in the courts and who inquired about the new case. Mr Clark said Sir James will ‘look at the practice guidance again’ to see if its ‘scope can be widened’.

COURT

The Court of Protection was created in 2005 to make decisions for those not able to do so themselves, but it has come under heavy fire in several cases, many of which have been revealed exclusively by the Daily Mail

Mrs Justice Theis committed the woman to jail for contempt in a hearing at the High Court in London on October 11.
The woman’s imprisonment was, in legal terms, a committal for contempt ‘of the court’s own motion’.
Mr Clark told Mr Hemming: ‘The May guidance does not apply to cases like this one where the court commits someone to prison for contempt of its own motion during the course of other proceedings.
‘I appreciate that to a non-lawyer this may appear to be a distinction without a difference but, in law, this is the position.’
A spokesman for the judiciary said a transcript of the contempt hearing will be published on BAILII, the website on which legal rulings are posted, ‘as soon as possible’.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2483897/Mum-hid-children-jailed-secret-refusing-reveal-are.html#ixzz2ja79WCmX

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