In his excellent book, Nick Davies explains what he means by “Flat Earth news”:
A story appears to be true. It is widely accepted as true. It becomes a heresy to suggest that it is not true – even if it is riddled with falsehood, distortion and propaganda.
The process of Flat Earth news making is assisted by the media. The heart of modern journalism, Davies says, is
the rapid repackaging of largely second-hand material, much of it designed to service the political or commercial interests of those who provide it.
This, Davies says, explains why someone with an agenda
can simply slide his unreliable publicity stunt direct into the mass media and see it relayed around the world.
Last weekend a comment piece by Christopher Booker was published on the Telegraph website (at 6.06 pm on November 29) and in the Sunday Telegraph. Its title,
‘Operate on this mother so that we can take her baby’
implied that someone wanted surgery to be performed on a pregnant woman for the purpose of taking her baby from her. Booker reported that a pregnant Italian woman visiting England, whose two children
were with her mother back in Italy
something of a panic attack
whereupon she was “sectioned” under the Mental Health Act. Five weeks later, Booker told us, the woman was sedated. When she woke up
She was not allowed to see her baby daughter, and later learnt that a High Court judge, Mr Justice Mostyn, had given the social workers permission to arrange for the child to be delivered.
At a later court hearing in October 2012, Booker told us, the mother was
told she would be escorted back to Italy without her baby
And in February 2013 a judge in Chelmsford ruled that the baby should be placed for adoption. Essex Social Services, Booker told us, have refused to place the child in Los Angeles with the sister of the Italian mother’s former husband, and father of the first of her children. Finally, we were told by Booker that
Also now involved is John Hemming MP, who has previously helped other foreign parents to win back their children from Britain’s “child protection” system
On John Hemming’s blog (at 7.52 pm on November 29, within a couple of hours of Booker’s piece appearing on the web) entitled
Careful visiting the UK whilst pregnant. They just might take your baby for adoption
the MP linked to the Booker article and wrote that
This story in The Telegraph is a step beyond the normal abuses in the family courts (and court of protection). This was a pregnant mother visiting the UK for a training course lasting only two weeks. It ends up with her baby being taken through a forcible cesarian and then placed for adoption for the usual spurious reasons that are used … The Italian case is one about which more will be heard.
On Monday and again on Tuesday, Hemming blogged suggesting he would raise the case in Parliament.
So who are Christopher Booker and John Hemming?
Booker is a well-known journalist with some unusual views – on asbestos, which he says isn’t dangerous (writing in 2008 in the Guardian on this, George Monbiot called Booker “the patron saint of charlatans”), on creationism (which he seems to support) and on climate change (perhaps you can guess what his views are). Richard Wilson’s blog is fascinating reading for anyone interested in Christopher Booker’s views.
The case of the Italian mother is not Booker’s first about social workers and the family courts. In fact he’s often written about them. In a piece in July 2010 he said
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
and talked of
one of the greatest scandals in Britain today – the seizing of children by social workers from loving families, on what appears to be the flimsiest and most questionable grounds.
and in another piece dated October 9 2010 he talked of
a most alarming case that I have been reporting here in recent months, involving Coventry’s forcible seizure of a baby
In 2011 both these pieces were criticised by His Honour Judge Bellamy in the Family Division of the High Court in Re L. He said (paras. 187-188 of the judgment):
Mr Booker’s articles contain significant factual errors and omissions. In the first article Mr Booker gives the impression that it was ‘faint bruising’ which prompted the parents to take L to hospital and which gave rise to what he clearly regards as the over-zealous and unjustified actions of social workers working for the same local authority so recently criticised by me in Re X, Y and Z (Children). As he will come to understand when he reads this judgment, it was in fact L’s floppy arm which prompted his parents to take him to hospital. That floppy arm was the result of a spiral fracture of his left humerus. X-rays showed that he also had six metaphyseal fractures. In his first article Mr Booker makes no mention of any of those fractures. It was those fractures which led to the safeguarding measures taken – and in my judgment appropriately taken – by this hospital and by this local authority.
In his second article Mr Booker asserts as fact that in this case ‘the council has depended, in its campaign to seize this baby, on the same controversial paediatrician about whom the judge was so excoriatory’. … I shall refer to that doctor, as I did in Re X, Y and Z (Children), as Dr M. At no time has Dr M had any involvement at all in the case I am now concerned with. Indeed, to the best of my recollection his name has never even been suggested as a possible expert to be used in this case.
The text of Booker’s July 2010 piece has since been changed to refer to a floppy arm rather than bruising; I don’t think the October 2010 piece has been changed.
John Hemming MP is the Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, and a man who’s also shown a close interest in social workers and care proceedings. I’ve written quite a bit about him, and so has Unity at Ministry of Truth.
In 2008 Hemming acted as McKenzie friend to a woman referred to by the High Court as RP, whose child had been taken into care. Even though she was represented by the Official Solicitor, John Hemming was allowed by the court to make submissions on her behalf. As I wrote in 2011, Hemming criticised the involvement of the Official Solicitor, and said the clinical psychologist who assessed RP was “biased”. He also suggested a trainee solicitor has fabricated notes.
In his judgment, the then President of the Family Division of the High Court, Sir Nicholas Wall, rejected Hemming’s allegations against the psychologist (paras. 124-125):
Even more unarguable – indeed it is outrageous – is Mr Hemming’s allegation that HJ was the paid expert of the local authority. She was nothing of the kind. Such an allegation is not only without any evidential foundation of any kind: it is plainly contradicted by the evidence. Mr. Hemming’s allegation that HJ is part of an “evil” system only warrants comment because it comes from a Member of Parliament, and thus from a person in a responsible public position whom one ought to be able to trust only to make serious accusations when they are based on evidence. I am astonished that somebody in Mr. Hemming’s position should have seen fit to put such a disgraceful allegation into the public domain. I reject it unreservedly.
He also rejected the allegation against the trainee solicitor, saying (para. 88)
I find it not only unacceptable but shocking, that a man in Mr Hemming’s position should feel able to make so serious an allegation without any evidence to support it. In my judgment, it is irresponsible and an abuse of his position. Unfortunately, as other aspects of this judgment will make clear, it is not the only part of the case in which Mr Hemming has been willing to scatter unfounded allegations of professional impropriety and malpractice without any evidence to support them.
And summarising his views of John Hemming, he said (paras. 164 and 168)
… the danger of the mother’s approach, reinforced as it has been, in my judgment, by Mr Hemming’s partial and tendentious advice, is that it has been entirely adult focused. Not once in his argument did he mention the welfare of KP. His emphasis, and that of RP was entirely on her rights and the alleged wrongs which had been done to her …
As to Mr. Hemming, my judgment is that his self-imposed role as a critic of the family justice system is gravely damaged, and speaking for myself I will not be persuaded to take seriously any criticism made by him in the future unless it is corroborated by reliable, independent evidence.
In 2011, on April 26, Hemming used Parliamentary Privilege to name a woman involved in child care proceedings who he said had been threatened with prison by a local authority for speaking at a meeting in Parliament which he chaired. At that stage I didn’t name the woman myself when I wrote about what he’d done, mindful of section 97(2) of the Children Act 1989 – although John Hemming, commenting on my blogpost, tried to do so. A few days later on April 30 Christopher Booker wrote about the case, naming the woman who he suggested was fleeing
But in August 2011 the President of the Family Division Sir Nicholas Wall (yes, him again) named the woman in court as Vicky Haigh. His published judgment makes clear that the child’s father was not, as Vicky Haigh had alleged by, a paedophile; and (paragraph 12) that
Ms Haigh … is not only unable to accept the judges’ findings but has put into the public domain the false allegations that she has not had justice and that X, contrary to both judges’ findings, has been sexually abused by her father. Those allegations have been posted on the worldwide web and are in the public domain. In addition, the mother has circulated the allegations to the parents of X’s school and to Mr. Tune’s fellow employees at his place of work. All this, of course, has been done illicitly and in breach of orders of the court.
It was for that reason that the court had made an order preventing Ms Haigh from publicising the details of the case. The order was to protect the anonymity of the child. On this blog, I asked
Can we take at face value Hemming’s implication that he’s only ever been interested in the free speech aspect of this, and not in giving oxygen to the complaints of Vicky Haigh and her supporters about the care case?
Hemming had made a comment here explaining his decision to name Vicky Haigh, as follows:
the point about her name being known publicly is that those people who know here (which is a lot) can then check whether they think the state is at fault or not.
When I pressed him more than once on what he could have meant about enabling people to check whether the state is at fault – except that his naming Vicky Haigh meant people could now search for any “information” about her case on the internet – he never answered. Before we leave the Vicky Haigh case, I must quote paragraph 34 of Sir Nicholas Wall’s judgment, which contains good advice for us all. The emphasis is his:
Any person who embraces one party’s version of events and treats it as the whole truth is making a serious mistake. In most family cases the version given by one side is partial and tendentious; on any view it does not give the other side. The only sensible course is to see what the court says in a judgment on all the evidence. Hence, the rule in English law that a court’s judgment is authoritative, based as it is on all the evidence, is not only sound in law but founded in good sense.
John Hemming made an official complaint against Sir Nicholas Wall in 2008. We know that because Christopher Booker told us so. What he didn’t mention was the outcome of the complaint.
And so, two thousand words in to this blogpost, I return to the case of the Italian mother, now known in the media as the “forced caesarian” case, raised as we know by Christopher Booker and championed by John Hemming, who has tabled an Early Day Motion – number 830 – about it (thanks to David Boothroyd for drawing my attention to it).
I’ll remind you that Christopher Booker’s original report of the case last weekend gave the impression that a pregnant Italian woman whose children were with her mother back in Italy had had something of a panic attack, and as a result was “sectioned”. One day she woke up and was not allowed to see her baby daughter; then she learnt that a High Court judge had given social workers permission to arrange for the child to be delivered by caesarian section. Booker’s piece implied that the surgery was done with the purpose of taking the child. Finally the mother was told she would be escorted back to Italy without her baby.
The Booker version of the case created a storm on Twitter, predictably enough (I’m not sure what stage the storm is now at) and moved Shami Chakrabarti to say
At first blush this is dystopian science-fiction unworthy of a democracy like ours. Forced surgery and separation of mother and infant is the stuff of nightmares.
She was at least sensible enough to qualify her reaction as “at first blush”. Many tweeters were less cautious. Journalists also got in on the act. Here’s Salon.com initially reporting the Booker version uncritically and calling it “the latest violation of women’s rights”. Here’s Slate.com, saying
Don’t travel abroad while pregnant because you could have your baby forcibly removed from your womb. That’s what seems to have happened to an Italian woman who, while pregnant and on a business trip to Britain, had some sort of mental health episode and was forcibly committed. While in the psychiatric hospital, Essex social services obtained a court order to force a C-section on the woman and take the newborn into custody.
And here’s the Guardian, saying
We do not know the full details of the Essex case, but reports suggest that the woman sought help for a panic attack (possibly a result of failing to take medication for a pre-existing mental health condition). She was taken to a psychiatric unit, sectioned under the Mental Health Act and hospitalised for five weeks before being sedated and given a caesarean section without her knowledge, let alone consent. There is no suggestion the caesarean was necessary to protect her health or life, only that it was requested by social services to remove the baby for child protection purposes.
This is the Booker version served with sauce.
At this point, it’s worth taking a few minutes to ask yourself how plausible the Booker version actually sounded. How likely do you think it is that a woman was detained under mental health legislation for five weeks simply because of “something of a panic attack”? How likely was it that social workers wanted to make sure a caesarian section was performed on the woman just so that they could get their hands on her baby, and could either persuade a judge to agree, or fabricate some other reason? How likely was it that doctors would perform that surgery if (as the Guardian said in an embellishment, or spelling out, of the Booker version) there was no suggestion the caesarean was necessary to protect the mother’s health?
Of course we actually knew very little about what happened. But unless you harbour conspiracy theories about judges, the NHS and social workers, you probably think this sort of thing sounds unlikely, and want proper evidence before believing it. You’d be right.
Essex County Council said in a statement on Monday that it was a health trust (presumably an NHS trust) which sought permission from the court to perform a caesarian section because of concerns about risks to mother and child. Essex said the mother was able to see her baby on the day of birth and the following day. Essex say social workers obtained an interim care order from the County Court because the mother was too unwell to care for her child. They say the mother has two other children which she is unable to care for due to orders made by the Italian authorities. They say social workers liaised with the extended family before and after the birth of the baby to establish if anyone could care for the child. They say the Italian courts have ruled that child should remain in England, and that in October 2013 they got permission from the County Court to place the child for adoption.
Essex’s version clearly contradicted Christopher Booker, who said it was social workers who’d been given permission to arrange for the child to be delivered and that the mother was not allowed to see her baby daughter. Of course Essex’s is only one side of the story, and may well not give the full picture. But given the track record of Christopher Booker and John Hemming, it was right to accept it until it was demonstrated to be wrong. To be fair, at that stage lamentably few people knew their track record.
But since then we’ve also seen His Honour Judge Newton’s County Court judgment in the car and adoption proceedings, dated February 1 2013. From that judgment it seems (para. 4) that the mother has been detained in Italian psychiatric hospitals twice (paras. 5 and 6), and that
the situation when the mother has not taken her medication is that she has had a number of very intrusive paranoid delusions.
All Christopher Booker told us was that she’d had something of a panic attack.
It seems the Italian courts have placed her two other children with their grandmother because the mother is unable to look after them. One of the children has, the judge said (para. 5)
been both traumatised and indeed has been terrorised, not by the mother’s behaviour, but by what it is that she has witnessed and in particular her mother being profoundly unwell.
It also seems that at some point (para. 6) the Italian court restricted the children’s contact with their mother, and (para. 7) in 2012 there were ongoing legal proceedings in Italy in relation to them.
All Christopher Booker told us was that the Italian woman’s other children were with her mother back in Italy. As though the grandmother were just minding them during the mother’s trip to England.
It seems (para. 8) that a District Judge gave permission for social workers to withhold contact between the mother and baby. It seems doctors at one stage wanted the baby placed with the mother in hospital, but HHJ Newton says (para. 8)
I was and remain deeply concerned about that. It might have been in the mother’s interests but I think the mother, today, would understand that it would not have been in P’s interests for that to have occurred.
It seems (paragraph 9) that the mother was escorted back to Italy because she wanted to go there. The judge was critical of doctors for that, because in his view that she was still too mentally ill at that stage, and because her return to Italy reduced the chances of her getting the baby back.
All Christopher Booker told us was that she was told she would be escorted back to Italy without her baby. As though she’d been deported.
From the adoption judgment it does not seem to have been argued that the new baby should be cared for by its grandmother. The judge concluded (para. 20) that no one in the extended family could look after the child. He rejected the claim of the father. His immigration status in Italy is unclear and (para. 1) although he had been visited in Italy by social workers and the child’s guardian ad litem, and although the judge had given him permission to take part in the proceedings, he had not done so.
And now we also have Mr Justice Mostyn’s ruling on the caesarian section application by the NHS trust, together with a note from Mr Justice Mostyn, in which he says
the application to me was not made by the local authority or social workers. Rather, it was an urgent application first made at 16:16 on 23 August 2012 by the NHS Trust, supported by the clear evidence of a consultant obstetrician and the patient’s own treating consultant psychiatrist, seeking a declaration and order that it would be in the medical best interests of this seriously mentally ill and incapacitated patient, who had undergone two previous elective caesarean sections, to have this birth, the due date of which was imminent (she was 39 weeks pregnant), in the same manner.
The patient was represented by the Official Solicitor who instructed a Queen’s Counsel on her behalf. He did not seek an adjournment and did not oppose the application, agreeing that the proposed delivery by caesarean section was in the best interests of the patient herself who risked uterine rupture with a natural vaginal birth. I agreed that the medical evidence was clear and, applying binding authority from the Court of Appeal concerning cases of this nature, as well as the express terms of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, made the orders and declarations that were sought.
The ruling makes it crystal clear that permission for the surgery was sought because psychiatrists said the patient was suffering from psychotic episodes and delusional beliefs (in fact the NHS trust’s barrister said she had a schizophrenic disorder which was psychotic in nature) and because her obstetrician said there was a risk of uterine rupture.
So the key claim that social workers sought this surgery in order to take the child is shown to be false.
The adoption proceedings are ongoing, and will now be heard in the High Court by Sir James Munby, who is Sir Nicholas Wall’s successor as President of the Family Division.
Some people of course were sensible enough to see through the Flat Earth news from the very beginning. Many Tweeters (sorry: you’re too numerous to name individually) urged caution. The family law barrister Lucy Reed wrote an excellent blogpost on Monday. Adam Wagner wrote about it yesterday, and linked to posts by Elisabeth Prochaska and Suspicious Minds. Dr Evan Harris wrote at Liberal Democrat Voice questioning the Booker version. Buzzfeed admirably came out early with a piece declaring the original story wrong (its piece has since been updated to take account of Mostyn J’s ruling).
It’s worth noting that Tom Phillips, the journalist who wrote that Buzzfeed piece, had also written the “Pricehound” story I linked to above about the “29 stages of a Twitterstorm”. That shows two things: first, that an instinct for satire and commitment to truth are related; and second, that it may be new media which best understands, in this viral age, how to tell Flat Earth news from the real thing.
But from far too much of the media we’ve had an entirely one-sided, sensationalist and churnalistic approach to this story. Even now that Mostyn J’s ruling is public, destroying conspiracy theories about the caesarian, I imagine some Twitter users will continue to mine Italian media reports to feed speculation and grind axes about the adoption. They should stop.
We still do not know everything about this case, of course. It may be that the adoption decision was taken too lightly – Lucy Reed in her blogpost wondered whether it can now stand in the light of the Court of Appeal’s judgment in Re B-S (Children) in September, in which Sir James Munby said (para. 30):
We have real concerns, shared by other judges, about the recurrent inadequacy of the analysis and reasoning put forward in support of the case for adoption, both in the materials put before the court by local authorities and guardians and also in too many judgments. This is nothing new. But it is time to call a halt.
Social workers can get things wrong, as can judges – and if they’ve done so in this case, I’ve no doubt we’ll find out when this case gets before Sir James. Even a stopped clock is sometimes right, and it may turn out that somewhere in all this the Bookers and Hemmings, and all the ignorant armchair critics of what’s happened in this case, have stumbled upon a point. But even if they have, that won’t justify Christopher Booker’s Flat Earth story –
‘Operate on this mother so that we can take her baby’
this has a fair chance of being the worst case of human-rights abuse I’ve ever seen.
To adapt Sir Nicholas Wall’s words, these men’s self-imposed role as critics of the family justice system is surely now damaged beyond repair. Not only social workers and NHS doctors, who’ve been unfairly smeared in all the speculation, but mentally ill people, vulnerable children and the general reading public deserve better than for their Flat Earth news ever again to be uncritically boosted as it has this week.Carl Gardner2013-12-05T04:47:30+00:00
Nicely said, I think you’ve summed it up well.
You missed that the solicitor in the case is Brendan Fleming.
[…] Booker, Hemming and the “forced caesarian” case: a masterclass in Flat Earth news [Head of Legal] […]
While it didn’t trigger any particular alarm bells this time, in many of these Flat Earth stories I see something that, in terms of simple arithmetic, literally doesn’t add up. And the same for some of the real schemes of those in power. Some soberly reported news stories resemble the pleas for help made by desperate widows of Nigerian politicians.
But they have degrees in journalism, and I do not. I merely have a facility for stringing words together in a mostly coherent sequence.
About Brendan Fleming: http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed111671
Bravo! Great article
Having read most of the newspaper reports on this case, many of the blog posts, and the two available judgements from HHJ Newton and Mostyn, J, I can honestly say that it seems to me that this lady has really recieved a deplorable service from the English authorities be that the family justice system, Essex County Council, and possibly the Mid-Essex NHS Hospital Trust.
I would be the first to admit that the story I read in the Telegraph was so obviously hyperbolized and embellished, and the language used was so colourful and trenchant, that I was minded to read what was being said with caution. That said, having since read the judgements, I am not necessarily persuaded that the content (certainly the gist) of what was said to be either misreported or misguided.
Yes, Booker did talk about her having a panic attack but he also mentions that she suffers from bipolar affective disorder, which for me, explained why she would have been admitted to hospital persuant to a provision of the Mental Health Act.
Excellent piece. The likes of Christopher Booker shame journalism, and those that took his bait unthinkingly, need to take a good look at themselves.
Sorry, hit publish by accident before I had finished.
‘Operate on this mother so that we can take her baby’ is very inflammatory but it isn’t necessarily that far from the truth. The hospital obviously felt that it was medically necessary for a C.Section to be performed because of the 1% risk of uterine rupture (meaning she was 5 times more like to have a rupture than a lady who had previously delivered naturally). That said, many many women, with capacity still choose normal delivery in spite of the risk. Was this lady given the information she needed in order to help her to decide which is a reqirement of the MCA 2005? Who knows.
It is also telling that they choose to do a general anasthetic which is very rarely used. Was this the least restrictive option? Was this in her best interests? Or, was this to make life easier for the medics performing the procedure. General Anasthetics have their own inherent risk.
And also, we’re social services not planning to be there with the police ready and waiting to take the baby away without the mother even ever casting an eye on her? It was only for the intervention of Mostyn, J who recognised the barbaric nature of this intervention that this was not carried out. In any event, one can be forgiven for thinking that the decision to remove this child was predetermined be it by section 46 or section 38 (8). The court seemed to act as a rubberstamp in the whole process of removal.
Finally, the analysis and reasoning in the judgement of HHJ Newton is so sparse and lacking so as to be almost useless. For a mother to have a child permantly removed from her after a one day hearing with a judgement given extempore, and behind closed door, seems too draconian to envisage in my respectful view.
I accept that there is a lot we don’t know about this sorry situation. There is a lot we may never know. What it highlights to me is an ever pressing need for the family courts to be far more transparent than they are. Their decisions need a lot more light shone on them. The public must be able to scrutinise decision made in its name!
I am a social worker employed in an Emergency Duty Team and have been for over 20 years. I’m really pleased that you have published such a robust piece making such correction to a lot of the rubbish that has been published about this case. But you really needn’t have gone into all this detail in order to discredit the two “journalists”. This is far too long! Do edit yourself or you will lose your readers half way through.
You talk about agendas, and then talk of ‘odd views’ and put ‘asbestos is safe’, ‘creationism’ and ‘climate change’ in the same bracket.
Heal thyself muppet.
You also fail to cover the obvious question/issue of why the baby should be put up for adoption by/in the UK, rather than handed to Italian authorities to deal with.
As a mother with bipolar disorder who has suffered from paranoid delusions I have been horrified by the coverage of this case. To go through labour while paranoid and psychotic, unable to understand either why you are in pain or that the people around you are trying to help, would quite literally be one of the most dreadful experiences that I can imagine, and if this woman was that ill a caesarian would absolutely be the only humane way to proceed.
There seems to be a general refusal, particularly in the liberal press and blogosphere, to accept that really serious mental illness and a consequent lack of capacity exists any more, a belief that everything can be done by consent and that anything else is merely prejudice against the mentally unwell. It’s an understandable backlash against the time when we were routinely denied our rights but it does those of us who occasionally really cannot make decisions for ourselves no favours. In this case it seems from the limited information supplied that the court was definitely the appropriate places for the issue to be raised and a decision to be made in light of medical advice.
It had to be this long, I’m afraid. I’ve written lots about John Hemming before, and so have quite a few others, but very few people seem aware of his record and approach in child care cases.
It was essential to give readers substantial context, and to look in a fairly detailed way at how this story came into being and has developed – all in once place. Hence the need for such length.
Claire, J bax, Frank, Charles –
Thanks for that link.
I am so pleased to read this piece. I am an Adoption Panel member so I knew that decisions of the kind written up in the press were just not going to be made in that way. The Court of Protection and the Family Courts don’t take decisions to remove children lightly – on the contrary! Having the analysis made in this way, with plenty of reference to the Judges’ written decisions helps people to understand the way in which the welfare of vulnerable people and the welfare of children is put at the centre of decisions regarding them. Thank you.
Some might conclude that you yourself have been rather too partisan in your description of the issues. Your blog is hardly an exercise of even handedness. I can’t quite work out if your aim of doing the blog was to shine light on the sorry circumstances that befell this lady or to grind the axe that you obviously have with Mr Booker and Mr Hemming?
Thank you, Louise H. Brave and wise words.
Thanks – I’ve always liked the muppets. If I need any healing, I’ll use the NHS.
Thank you, Louise.
Jan, thank you too.
Paul, the child is a British citizen.
While the issue of the “forced caesarian” was certainly hyperbolic, the argumentation here has its own problems. It is claimed that the mother was brought home to Italy because she wanted it – but she purportedly wanted that for quite a while and had asked before to be sent to Italy to deliver the child there. So the question remains just how much capability for judgment she had at what time.
But all that is really a side issue in my eyes. The actual issue is why British services and courts feel authorized to decide whether an Italian national is allowed to raise an Italian baby in Italy. Pointing at the sisters of the girl does not help here, as the decisions were made at the time these children were born, and do not allow any conclusion about the current state of things. In any case, they were made by Italian authorities.
It might seem as flat earth news for people in Britain. But it the issue looks quite a bit different looking from the outside in. The chief difference being what part of the affair one deems the important one.
A British citizen? How so? It does not qualify. Neither of its parents are settled in Britain.
“If you were born in the UK between on or after 30 April 2006 to parents who were EEA citizens, you are not a British citizen unless one of your parents had permanent residence status before the date of your birth. ” http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/britishcitizenship/othernationality/Britishcitizenship/borninukorqualifyingterritory/
Gaby, if the child is a British citizen (as you suggest), that just begs the question of why the home office imposed British citizenship upon it rather than returning it to the Italian authorities.
The mother is settled for the purposes of section 1 because she is an EU citizen entitled to live here. The child is British.
Please read the link I provided. Being a EU citizen is not sufficient. Exercising treaty rights and having permanent residence status are two distinct things.
Thank you. I have tried to follow what has happened in this case, not an easy task. It soon became clear that there was more to it than the original report and, as a non legally trained person, I have struggled with much of the legal documentation that has subsequently become available. Your piece has been clear and comprehensive.
It is clear that you are not a fan of either Booker or Hemming and from what you say this may be no bad thing. But your overall opinion is clear so it is up people to use their own judgement about what you say.
What does concern me is that Booker’s piece ever made it into the paper in the first place. Whatever happened to due diligence? Should the editor not have checked the facts before publishing them in the paper? At a time when we have the ongoing News of the World trial ongoing and so much coming from the media about the “Free Press” this whole episode does seem to be a lamentable lack of editorial control.
Oliver, I don’t see a link. However, I have looked at the UKBA site, and see that I am wrong and you are right, and the position has been considerably tightened since the Act first became law. I apologise. The child would not appear to be British by birth – provided she is entitled to Italian or, less likely, Senegalese citizenship, since if she isn’t, the UK has obligations to her under the statelessness convention. She will become British if she is adopted in the UK by British adopters. Whether this means she should have been sent to Italy is another matter.
Gaby, the link was in post 23.
The child should be an Italian citizen, as being born to an Italian is sufficient for that.
Thank you for this. I have shared widely.
To the person who suggested you edit what you right in case you lose readers; I could not see anything to edit here. The basis of this whole furore has been built on the reputation of two people who needed to be exposed before the facts could be presented. I was grateful for the breakdown in such a methodical way.
If anyone has a problem reading articles of this length, there are plenty of places that keep it brief and virtually meaningless.
Once again Carl has gone to great LENGTHS covering a very complex issue. Like some other readers, I also have some concerns about the care that this woman received when she was sectioned. I’m not sure whether her account to the Daily Mail is in any way trustworthy, but that does give the impression that she was rather helpless in all this. The Mostyn transcript refers to a diagnosis of schizophrenia with psychotic paranoid delusions, whereas we now know that she suffered from bipolar disorder, and indeed earlier diagnoses were available. This suggests that the NHS Trust may have carried out a faulty diagnosis and thus given the wrong treatment. It also suggests that Mostyn may not have been presented the best evidence. This was hardly an adversarial hearing. The court appointed advocate did not oppose any application made by the Trust. It is not clear whether the woman was put in contact with consular officials after her plea to be returned to Italy to give birth. It is generally not clear to me that the advocacy she was given was robust enough or properly focussed on her very unusual situation. Life changing and possibly irreversible decisions have been taken on the basis of what may have been inadequate care and findings in relation to a foreign national who was effectively isolated. I think this needs to be investigated.
Some others here are still questioning why the child is being dealt with in the UK rather than in Italy. The child was born in the UK and subject to an interim care order. Social workers and carers are legally responsible for her welfare. The jurisdiction is here.
Carl’s post was principally about the reporting of this case in the national press. I think his strictures were entirely justified. It is striking that all the serious discussion has been in the blogosphere.
This case may not have been terribly well handled by the doctors or the local authority. However, I hope those who are rushing to condemn the authorities will ponder the comment above by Louise H (no. 11).
There is a crying need for more openness about child care proceedings. When I was in practice, many years ago, the majority of cases were heard by magistrates, whose hearings were open to the press and were sometimes reported in the local rag, or even further afield. The only stipulation was that the child must not be identified directly or indirectly. No one had a problem with that. It was only county court and High Court proceedings that were subject to tight reporting restrictions.
Carl’s reporting is comprehensive and excellent. Even if it should turn out that serious mistakes have been made I would not congratulate Booker, Hemming, or Sue Reid (Daily Mail). The mainstream coverage of this story has been appallingly bad. At its very worst it has created undue alarm and seriously misinformed the public. The frustration though is that despite the disclosure of important legal judgements and proceedings, there are still questions that remain unanswered. The decisions that were taken after birth are actually fairly straight forward. But prior to that it just doesn’t feel (gut instinct) as though there was anyone who was really on this woman’s side. I would love to see that proven otherwise.
The suggestion by one commenter that Booker has a ‘degree in journalism’ is defamatory. He cut his teeth as a founder of Private Eye and as a general shit-stirrer back in the sixties, before such degrees existed. His opinions strike a chord with many readers of the Telegraph, where he’s regarded as something of a national treasure, but facts were never his strong point. It would be a brave editor who tried to correct them.
Matt Flaherty (@flayman) your final paragraph is a perfect demonstration of ‘begging the question’.
“Why dealt with here… the Jurisdiction is here.”
If it is being suggested and accepted that Italy is not a fit country to raise a child, that would be an argument for keeping the baby here. Otherwise (especially as an EU country) there seems no reason that the child should not be returned.
I disagree that the decisions that were taken after birth are straightforward. They may be from a British perspective, but that ignores once more that the child is Italian. Effectively, a guardian was again appointed for an Italian national, which would have required informing the consulate. And as for further procedures, I would assume that procedures akin to Brussels II apply, meaning that authorities should have given serious consideration if the case is not better decided in Italy.
I’d like to ask you to adopt the reverse perspective – a foreign court telling a British citizen what she can or cannot do when back on British soil. The public would be up in arms.
@Oliver, thanks. At the time I wrote 25 and 28, 23 hadn’t yet shown up.
I’d be cautious about citing Wikipedia. I (lazily) referred to it for the 1981 Act, and look where that got me! 🙂
Well, I had checked the actual law the other day, but was too lazy to dig it out again. Plus I’ve done so much machine translations of Italian over the past days that I can’t stand it anymore when avoidable 😛
You can double-check at the Italian embassy in Washington, DC: http://www.ambwashingtondc.esteri.it/Templates/PaginaInterna.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRNODEGUID=%7B5196A1EB-B102-47F1-BA39-F15B6F06B57B%7D&NRORIGINALURL=%2fAmbasciata_Washington%2fMenu%2fInformazioni_e_servizi%2fServizi_consolari%2fCittadinanza%2f&NRCACHEHINT=NoModifyGuest
WAYS TO BECOME AN ITALIAN CITIZEN
1. by having an Italian parent(s);
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Very good article. Though were is the quote from the transcripts that states the mother was not to know anything about the c-section? That is what makes it so monstrous. There she is, terrified, pregnant, wanting to go home and then to be forced through that situation…that is monstrous. As a mother who has had to have both an emergency c-section and a planned one due to the exact fear noted in her records(fear for the uterus) what that woman went through shouldn’t of happened. Not in the way they did it. It would only further traumatize her. Never mind what it will do to the child later on in life!
The child is not Italian either, despite what you read on the consulates or embassies websites (they report the main law but not all the bills following it!). The child of two Italian citizens who is born abroad is not an Italian citizen until regularly registered in Italy or at an Italian embassy. The Italian ambassador in London said clearly that the lady “had chosen” not to consult them throughout the process. Her lawyers said they had contacted the embassy instead, however they never had a reply.
Either way, it is quite clear that Hemmings/Booker were up to no absolute truth, as they were clearly contradicted even by the mother, who disclosed a different truth on Panorama.it two days ago.
@Sara, indeed, the child’s birth would need to be registered. The child is entitled to citizenship as of right; registration is a formality that “activates” it, as it were. The same applies to British citizens born abroad.
@Sophia, may I draw your attention to the comment by LouiseH above #11)?
@sofia “Though were is the quote from the transcripts that states the mother was not to know anything about the c-section? That is what makes it so monstrous.”
This has been misreported by among others the Daily Mail. I have no doubt this was deliberate, and I’m incensed that it nearly fooled me. I went back and reread the transcript and it was the interim care order that was being discussed, not the order for the c-section. It is obvious that it would not be wise to disclose plans to take the baby into care before the mother was going to to have an intervention.
@Gaby No, it’s not just a formality as you think. I’m an Italian citizen and I have, unfortunately, to know all the babel of Italian laws concerning the legal aspects of what means ‘ an Italian being abroad’ (for any reason, tourism, residence, etc.). Until the birth certificate is brought (the original one) to the Italian authorities and registered, the child had no citizenship or residence in Italy. Given that the father’s name on the birth certificate was even wrong (so the mother says), the child seems not registered in Italy. Therefore baby P is not Italian. That would explain the ‘mild’ reaction of Italian embassy and Italian authorities concerning this case. In Italy this case was not even news anymore two days after the Telegraph’s article.
Some people seem to think that removing an infant child to another country is or ought to be a simple matter. My children were entitled to American citizenship when they were born but I still had to go to the embassy (with mother also present) and register the births then wait for the passports to arrive before I could even bring them into the country as visitors. There are very compelling reasons for this. I’m sure it’s less complicated between EU countries, but I doubt it’s anything like simple.
@sara as the child was taken into care on delivery (presumably UK care workers didn’t wait for the birth to be registered…) it is presumably the responsibility of its guardians to register the birth in the best interests of the child…
You seem to be suggesting that the Italians do not care for babies of mixed parentage.
@matt I don’t think I have seen the ease of repatriation being questioned – only the aparant disinclination to even consider it.
@Paul The baby’s mother declined to go to the embassy after the birth. The Italian ambassador in London was more than clear on this point. The birth was registered on British soil and the mother (probably still ‘healing’ from birth and illness) didn’t think it was necessary to go to the embassy/consulate.
I don’t suggest anything, not personally. Anyway, in a counrty where the majority of population is 95% Roman Catholic, a woman who had a child of mixed heritage and two other children from different fathers… well it won no support in favour of her case. Italian papers were ‘mute’ after one day after she had spoken out.
@Matt exactly. It is more complicated than seems.
@pperrin With respect, I think that someone who says “Otherwise (especially as an EU country) there seems no reason that the child should not be returned” is failing to consider the ease of repatriation. The extent to which consular services were engaged is unclear. I think that in order for the birth to have been registered it would have to be requested by the mother. Her previous pleading to be returned to Italy in order to give birth probably should have been interpreted that way. If the mother was not advised of her consular rights then she ought to have been. I can’t imagine she would have objected.
@Matt nobody advises you of your consular rights whilst you’re already abroad. It is up to you to get that information. If the mother wasn’t sufficiently well to know or to ask about it, then it was up to her family’s. See, in Italian civic law, ignorance is not an excuse to be unaware of laws.
To support the fact these were ‘Flat Earth News’, an article I’ve read in Italian (Carl’s asked me not to link to it because it names the mother) states a quite different ‘reality of facts’ from what papers said here.
This baby is not an “it” to be repatriated. It’s a person, a girl with name beginning with P. I should have thought one thing we might all agree on is that P should be kept where her mother could have contact with her. The mother was here. During her pregnancy, she was unable to take medication (both before and after section), and by the time she was due to be delivered, it is likely she was extremely ill, with florid psychotic symptoms and possibly mania as well. The judge who made the care order on 1st Feb was extremely critical of her doctors for discharging her too soon, before she had recovered sufficiently. So to those who say P should have been sent to Italy, I would ask: when, how and by whom, and in what way would that have been in the child’s interests?
@Sara, @Matt: What you are both describing is the formalities that are required in order to activate the citizenship to which the child is entitled as of right.
@Gaby exactly…. why sending her back to Italy would have been the right choice? Who agrees with that option has no knowledge of Italian adoption system. In theory, the only place where the mother could have been kept together with her daughter is UK, yet you can’t force an EU national to stay here. Because I’m as sure as hell that once the baby crosses the Italian border the SS and the courts will act and there will be no contacts between mother and child either.
Of course the child is entitled to it, but that doesn’t mean that the child is required to have it. Someone makes that decision. It would ordinarily be the mother. When the child is of age she could make that decision for herself. Citizenship with a country is not all upside. I ought to know. If the mother did not engage the consulate then what authority does the consulate have to bestow citizenship on the child?
@Gaby In Italy, when a court declares that someone under 18 can be adopted, the child has no contacts with her biological parents anymore. Furthermore, a couple who’d like to adopt an Italian child has to be married for more than three years. Singles, gay couples or unmarried couples can’t adopt a baby for Italian law.
@Gaby Nope, there is no such a thing as ‘activation of nationality’. The child is not an Italian national YET. That is the whole point of the case and that is why:
1) Italian authorities act in the mother’s name and not the child.
2) The Senegales father could ask for renewal of stay once he gets the child back, even for an Italian citizenship in the future. The fact that he’s still considered illegal and subject to deportation means that the child has not been recognised as an Italian citizen.
I’m quite 100% sure about it, because I had a few problems concerning Italian bureaucracy for marriages and parentage, unfortunately 🙁
@Matt, @Sara: I agree. I said at the outset that I didn’t know whether the child was an Italian citizen or entitled to citizenship. The child does appear to be entitled to citizenship, but I doubt if any country will treat a child entitled to citizenship as a citizen until the child or its parent have laid claim to it.
At the time of the birth, the mother was here, in hospital, and very ill. When she returned to Italy, she was still ill and it would have been quite wrong to give her the child. By the time the care order was made, P was getting on for six months old. Even if the Italian child care and adoption system were superb, it’s hard to see how it could have been in P’s interests to send her to Italy then. What she needs is a stable, permanent home. The judge decided that, even though she was well at the time of the hearing (and he found her very impressive), the mother was not in a position to give her such a home. Indeed, the mother was not offering to do so at that point. In those sad circumstances, a care order and placement for adoption were probably the best course of action. I hope a family will be found who will enable her to explore her Italian roots, but the important thing is that they are people who can cope with the possibility that the child they adopt will turn out to have an inherited mental disorder. That makes her hard to place.
@Gaby I totally agree with you. That is why I believe that all this story going public deeply damaged the child and the mother, contrarily to what someone thinks (including all the Hemmings/Fleming/Booker wagon). It also made this child as a ‘hot’ and inconvenient international problem and in my opinion many families wouldn’t like the idea to adopt a child in the middle of an international mess.
Although the child’s identity has surfaced on the internet, let’s hope that anonymity still prevails in the world she lives in. A big problem is the attitude of the mother. I strongly suspect she is no longer taking her medication. There can’t be any question now of an “open” adoption, where the mother has contact. Not that there was ever much chance of that, IMO.
@Gaby I agree with you again. Her parents (who are caring for their other two children) chose not to speak about it at all and baby P’s grandfather only spoke once saying “my daughter is not crazy”. That is kind of weird statement because it is like saying to the public, she is not sane but not crazy either. I was suspecting she had interrupted again her medication when she ‘chose’ to go public. If you have a braincell left, you cannot choose to go public with such a story in Italy. The social prejudice against her is now so strong that this baby would live a hellish life once in Italy.
Fascinating article, first time I’ve really actually got to grips with this case.
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest…Remember the film? All that aside Carl Gardner loves to attribute sayings and implications to Christopher Booker that he never wrote and then criticise him.
For example Carl mentions Booker’s reference to a “sudden panic attack” and criticises him for implying that the mother was not really ill ignoring the fact that Booker clearly mentioned that the mother was suffering as a “bi-polar” .
He also mentions the criticism by judge Bellamy that his column minimised a child’s fractures but omits to say that the judge later admitted he had read a draft published on my forced adoption site on the Friday 2 days before the booker column was published on Sunday in the Sunday Telegraph with mistakes corrected ! Blame me as an inexperienced site manager all those years ago for publishing too swiftly but not Booker !
Carl even writes that Booker claims that asbestos is not dangerous when what he really said was that blue asbestos is highly dangerous but white asbestos is not and produced scientific evidence to prove it ! And you a lawyer too Carl !
Carl should restrict himself to the salient facts if he wants a clear picture;and these are them !
The mother is an Italian who had just passed a test for cabin crew with Ryanair.Bi polar is not classified as a mental disease but a chemical inbalance easily controlled by medicine. This lady was pregnant and stopped taking her medicine because she knew it could be dangerous for the baby in late pregnancy; She was cut open without consent so that the baby could be taken out .She had been begging to go back to give birth in Italy near her mother and no reason has ever been givn for refusing that request.Essex Council applied for an interim care order and removed the baby contrary to the unanimous advice of the hospital doctors that she should keep the baby in a “mother and baby unit”; Essex and noone else demanded forced adoption when there were other remediespossible with alternative family carers in Italy and USA;The barrister who represented the mother never met her or spoke to her and nobody ever proved at that time that the lady was too ill to ask her lawyer to fight to keep her baby.Surely a barrister should be allowed to judge if a person has capacity to instruct him by simply talking to the client himself?
“operate on this mother so we can take her baby” is the Booker title Carl objects to, yet they did operate with social workers attending the birth, and did take the baby so surely the rest is semantics.
F orced adoption is a wicked crime and no doubt in 40 or 50 year’s time some wretched British prime minister will apologise for it and for”punishment without crime” ie taking children permanently from parents who have not committed any offence, but few of us will live to see it;
Wow, Ian. You’re all over the place. Booker said and continues to maintain that white asbestos is safe (chemically identical to talcum powder). He gave scientific evidence whose author then disputed the interpretation of the findings. Incidentally, diamond is chemically equivalent to graphite, but I’d like to see you write on a piece of paper with a diamond tipped pencil.
Booker’s report on this story was highly inaccurate. It claims that the c-section was ordered for the specific purpose of snatching the woman’s baby out of her womb and that social services applied for the order. This is not true, nor could it ever have been true. It is clear from the transcripts that prior to birth the consideration of the child was secondary at best. All concern was bent on the health of the mother. What a ridiculous comment.
You approve of child molesting not being reported to police, how do you dare to post on such an issue? Are you not ashamed of yourself?
I’m not even bothering to read the whole of your posts.
The only person who needs a reality check here is you, not surely Gardner.
Ian Josephs spoke in December 2012 at a “Stop Forced Adoption” conference in Birmingham, at which Christopher Booker, John Hemming and Brendan Fleming (the solicitor praised by Christopher Booker in the Telegraph piece making the initial claims about this case) also spoke.
Here’s the video of Ian Joseph’s talk at the conference.
He opened by saying:
Typical misrepresentation sara ! I clearly state that you should think twice abour reportin sexual abuse without hard proof otherwise you may get disbelieved or blamed and lose all your children ;Plenty of parents have suffered this way so i stand by what I said.
I somehow don’t think that it is very mitigating that Booker’s glaring error on the child’s injuries (really, really glaring) was in an early draft. It certainly shows that he was at least prepared at some stage to make an extremely inaccurate representation. So he corrected it. So what? There is plenty else that he has not.
Ian, you say Judge Bellamy
Please direct us to independent evidence of this.
Well Carl I reckon that anyone who knowingly and willingly participates in forced adoption is committing a crime and should be locked up ! The colourful adjectives got the immediate attention of the audience and there were no dissenters !Vick Haigh got 3 years jail (reduced by 5 months on appeal) for speaking to her own daughter in a petrol station car park .I reckon those involved in forced adoption are worse than that…..
Child cruelty should be a matter for the police and criminal courts so that social workers would be there to reunite families not split them up , and family courts could either be abolished or made subject to criminal court rules of evidence.No more punishment without crime;
Matt I know diddly squat about asbestos and whether you agree with him or not is irrelevant, I was just pointing out that Booker was being grossly misreported on his views by Carl Gardner
“Matt I know diddly squat about asbestos and whether you agree with him or not is irrelevant…”
Well, gee. You don’t say? And yet you’re more than happy to go on public record making claims which you know nothing about. That’s what I call misrepresentation, and whether you believe what you are saying or not is irrelevant. So in the face of that, I’m not sure why we should believe a word you say. I rest my case. I suggest you stop making silly comments accusing others of dishonesty that are themselves based on fabrications.
On reflection, I cannot simply leave it there. Because actually it does very much matter whether or not you agree with him (or believe him). It is a matter of life and death. Christopher Booker would have us believe that there is a form of asbestos which poses “virtually zero” risk to human health on the basis of scientific evidence that he has distorted out of all recognition. And Ian Josephs would go around telling people this on the basis that his mate Chris wrote something about it. The evidence actually shows that at vanishingly small doses there is virtually no risk; however, at any kind of practical exposure the risk is great (although not as great as with other types). So if you agree with Chris and Ian (agree basically means believe, since this obviously involves virtually zero research) then you may not take reasonable precautions.
The omission that Carl has made is a very minor one (and I’m sure he would not mind correcting it). Carl is not attempting to persuade readers that any form of asbestos is safe, whereas Booker asserts that the most commonly used type of asbestos by miles (chrysotile) is in fact perfectly safe. White asbestos makes up “95% of the asbestos in place in the United States and a similar proportion in other countries” > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysotile
So Carl is about 95% accurate there, which beats the hell out of Christopher Booker (something I would frankly not mind doing at all).
@Ianjoseph I hope you will try your theory on yourself. And when nobody believes you at the police, I will have a laugh at you. Yes a laugh. As an abuse and rape survivor who endured these awful crimes for years in her family, with no chance of getting out of it, I hope that your silliness will come back to bite in your derriere one day.
You are a shame for all the British population. Hide, it is better.
Booker is a journalist with no dignity or pride. I hope people will be enlightened and lock both of you… Far, far away.
I’d like to take us back to this case, this woman and this child. The mother has the misfortune to have a serious mental illness: probably both psychosis and bipolar disorder. We know that when she is well, as she was on 1st February, she is impressive: intelligent, articulate and concerned for her child. We also know that when she is ill, she is a different person altogether. She was terribly ill when P was born. If she had delivered normally, she might well have harmed herself, her child and the staff caring for her. This is the reality. I refer, again, to LouiseH at #11.
This mother has done nothing wrong. But when she is unwell, as I suspect she is again now, she is a danger to herself and others. One of her children in Italy has been traumatised by seeing her in that state. It’s terribly, terribly sad.
What troubles me, @Ian Joseph, is that you don’t seem to care about any of that. You don’t give a tuppeny damn about P or her mother. You seem barely aware that they exist. Maybe that’s because they are part of the real world, that world where things are complicated and difficult and don’t always turn out right, and where real people suffer pain and grief. I guess it’s all just a bit too grown up for you.
Sorry, but you are mistaken. Especially in cases of guardianship, it is the duty of authority to inform consulates THEMSELVES (Art. 37) and the fact that a foreign national prisoner has not been informed of their consular rights has been considered a breach of Art. 36 by the ICJ repeatedly. Ask the US.
As for your statements of Italy being a country with 95% catholic population, it is also the country which elected an ex-escort girl and porn star into parliament and made someone head of government repeatedly whose chief contribution to Italian culture was the term “bunga-bunga”. Your description of the country as a bunch of conservative catholic fanatics is way off.
Likewise, your claim that the issue was not in the news anymore in Italy is false. La Reppubblica had an article on its website yesterday on the interview the mother gave to the Daily Mail. [Redacted – I don’t want this blog to link to Italian articles which may be unreliable and which name the mother – Carl] had an article today.
There is no “both psychosis and bipolar disorder”. Bipolar disorder can have psychotic episodes.
Your suspicion that she is unwell now is completely frivolous. And it makes taking others to task for not caring for her or her child not particularly credible. I kindly ask you to desist from trying a medical diagnosis based on newspaper snippets.
Oh, and another one @Sara: RAI just posted a video on the case on their YouTube channel. Out of the news, huh? They are so uninterested in the case they pestered the woman’s mother so long until she at least spoke some words over the phone.
@Oliver: bipolar with psychotic episodes will fit the bill just fine. As for the mother’s present state: if she’s said half of what she’s reported as saying, then she is not the woman who gave evidence on 1st Feb. So sorry, I will not “kindly desist”. I may have moments of frivolity (not on this subject) but that’s because I’m not, I hope, pompous.
You certainly are, believing yourself to be capable of doing what no sane physician would dare do. It is certainly hypocritical to accuse others of “flat earth news” while spreading junk science yourself.
Carl you would have to look at a transcript of the case at which I was a McKenzie friend for the mother up in Coventry,or else ask judge Bellamy himself (I doubt he would deny it ),or look at the article published on Sunday at the time by Booker and verify that the mistake about the fractures did not occur in what he published .I was surprised and flattered that judge Bellamy actually read my site and was even more surprised when he quoted my golden rules from the site in full in his judgement though not I must admit in approval !
Matt I only pointed out the innaccuracy of Carl’s reporting not my opinion of asbestos,
Sara I still say you need hard evidence to accuse anyone of sexually abusing a child and Vicky Haig can testify as to what happened to her when the evidence was insufficient ,She suffered loss of all contact with her daughter and later 3 years jail for speaking to her. I am surprised Sara you think it ok to accuse someone without hard evidence . I would love to know why !
Gaby ,I do care enough about this mother and baby to have found out her phone number,talked to her at length,and on HER request put her in touch with Christopher Booker ,Sue Reid,and other journalists so that she could effectively protest;
I care enough about the baby to do all I can to help her save it from the horror of forced adoption and to me that is far more important than protesting about the Caesarian.
Incidentally I help three or four new cses every day so over 1000 parents per year do help to make me care a lot !
It is worth pointing out at this point (and I meant to do it earlier) that the anonymity order on the mother’s name was lifted. Munby says it is okay to name her. She is a person who believes she has been wronged and deserves to be identified. The anonymity order on the child is of course still in effect. The woman has been identified as 35 year old [Redacted – Carl]. It’s in the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Mirror and the Huffington Post.
@Oliver I lived in Italy for decades, so I know what it is, unlike you. And yes, it is full of Catholic bigots. Sorry, that is the reality whether your British politically correct mind likes it or not.
The consulate was contacted by the Essex County Council in December, not the woman. It is not the same and the mother and her parents didn’t gain any points in “forgetting” to contact the consulate themselves.
La Repubblica is not a serious paper. Any paper copying the crap posted by the Daily Mail is not respectable either.
A video posted on youtube was old.
Check your facts straight. Intelligent Italians don’t care because this is not a major concern in a country where the unemployment is high, all the public services don’t work, whole country going bankrupt!
Do me a favour, shut up…. when you are speaking of things you have no knowledge of.
I know she’s been named in the Italian media and in the Daily Mail, and I know Essex’s application for reporting restrictions was turned down.
Of course she may want to identify herself, and is clearly doing so in interviews.
But I’m not sure it’s in her interests, the child’s interests or the public interest for her to be named. So I’d rather avoid doing so on this blog. I hope you understand.
I don’t think it’s necessary to know her name in order to discuss the case and the way it’s been reported, either.
There may come a point at which everyone knows her name – if that happens the approach I’m taking will be pointless, and I may well change my mind. But I don’t think we’re there yet.
@Carl Sorry, this boggles the mind. If you had said “My blog, my rules”, it would have been perfectly acceptable. But “I’m not sure it’s in her interest…” is merely topping on the disenfranchisement she has already suffered,
@Sara: Thanks for the insults. Unbeknownst to you, I’m not British. So it would behoove you to shut up rather than continuing to make up “facts” on all and sundry. The only one who has shown signs of being bigotted here is you.
I’m afraid I don’t understand, Carl. It’s not just that the woman has been named. The court has blessed it. If you don’t want to publish her name then I guess that’s up to you, but given the High Court have apparently said she is ‘perfectly entitled to identify herself as a person who feels wronged’ it seems that the public interest has fallen on her side. Nevertheless, I will respect your rules.
Oh, and calling La Repubblica “not a serious paper” is hilarious. It’s one of the most important papers in Italy.
And the implications of your citing the fact that the consulate was contacted by authorities in December is evidently lost to you – namely that they contacted them after the whole affair was over. It is you who has made verifiably false statements time and again, so I suggest you are ill-suited to ask others to check their facts.
I could be one of the many bigotted people in Italy, yes.
It proves I was right, not wrong.
The fact that you’re British or Kenyan doesn’t change the fact you’re not Italian.
The affair isn’t over yet, let alone it could be in December.
John Hemming on twitter said the woman had agreed to a c-section.
La Repubblica, word of my cousin who’s an Italian journalist, is not a respectable paper anymore and it copies endless crap from other papers (in this case Daily Fail, the first news copying the Telegraph). Maybe I can create a paper today and do a bit of copy and paste, given that it seems a degree is not necessary anymore.
Again, where do you get your sources? Please. It is really bad when people get grumpy because someone caught them on their BS.
You’re surelly ill-suited to stay here and partecipate at this discussion if what you can do is only giving your wretched opinions of a desperate case. Add facts and not just hearsay.
It was also, as Carl said, in her best interest to stay out of the limelight, let alone being associated with the likes of J. Hemming & Co.
Contrary to you, Sara, I have added facts – not some nonsense about notifying consulates that shows you have no idea whatsoever on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
And I frankly don’t give a bleep about the jealousy of your cousin, who’d love to write for one of the top two most read papers in Italy, a paper that had the guts and confronted Berlusconi on his conduct heads on. The size of their print runs and subscriber community is available.
You evidently have no idea how to establish something as fact and instead simply smear anything and anyone you dislike.
It would be really nice if we could keep this thread from degenerating into a slinging match. I get the feeling someone is going to invoke Godwin soon.
No you didn’t. And besides, any convention, although ratified from the single governments doesn’t apply to all countries in the same way.
I never studied law but this is common sense. It seems like you’re not only deprived of it, but you also refuses to admit you’re wrong.
You lost your credibility when you said “your cousin is jealous”. How do you know who’s my cousin and where she works?
Proving my theory that you’re (enter whatever here) as a rock.
This is my last reply to an undeserving commenter in terms of intelligence, so rant over as much as you like with your pointless blahblah
This is a question for you. I always was under the impression that making the mother believe she had better chances to have her baby back if she was coming out publicly was a damage to her. Is there, in that regard, a breach of her human rights? Shouldn’t a mental health patient receive better legal assistance through such a stressful process?
Thanks for your perspective on the situation.
Hope seeing reporting on this case and seeing everyone’s prejudices smeared all over the media hasn’t been too trying.
The heading describes Booker and Hemming and critics of social services in the case of the “forced Caesarian”as” flat earthers”
Well what are the facts?
A pregnant Italian lady visits the UK but her baby is taken by Essex social services for adoption by strangers,so she is sent back to Italy alone and grieving for the child she lost.
Nothing can excuse Essex social services who prevented her from returning home to Italy with her baby so that Italian social services and her extended family could together deal with any health issues etc.
Pregnant foreign visitors beware ;you could be next !
[I think this anonymous comment must have been left by Ian Josephs; he can tell me if he says that’s not right – Carl]
Flat earthers are we?Well what are the facts?
A pregnant Italian lady visits the UK but her baby is taken by Essex social services for adoption by strangers,so she is sent back to Italy alone and grieving for the child she lost.
Nothing can excuse Essex social services who prevented her from returning home to Italy with her baby so that Italian social services and her extended family could together deal with any health issues etc.
Pregant foreign visitors beware ;you could be next !
[…] And while I am on a roll of ’sense and sensibility’ – an excellent piece from Carl Gardner, fellow blogger and a regular podcaster with me: Booker, Hemming and the “forced caesarian” case: a masterclass in Flat Earth news […]
Thank you for the balance that you have provided in this case. The true facts will in time become public knowledge but sadly will probably never be reported as widely as the current distortion of the truth. Social Worker’s do not have a voice in this matter and are unable to defend themselves. Hemings glee at being able to wield his social work bashing mallet has only served to act as a barrier to all women who are pregnant and suffering with some form of mental health needs. Those women are now likely to be frightened to seek the help they need. Shame on you Hemming and Nick Clegg needs to get his house in order
“The true facts will in time become public knowledge but sadly will probably never be reported as widely as the current distortion of the truth”
Indeed. Very sad. Scaremongering never does any favours to anyone.
@ianjoseph you sound like Tom Cruise whilst preaching the Xenu’s stuff… ‘Nuff said.
Sara do you or any other reader seriously approve of taking this Italian mother’s baby for forced adoption by strangers?
How can you possibly justify such barbarity??????
Anonymous; on the contrary social workers can defend themselves as they are subject to the same laws as everyone else contributing to this and to other blogs ! They do not choose to do so because there is no valid defence to child snatching for forced adoption!
I am deeply troubled now by something I’ve seen over on Pinktape. Familoo has explained that her reading of the Mostyn transcript is that the c-section order was in fact withheld from the patient. As I commented there, I think this is very invasive. The patient may be found to lack capacity to make decisions, but she can still make her wishes known and try to get someone to intervene on her behalf. Taking this approach completely leaves the patient out of the process and alienates her from the care that is supposed to be in her best interest. I find it horribly paternalistic and difficult to swallow. Why should a person who lacks capacity be denied the freedom to make the same irrational choices that are available to you and me? On an assessment of capacity, I would expect that if the patient is unable to be in court then at least the judge would be shown video evidence of her state instead of relying on clinical reports. I fall back on my earlier observation that she did not have adequate representation for someone in her peculiarly isolating circumstances. Isn’t this sort of what Kafka had in mind? Officials making important decisions about your life without consultation or sharing the information?
@Matt all over the press there is an article where baby’s P grandfather said his daughter has been a danger to all the other kids too. Maybe.. We should call it a day? I think the court proceedings will follow another route and analyse details and evidence we can’t know for legal reasons. From the outside, it seems that situation is very different from the beginning and social services, in this case, did not so many mistakes as believed at first.
@Matt all over the press there is an article where baby’s P grandfather said his daughter has been a danger to all the other kids too. Maybe.. We should call it a day? I think the court proceedings will follow another route and analyse details and evidence we can’t know for legal reasons. From the outside, it seems that situation is very different from the beginning and social services, in this case, did not make so many mistakes as believed at first.
The grandfather said his daughter was too ill to keep her child and that is his opinion.Even if he is right that in no way excuses the way the judge ordered that she be kept in ignorance of the application for the care order and the adoption of this baby by strangers when both mother and child should have been sent off to Italy so that Italian social services could deal with any issues .
@Sara A pregnant woman is stripped of her autonomy. Let’s not pretend that this isn’t a very grave and serious step. On top of that she apparently has no input and no right to the information and decisions taken in the name of her best interest. I can’t accept that. She is not some gork in a coma. The judge owes it to her to find out for himself what sort of state she is in. She may be delusional but have periods of lucidity, however brief. There is an estimated 1% risk of uterine rupture if she went into spontaneous labour. On the other hand, she is in a hospital. That’s the best place to be when you are in need of emergency surgery. Is this the NHS Trust acting on the best interests of the patient or the best interests of the NHS Trust, i.e. minimizing their own liability? Unless her life is in immediate danger, the patient has the right to know about invasive surgery to be carried out on her.
@Matt if you read Essex County Council document and what J. Hemming himself tweeted, she was informed but she was too ill to give her consent. By the way, she had two c-sections in the same way, so…were they all ‘wrong’ then? I also think that you are right in saying that NHS trust probably wanted to minimise their own liability, can you imagine the mess if something was going wrong?
@ianjoseph enough of your silly blabberings! You are not on your blog playing Agatha Christie with childsnatching conspiracies and social services staff dressed in kkk clothes!
Pfft you are so incredibly ignorant and narrowminded that you think social services want to deal with this baby. Where do you live, Disneyland?
Ian, to take several of your comments at once:
December 7, 2013 at 17:22
These are not the facts. You are working backwards from a known result and constructing the path to it that fits your beliefs. There is no doubt that the c-section order was made for health reasons (whether you agree with the decision or not). It had naught to do with snatching a baby. The baby part came later. I have serious concerns about the C0P aspects of this story too, but arguing with you is like arguing with a creationist. We go round in circles and it’s a waste of everybody’s time.
December 8, 2013 at 17:02
This is not barbarity. If anything it is excessive officiousness. I firmly believe, and there is no reason not to, that everyone involved have played their parts in good faith. But the mother’s isolation from anyone who might vigorously act on her behalf gave rise to a gap in care, in my opinion based on what I understand to have happened. The child was extracted in the belief that this was medically necessary. The child was then taken into interim care because the mother was assessed not to have capacity. The adoption order came much later, and the actions of sending the mother back to Italy were heavily criticised.
December 9, 2013 at 11:29
I very nearly agree with you here. I think it is shocking that the patient was kept in the dark about such an invasive procedure on the basis of a theoretical risk. Her life was not in immediate danger. She might spontaneously go into labour any minute, or not for several weeks. At that point, there are treatments that can be administered to slow the labour. There are doctors on hand who can perform an emergency section if necessary. The mother can be sedated.
@sara No it wasn’t wrong that she had two previous c-sections. It is understood that in this instance the mother did not wish to have c-section, preferring to try for a natural birth instead. This is quite common and is known as trial by scar. If she had been able to give birth naturally then she would have been able to make a much more rapid recovery and she may have found herself able to cope with the treatment for her mental illness and restored to mental capacity in a reasonable time frame.
Matt The facts I quote are in the judgements.I have not made a big issue of the Caesarean which is something of a red herring in my opinion.Three facts stick in my mind and I will repeat tham again.
1:- The judge ordered that the application for an interim care order be kept secret from the mother.
2:- Both the Caesarean or more likely the natural birth could and should have been carried out in Italy as no good reason was ever given for refusing her repeated requests to have the birth in her own country.(documented in the judgement)
3:- Her child has been marke down for forced adoption by strangers in the UK when there was no reason why the child could not have gone back with her when she was sent back to Italy and the social workers there could have dealt with what was after all an essentially an Italian problem.
@Matt ok. I ask you to see the whole thing deprived of any sentimentalism.
She was 35, alone (parents are not with her at this time), she was having manic episodes, even if temporarily. My question to you is: if you were a doctor, would you risk an emergency c-section? Honestly.
Labour sometimes lasts hours on end and it is even terrible for a strong woman. Why were the doctors supposed to wait the last minute? Frankly it would have appeared as less professional than what they have done so far. All the fuss about the c-section is incoherent, given that many women choose it anyway. And this lady, anytime she chose what she wanted to do, she made a mess, not only with her life but with everybody else. I probably judge this lady more harshly because I am Italian, but for me the real victims of this sad story are her parents and the innocent child, not her.
Carl all the scientists at the time suported the then established fact that the earth was flat;This was the established view so when Galileo (the Christophe Booker of his time?) asserted that the earth was a round globe he was denounced as a heretic and nearly lost his life.
Maybe it is the global warmers who are the “flat earthers” of our time.I think it more than likely !
Point 3 – I am glad, definitively glad, that you finally showed your true colours.
I am waiting for Hemming to do the same, sooner or later.
Because your point is that you don’t give a flying crap about the wellbeing of the baby. You are not interested in what the baby could have in Uk, because let’s say it… It is the daughter of a nonBritish citizen, therefore it is not your business! Ah…. Glad you posted that one Joseph. Taking notes, taking notes.
Will someone please tell us precisely how, when, by whom and to whom this child should have been sent to Italy?
Well, Sara, one might say the same of you. You appear to be making the argument that the woman is not so much a victim of this process because she has made a mess of her life. That is code for “she has lived a life I don’t approve of”. Because she has led a careless life she should now have the power of choice taken away from her. That is a very lamentable comment and it ignores the fact that this woman has an illness that requires medication in order for her to function in society. It ignores the fact that she was off her medication because she was worried about harming her unborn baby. Could this be your Italian bigotry shining through (your own words, not mine)?
Sara ,abuse gets you nowhere.I care enough about [AA – edited by Carl] to have spoken to her recently on three sparate occasions by telephone,to have tried to console her for the loss of her child ,to have recommended Christopher Booker (sunday telegraph) and Sue Reid (daily mail),as journalists who could at her urgent request tell the public how she had been treated and that was what they did.
She should have had the baby with her when she was escorted back to Italy, Gaby. Her mother ,the baby’s father, and her sister in law in New York were all offered as possible carers so the Italian social services could and should have resolved any outstanding issues.Foreign tourists and business visitors should if pregnant feel safe that their babies will not be confiscated and adopted by strangers.At present they are all now at risk,;a small risk ,but still a risk !
@Matt I like the online philosophers, they usually think they know everything about a poster after a thread or two. No, I am no bigot, not religious at all. I told Oliver I was because I didn’t want an endless argument about me. I am not the topic of this thread. The only way to stop people trolling you is to tell them they are right.
One of the reasons I left Italy and move to UK years ago was the incredible, rife prejudice against women. Yet, this is not the point. The lady was off her medication on purpose, as she had already did several times. And having had a mental patient in the family, I can tell you that is very common. They think they feel well and they stop. It is not done with a purpose, they just don’t like to feel they are under permanent medication. For Italian law, you can’t force anyone to be under meds, unless they prove to a court you lost your mind and you get referred by authorities (which the mother was by the way, twice).
Stop believing the paranoia surrounding this case. I am not a bigot, however I won’t act the politically correct person ashamed to express my own opinions, as I firmly believe that this woman is simply a bad mother, regardless of her disease. I made, at some point, a mess of my life too. But I never involved any children in it. That would have been selfish, very selfish of me. My mum always told me, all my life “a good mother is happy when you’re happy. Children are not any mum’s property”. I don’t believe in any religion, I believe in my mum’s wisdom though. Naive, maybe.
@Sara, I know very little about you but I wanted to prod you for that remark. I understand where are you are coming from, but I still think that bad mother or no, she should have had better support here. That is based on limited information, but I do not get the impression that the care was particularly pastoral and I sense that the CoP hearing was perfunctory. For me the worst aspect is the ordering of a c-section without involving the mother at all. Of course I wasn’t there for any of this and if I saw her records it might seem entirely justified. In most cases though there would be family or other supporters around shepherding the patient through this process and taking responsibility. The mother was entirely on her own. It is not how I would choose to say “Welcome to Britain”.
I don’t think the mother should be criticised for stopping her medication. The doctors didn’t prescribe medication after she was sectioned, because of the risk to the foetus. However, the consequence is that, when she was delivered, at 39 weeks, she had been off medication for many months, and was extremely unwell. The obstetrician considered recommending a normal delivery, with emergency c-section if necessary, but was concerned that the mother’s state was such that she might make it impossible for those attending her to monitor the baby during the delivery, meaning that they might not be able to tell if things went wrong and an emergency c-section was required. That is why he came down in favour of a planned c-section in this case. For the reasons he gave, I believe a planned c-section was in the mother’s interests (bearing in mind that the mother has a very strong interest in giving birth to a healthy baby). Those who advocate that she should have been present in court have possibly never met anyone as unwell as she was at that time.
@ianJoseph You’re the one abusing people and exploiting their tragic situations. You should be ashamed of yourself. Oh so you’re the one who advised the poor woman to go public? Woah, am I allowed to call the papers in Italy saying that you destroyed her reputation and anyone in Italy considers her as a silly madwoman because of your intervention? Your publicity stunts created an uneasy situation for her back in Italy. Now, even her father spoke against her.
Of course, you ignore that the father of the baby is with another girlfriend now and the American family is unknown to the baby as any other British family.
What an ignorant, conceited fella you are.
@Gaby, the lady stopped medication several other times and not because of her being pregnant.
@Matt “I understand where are you are coming from, but I still think that bad mother or no, she should have had better support here.” I don’t think she could have better support in UK. In this case, the Italian courts backed away and let the British authorities to do their own thing. As an Italian citizen, I can tell you that that is normal. Because of many hoaxes or cases completely made up in recent years, now the Foreign Office carefully evaluates any single case before taking any proceedings. And in this case, the Italian mammoth bureaucracy lost precious time, they could have intervened much earlier, so to avoid that baby’s P mother was used as a propaganda tool by British local politicians and activists without any moral scruples.
@ianjoseph: I think the exact opposite. The mother should not have been sent back to Italy. She wasn’t well. She was let her down by her doctors. She should have remained here, and been assisted to take part in the English court proceedings concerning the child. That is what HHJ Newton said on 1st Feb. Had she done so, she would have been able to put forward a case for having the child returned to her, and permission to take the child to Italy. That would have been considered fairly, whatever you may think. The welfare of the child would have been the paramount consideration.
@Sara: There were indeed other occasions when she stopped taking her medication. She may well be an unfit mother. That isn’t for you or me to judge, is it?
@Gaby It wasn’t me or you deciding she should be deprived of custody twice in recent years, it was a high court. Therefore, despite our personal opinions can differ, one way or another, somebody else decided she was unfit to be a parent long before this case. Given that in Italy not all courts defy society and deprive a mum of custody, if this woman lost the custody of her two other children… yes, she is a bad mother. To gain that title in Italy is quite the exception, believe me.
What is your problem with consulting the Italian consulate and asking Italian services to provide for means of repatriation?
You continue to attack this woman without knowing her, based on little than the usual accusations against the mentally ill. In fact, she had qualified for the training course she took part in and was well on her way for getting a good job. Likewise, she had a job from after the birth of her second child to 2012 in a hotel.
If you actually read the statements by her father, it doesn’t quite look like that she didn’t stop the medication because “she felt she didn’t need them”, as he suggests, but rather she stopped them every time she became pregnant, out of fear that she might harm the child. And if you take a look at the product information sheet in many mood stabilisers, you would see that as understandable. Of course it would have been wiser to talk through that with her doctors and therapists, but she’s by far not the only patient in the world adjusting therapy on their own. In fact, self-adjusted therapy is, outside clinical studies, probably more common as doctor-adjusted, regardless of what illness and drug we talk about. When people feel unwell, they skip a dose or two. When it comes to mood stabilizers, non-adherence is extremely common. In a 2002 study, 46/98 patients admitted partial non-adherence. To suggest that they do this to themselves is missing the point about both the nature of the disease and the nature of the drugs used to treat it. Indeed, the very use of the concept well/unwell is highly problematic. Because totally aside from the unholy trinity of adverse effects which can even wrestle cancer patients into nonadherence, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, MOOD STABILIZERS do just that – they stabilize your mood. Lethargy, dazedness, etc. are all quite common. And I’m not sure anyone would call it being “well”, if every day is just “meh”, or if just getting up and do your day’s work feels like working your way through jelly. More: Some of them cut the mania, but do nothing about depressed states – great: You feel “meh” and best and “I should really kill myself” at worst, but simply CAN’T experience anything to pull you the other way.
Whoever believes that is “feeling well” should urgently see a psychologist. And whoever condemns such people for wanting to have a wee bit of joy every one in a while should seriously question what happened to their empathy.
@Sara: I doubt if she would have been successful, but you miss the point. She was entitled to have her case heard, fairly and dispassionately, by a court, and should have been supported in this. Instead, she was rushed out of the country, abandoning the child. The child’s needs come first.
@Oliver, you cannot be serious. This woman was very, very ill, and completely unfit to travel at any time up to the birth, and for a considerable time afterwards.
@Oliver H So, now you interpret better than her father how she felt and you even get to the point to say that you KNOW she stopped because of pregnancies. Given that she has a 4-year-old son and she was deprived of custody in 2011 because she kept skipping her medication.. she was not pregnant in 2011. So your ‘theory’, based on your suppositions, is pointless.
You say that I’m being harsh because I base my comments on all the evidence we’ve been given now (not as you state, on my opinions! I don’t know her, so I can’t be prejudiced against someone I don’t even know), yet you pretend to know how mental patients feel and launch yourself in a crusade against the non-believers. For the record, I’ve a mental patient in my original family and another one in my hubby’s family. I know a few things about them, although all mental disorders are different from each other but yes, they’ve in common a few traits, one of them is the one we were discussing above (they feel well, so not feeling to be enslaved by the meds anymore, they decide to stop them).
These people can experience joy, contrarily to what you state, only when their cures work.
The ‘ups’ due to the lack of medication transform them in hyperexcited people and once the hyperexcitement is over, they go down, a lot usually.
Maybe you should be show a bit of empathy towards them… and understand they don’t need to see a psychologist when they’re feeling well.. they just need to go back on meds. Unfortunately it is the only way possible and I can understand it is difficult to accept you’re sick for life.
@ You’ve a point there but the info we received about her leaving the country are not much clear, and they’ve not been cleared up by anyone…
Was she still sick at that point and she acted in a confused way or she had renounced to leave with the daughter but once in Italy she thought the opposite? In a normal situation, I’d would have chained myself to the court’s door before leaving the country without my daughter. That is a mistery.
Sara is right, no one made her go back to Italy. I surmise she was no longer sectionable, and an escort was arranged because she was unfit to travel on her own. There was a hearing before HHJ Newton at which he refused to let her have the child. That seems to me to be it. The child was accommodated here. The mother was entitled to remain here and fight for her child. She chose not to do so. I fail to see how it could have been in the interests of the child to be uprooted and “repatriated” to an Italian foster home.
Gaby,How can you say this mother abandoned her child when in fact her baby had been taken from her by force preventing her even from breast feeding her after just one session contrary to judge Munby’s ruling in a previous case that to stop a mother breastfeeding was a clear breach of her human rights .
There is absolutely no evidence whatever in the judgements or elsewhere that this mother was too ill to travel back to her own country and her own family in Italy.The lady herself certainly told me on the phone that she was constantly begging to be allowed to return to have the birth in Italy and after the birth to be allowed to return to Italy with her new daughter .She said she was never told she was too ill to travel or given any other reason for forcibly detaining her in the UK;No evidence to the contrary has been produced by doctors or anyone else.Finally she was forcibly deported to Italy accompanied by two “minders” without her baby much to her understandable distress .
Sara if you read what I said earlier I
[The comment ends at this point – Carl]
“The mother was entitled to remain here and fight for her child. She chose not to do so.”
“I fail to see how it could have been in the interests of the child to be uprooted and “repatriated” to an Italian foster home.”
I’m on your same wavelenght here. It also needs to be taken into account that the two systems are quite different and while the British adoption system allows original mothers to meet their children later on (correct me here if I’m mistaken), the Italian one doesn’t until they are over 25 (at least this was the law until a few years ago).
Playing bait and switch? You asked about the child.
The claim “No one made her go back” is, sorry, simply callous and ignorant. Expecting her to stay and “fight” when she was in no shape to do so – which even the court acknowledged – and talking about the child being “uprooted” if it had been brought to Italy right after birth suggests little sense for realism.
Sara, YOU are the one cherrypicking the statements of her father to only heed the ones you like. Your claim you could not be prejudiced against her because you do not know her is nonsense – as I already pointed out, yours are the same arguments leveled in all regularity against the mentally ill. As for your having mentally ill patients in your family, that is all good and fine – but unfortunately, of no avail, because personal anecdotes prove very little. Least of all they enable you to lecture me on adverse effects – your sample size is rather limited, mine is based on the pertinent academic literature.
As for you asking me to feel a bit more empathy – sorry, but based on your statements, you clearly have no idea what the word means.
The mother apparently wanted to go back to Italy before the child was born. She couldn’t because she was in hospital, under section. So the child was born here, and immediately became the responsibility of Essex Social Services. It was not only their right to intervene, it was their duty, legally, professionally and morally, in the interests of the child. When the mother was no longer sectionable, she asked the court to give her back the child, and the court rightly refused. The mother may have had good reason to return to Italy, but in doing so she abandoned her child. There was no reason for the child to be sent to Italy too. The mother could have stayed here and fought to have her back. The interests of the child required stability (i.e. No unnecessary change of foster parent) until a final decision was made about her future (i.e. Return to her mother or placing for sdoption). That decision fell to be taken here, by an English court, but this is where the child is. The court would certainly not have stood in the way of the mother taking the child to Italy. Indeed, unless the child was a ward of court, I don’t believe it would have had the power to stop her, once the care order was discharged.
Yes, empathy, a word you don’t understand the meaning and you confuse with something else, given that you’re showing more arrogance than any possible other feeling.
People who claim to know, in any capacity, because they are ‘academically’ prepared and they feel prepared to judge because they’ve studied so they know all… leave me speechless. I guess that you repeat your stuff in front of a mirror, you agree with yourself and you comment.
The topic here is clear, the wellbeing of a mother and her child and possible solutions. Instead, you’re using the thread to attack other posters because you can’t accept they know something more than you do and that is unacceptable to you.
You can always ask Gardner to change the title of the post and having it renamed as ‘Oliver H the all-knowing poster about the child snatched by social services’. I’m off. So much intelligence from a poster defies my logic and I need to bow out, I’m a peasant you know, can’t fight with people with 20 degrees and 5 Phds.
@Oliver, cut it out. I am not judging the mother. Unlike some of those who have criticised the court and social workers on this thread, I recognise how ill she has been, and have also drawn attention to how she impressed the judge when she was well.
No, what I am trying to do, and what a court will do, is look objectively at the situation as it affects the child. The effect of the mother’s departure was that she abandoned the child. She could and should have been supported to remain her, under treatment in hospital or in the community. Then she would have been in a position to put the best case she could for the return of the child. I don’t know what the outcome would have been, no one does. I strongly suspect she is an unfit parent, but if so, that is not a moral judgment, but an objective statement. HHJ Newton went out of his way not to criticise her, and made a point of saying he did not think the Italian social services report was saying she had abused her other children, but that one of them had been frightened by her behaviour.
You are the arrogant one – you believe your personal experience beats that of thousands of people worldwide. I have WORKED for the manufacturer of a drug used to treat bipolar disorder. How many reports do you believe come in there in a given month? You accuse me of arrogance but feel qualified to simple negate the experiences of these people because what must not be cannot be and it would interfere with your nice storyline about how its really all the mother’s fault. None of your posts was in any way concerned with the wellbeing of the mother. Every single one of your posts was dedicated to smearing her.
You claim you are not judging the mother but then claim she abandoned the child. Cognitive dissonance much? She tried to make her case with Italian authorities. Had the UK defered jurisdiction to Italian authorities, as it should have, that would have been the proper location. Your insistence on this being deal with by UK authorities suffers from the fact that you have failed to provide a single reason why a UK court should decide what an Italian is or is not capable of doing in Italy.
Both the Hague Convention and Brussels II provide for the possibility to defer such cases to a country better suited to answering the question in specific cases. If any, this is a case such clauses are made for. Yet you continue to insist that ONLY UK authorities are qualified to make a judgment – despite the fact that Italian authorities have greater experience with the case. And we’re not even talking about the fact that she was not provided consular counsel.
Oliver, I have already explained why I believe the English court was the proper venue for this case. I am fed up with having to reply to your boorish insults. Get lost.
@Gaby Some trolls have their heads so up their ar*es that they can’t see clearly anymore. He will probably post a lot of silly yet academic stuff explaining how stupid we are, we know nothing, etc etc. You can’t reason with people whose only opinion that matters is theirs.
This was an Italian problem that should have been dealt with from the beginning by Italian doctors,Italian social workers,and the lady’s Italian family.
@ianjosephs: Throughout the time she was under section, she had the right to apply to a Mental Health Review Tribunal. If the section wasn’t justified, she’d have been released. I’m sure you know that, but it doesn’t suit you to mention it.
Everyone except you accepts that she was extremely ill. I’m sure you know that too, but it suits you not to admit it.
The point is this: You and Booker have been exposed by Carl’s able and thorough post. You really should stop digging.
GABY :- No need to get aggressive ! I agree with you that it was a disgrace that nobody informed this Italian lady that she could in fact appeal to an independent tribunal.I actually recommended this action to another mother some years ago . The tribunal ordered her immediate release and thus stopped the adoption of her child.
The real disgrace is that any short term foreign visitor to the UK can arrive pregnant and be deported leaving her baby to be adopted by UK strangers .Unfortunately I know of several other similar cases as social workers, urged on by the politicians eagerly pursue their adoption targets
You’ve used the word “deported” in relation to AA’s departure to Italy. But she wasn’t in fact deported, was she? HHJ Newton’s care and adoption judgment makes clear she left for Italy voluntarily.
@ianjoseph, More rubbish, this time about the social workers’ motives. The targets, such as they are, are for securing speedy adoptive placements for children in long-term care, not bringing children into care in order to have them adopted.
I don’t believe she wasn’t informed about her right to go to a MHRT. She may have been too ill to understand.
I don’t think I’m being aggressive. I’m just finding it hard to hide my contempt.
Gaby whatever you think of me I do have one quality which you lack and it’s called compassion.
Carl ;She wanted to leave with her baby but two “heavies ” escorted her to Italy without her daughter.Sad and also outrageous.
Surely both of you must see how cruel it is to steal a baby from a loving mother and give it to strangers?
You’ve used the word “deported”, and now you’ve talked of “heavies” escorting AA to Italy. You seem to be insinuating that AA was forcibly removed to Italy against her will.
You should either say so explicitly, if you claim this to be true, or else make it clear that you accept she went to Italy voluntarily.
Well she told me she did not want to leave without her baby which I think you must admit is understandable.I will ask her tomorrow if by that she mean’t she went unwillingly as though I understood that she did not I could have misunderstood.
She wanted to leave with her baby, but needed the court to agree to return the baby to her, which the court refused to do, for resons which have been rehearsed ad nauseam. She was not well enough to travel on her own, so was provided with an escort, whether by the British or Italian authorities I do not know. If you allege she was forced to leave against her will, please say so.
The baby was not stolen. The baby was removed lawfully.
You claim to feel compassion for the mother. Since you do not seem to accept that she was seriously ill, because it doesn’t suit you to do so, you are demonstrating a lack of concern for her interests which I would call callous, not compassionate. You are plainly using her for your own ends.
I look forward to a clear answer about whether you say AA was forcibly removed to Italy or not.
You mean you don’t know? You haven’t got a clear story from her before starting all this brouhaha? You’re a p-artist.
I listened to the lady Gaby and passed on what she told me .I am not a journalist so I was not obliged to get a story; What I DO KNOW IS THAT HER BABY WAS STOLEN FROM HER BY WICKED PEOPLE BREACHING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF BOTH BABY AND MOTHER;All the lawyers,social workers,guardians,judges,medical quacks,experts and others who live off the industry should all go to jail for a very long time;Those who live off the system will of course defend the system but even that lot will be unable to stem the inevitable tide of reform;
Calm down, dear.
Tell that Gaby to the thousands of mothers whose babies have been confiscated for “risk of emotional abuse” and given away to strangers
[…] Booker, Hemming and the “forced caesarian” case: a masterclass in Flat Earth news [Head of Legal] […]
I am a social worker. Thank you so much for this!
There can be no good reason why this lady was not sent back to Italy despite her repeated (and admitted in judgement) requests to be allowed to give birth as planned in her own country leaving Italian social services to deal with any issues.Her baby has instead been stolen (legally) by UK social services for adoption by strangers.
Instead it has been a case of “slice her up,extract the baby,and don’t tell the mother we intend to give it away for forced adoption” She has said that from the beginning they made it obvious they were going to keep her baby for good, but that she was powerless to stop the runaway adoption juggernaut”A sad sad tale.
If by some strange chance the courts and local authorities were suddenly removed from all input into decisions about children it would only take about ten minutes for somebody to point out the obvious and we would soon have something very similar in place. Somebody has to investigate and assess and somebody else has to make a decision about future plans and actions.
Ian Josephs, John Hemmings et all need to grow up and try to put children first.
JENNIFER :- If the family courts and local authorities were removed from all input as you postulate child cruelty would become once again the affair of the police and the criminal courts and the UK would be a better and fairer place to live in.There would be an end to both “punishment without crime” and and “forced adoption” ;thousands of bereft mothers would rejoice as their children were restored but children who were beaten up by parents would be swiftly removed leaving those “at risk of emotional abuse” to grow up in a their own families and allowing the police once again to concentrate on cases of purely physical abuse and neglect. Children born of continental visitors would of course be restored to their countries of origin where forced adoption rarely if ever happens.
You’ve not yet said whether or not you claim AA was forcibly removed to Italy.
Ian – You talk as if emotional abuse does not count in terms of distress for children. The long term negative effects on children of living, for example, in a household where there is domestic abuse, are well documented. Even where “nobody laid a finger on child” there is long lasting trauma and impact on the success of future relationships. Your simplistic view that only physical abuse counts only emphasises my point that you need to take a more mature position and put the welfare of the child at the forefront of any decision.
CARL:- she just repeated that she did not want to leave without her baby .No more can I say. You on the other hand have not come up with any reason why she was not immediately repatriated to Italy as she requested so that she could give birth there in friendly and familiar surroundings;
JENNIFER:-Emotional abuse can of course be serious but with respect it is still a lot better than having your legs or your back broken! Mere “risk” of emotional abuse can never ever justify confiscating a baby at birth from a mother with no criminal record.
We are all at risk in life and we all suffer some form of emotional abuse during our lives as part of normal living.Emotional abuse can never justify separating a baby or child from parents that love it and who are desperate enough to endure months of gruelling court cases to try and keep the family together,. Pure RISK is like a throw of the dice and even less of a reason for forced adoption.
I must add that one of the biggest risk a child can take is to to be taken into care.Forbidden to report abuse and disbelieved if they still do ,children in care are very very likely to end up as prostitutes or convicts with little education to show for their “care”;
Indeed social workers themselves think so little of the care system that they often remove the babies of children in care or adults who have been in care on the grounds that the care is so poor because they have had no family life experience that they are no longer fit to be parents themselves .Judges never ever weigh up the risks of care compared with the risk of leaving a baby or child with its parents.
So you admit that even AA has not claimed to have been deported or forcibly removed to Italy. Yet you used the word “deported”. It’s clear that you don’t value the facts as highly as the chance to make a rhetorical point.
I don’t know why she wasn’t sent to Italy before the birth. Perhaps she didn’t want to go. Perhaps she was too ill to travel. We may find out one day. I think in all probability there’s a perfectly good explanation.
Funny that, following my challenge, you’ve switched from complaining that she was compelled to go to Italy (when even according to you, she doesn’t say that), to now complaining that she wasn’t allowed to go.
Ian, you have set out your stall, and it’s a rag-bag of half-truths and prejudices. You dismiss the views of those who know more than you, saying we defend the system because we have a vested interest in it. Well I haven’t earned a penny from that kind of work for more than 25 years, but I still care passionately about the welfare of children. I have acted variously for local authorities, for parents and for the children themselves. The majority of cases were heard in magistrates courts, where the press were allowed in and the cases were often all over the local press. Magistrates, not to mention county court and High Court judges, were highly trained, and conscientious about assessing evidence and risk. The proceedings were gruelling for all involved, including the lawyers.
I also have friends who have adopted children who have suffered emotional abuse. They are not child stealers and they are not abusers. They are offering a home and considerable devotion to children who are often very hard to parent. As for risk of emotional abuse: if the family have abused one child, and have not learned to parent differently, then it is perfectly reasonable to say younger children will be at risk of abuse – a risk that can and should be assessed.
I don’t know where your dogmatism comes from, but that’s what it is, and it’s most distasteful.
Gaby:- My stall is simple . Stop “punishment without crime” and abolish “forced adoption”
There are no half truths or prejudices there.You believe the contrary but I do not abuse you for it nor do I ascribe to you opinions you do not hold nor words that you have never said ;so I hope you can show me the same courtesy.
CARL:- Be honest,your last quip was not worthy of you ! You claim I switched from complaining that she had to go ,to complaining that she was not allowed to go.You know quite well that she wanted to go to Italy for the birth but did not want to leave after the birth without her baby.The baby was born in between the so called switch and you know it ….. So please…….
The judgement shows that she was begging to leave before the birth but was refused and no reason was given by you or anyone else;her departure afterwards without her baby was traumatic and she certainly told me she had no choice and did not want to leave without her baby .The fine point as to whether she was protesting about leaving the baby behind or whether it was simply about leaving anyway was too finer point for me to insist on when gently questioning her ,and has little importance in the general scheme of things.
The undeniable fact is that she came on a short visit to the UK when pregnant and returned to Italy without her baby daughter because this baby had been sent away to be adopted by UK strangers depite her mother’s entreaties.
There can be no excuse for not letting the baby return with her to Italy to let Italian social workers deal with Italian issues, an Italian Mother and an Italian baby.
How is restricting meds that would stabilize the women’s condition and help her become sane which I believe beneficial to her welfare not carried out? The NHS says because it would harm the baby aka the baby is more important than getting the women well. Moreover after she birthed the child NHS could not wait to get rid of her, even though by their own accord she was extremely unwell and in need of further assistance. Why then not keep her sectioned until she was better?
Makes one wonder whose interest they had at heart.
Carl, I await your answer to my question as to why they placed the baby as a priority over the women.
Your comment is both a display of ignorance about mental health issues and at the same time it is offensive towards the patients. You can’t become “sane”, you only can keep the illness under control.
The doctors and nurses did what they could, the least worst I guess. I usually don’t defend the NHS, but they carried out this case in a brilliant way. The ludicrous thoughts of forced adoption only came out for a reason: it serves well the purpose and the crusade of a politician with a lot of money and a twisted mind.
I am really waiting for the conclusion of this story and see if some people will be held accountable for what they said. I would be also happy to see a parliamentary investigation to be carried out towards this group of derailed conspiracy theorists.
See John… I believe in fairy tales and happy ending, not the crap printed by the Telegraph and the Daily Mail.
And for the happy ending of this story, to compensate AA for everything she suffered, Hemming should have given her an accommodation, a job and her baby back, all in UK.
To let mum and baby to re-unite in a country now on the brink of civil war and bankrupt or to let the baby go ‘rotten’ in an Italian orphanage is simply cruel.
I am a moderator on an Italian forum of expats and I keep receiving help requests, every day, from people who want to leave the country as soon as possible.
Are you all aware of this situation in Italy or it doesn’t fit well your side of things?
I shall try to reply to John’s question. We are not talking about placing the life of the child above that of the mother, which would be, to say the least, problematic. We are talking about causing possibly permanent damage to the child as opposed to a temporary period of ill health for the mother, whose life will not be in danger provided she is properly cared for. The evidence is that the mother herself stopped her medication because she wanted to have a healthy child. To suggest medicating her forcibly in a way that would damage the child is repulsive.
Detention under the Mental Health Act is a deprivation of liberty. When the mother had recovered sufficiently, she ceased to meet the legal criteria for detention and the hospital were obliged to release her.
If I may, I must correct you in one point. Grandparents said clearly that the baby’s mother stopped her meds continuously, not “because” of the pregnancy. Hopefully, we will have some kind of reliable evidence at some point, as the court papers in Florence, which would shed light on the fact that the other children were taken away from her because she had relapses due to her stopping medication also after the pregnancies.
If, as the Essex county council says, the court of Florence agreed to them to proceed as they saw fit for this case in August 2012, we can conclude… Some journalists and some debatable British characters really made a mountain out of a molehill.
Except that the Italian judiciary seems to disagree with that… but hey, they are just bigotted Italians devoid of any rights.
Sara, with the greatest respect, it makes no difference. I recall one of the mother’s champions saying on this thread that she stopped because she was pregnant but I may be wrong. The point, if I may say so, is that mothers want to have healthy babies, and we should want them to do so also, and no one should administer medical treatment that will harm the unborn child unless it is to save the mother’s life. One is doing the mother no favours at all if one does, which is the point I was making.
Ouch, Mr. I-know-everything Oliver is back. Of course you know. Despite nobody can access those documents except an Italian lawyer with a ton of documents under his armpit (signed by a judge), you actually know what the judiciary said.
Strange, I though you didn’t identify yourself as an avvocato al tribunale dei minorenni di Firenze.
@Gaby With all due respect, mother’s champions know nothing. I don’t know anything either but I take the official documents as evidence and the only one we can read, as evidence, is the Essex county council one. It mentions the court of Florence in it, yet we can’t verify that because in Italy court documents are, very often, unaccessible to public.
I get your point though and agree with it.
What I said was both true and fair. You were insinuating that AA was forcibly removed to Italy, till you were challenged and couldn’t sustain that claim. Your response was to switch to an entirely different tack and to claim instead that she was held here in the UK against her will, and for no good reason. You just want to claim that whatever happened at whatever point, it was always due to unjustified force by some UK public servant. You’re quite happy to switch from one unfounded claim, once it’s exposed, to another.
You also say
Which judgment says this? Link us to it and identify the paragraph.
“No, I am no bigot, not religious at all. I told Oliver I was because I didn’t want an endless argument about me.” So you say lying is okay as long as the ends justify the means. Not unsimilar to the St.George’s case yes?
Also is it normal for the OS to never meet with their client to determine best course of action? Why didn’t the judge actually apply the legal test to weather she was mentally incapacitated?
One other thing can I get a link to the Florence judgement in favor of the UK courts, I have looked for it but have failed to find any mention of it outside of what the ECC has stated.
Do you know that no one from the Official Solicitor’s office visited AA? I don’t. Perhaps they did, perhaps they didn’t. But people should be wary of spreading yet another myth about this case before we know.
Is it SOP (standard Operating Procedure) for the NHS to take 10 weeks to come up with a care plan for the birth of a baby, or did they think she would be stabilized w/o meds before getting to that point? Also is it normal for the mentally ill foreign nationals to be arrested, imprisoned against their will, have their choices taken from them, and be cut off from their consulate and embassy?
How about the ECC lobbying to have the baby taken by police right after birth? It does indeed seem heavy handed. Was she told of her legal remedies or is the onus on her for not having a legal degree in UK law?
It was never stated in the transcript what her thoughts and feelings were on the matter and that the OS used a QC to act for him. Where is the evidence that the OS met her at all?
You’re rivalling Ian Josephs here for twisting and inflating language to support your cause. You say:
AA was neither arrested nor imprisoned. Neither of those claims is true.
And what evidence is there that she was “cut off” from the Italian consulate? Are you saying some doctor, nurse or social worker refused Italian consular staff access to AA? If you want to claim that, give us details of your claim and link us to evidence that supports it.
I agree the story the paper printed was misleading and sensationalized, however that doesn’t mean that there are no questions as to weather any wrongs have happened.
Why hasn’t ECC mentioned contacting the Italian authorities before this went down? You are saying see wasn’t forced to stay against her will? The police didn’t detain her?
It would be fantastic if your secret courts would be a little more transparent by anonymize the names of parties involved while allow the public to disseminate the case. If that were the case I wouldn’t have so many questions.
Sorry, but demanding evidence from others while presenting none yourself and twisting the law while accusing others of twisting the language hardly makes you particularly credible.
If you have any evidence that the consulate was contacted by authorities at the moment the mother was sectioned, kindly provide it. We know the consulate was notified in December, but that is a wee bit late as per the Vienna Conventions.
As per Vienna Conventions, it is patently irrelevant whether she was arrested and imprisoned, in which case Article 36 was applicable, or unconscious or otherwise unable to make her own decisions, in which case Article 37 was applicable.
In either case, the consulate would have to be notified posthaste by authorities. Not after the whole affair is over.
So kindly provide evidence this was done OR some credible reason why the UK is above such puny considerations as the Vienna Conventions. Otherwise, she was cut off from the consulate by default.
I doubt it would be usual for the Official Solicitor himself to meet any client. Quite a few caseworkers are employed at his office. I don’t claim any of them went to see AA in hospital. I don’t know whether they did or not, and nor do you.
Is it normal to punish people for pre-crimes? The judge denied anymore time for the women to prove herself based on the crime of not taking her meds in the future. Does the judge not believe in rehabilitation, that trying to improve one’s self is not possible? That has to be slightly depressing if you sentence criminals to prison believing they will never turn their lives around.
You say I’ve presented no evidence. Evidence of what? What claim have I made without evidence? I don’t know if or when the Italian consulate was informed. I have made no claim about that. If someone does make a claim – for instance that the consulate was not notified – then they’re the ones who need some evidence.
Gosh. It takes a remarkable leap of logic to conclude that something didn’t happen from the fact that I don’t know whether it did or not, and have no evidence either way.
You also say I’m “twisting the law”. Say what law I’ve “twisted”.
Sorry, Carl, but the leap of logic is on your part. If the consulate was contacted in December, what for? You are dodging the fact that the course of events is not reconcilable with procedures being followed.
You are willing to accept a remarkable number of claims by ECC without a shred of evidence, and all observations speaking against them, but consistently demand evidence from others.
As for the law you twisted, I already cited which. Of course, if you want it specifically, it would be the law that ratified the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
Why waste time debating trifles?
The simple fact is that this Italian woman came to the UK from Italy for a brief visit ,was cut open ,her baby removed and given to strangers for adoption in the UK.
THERE CAN BE NO EXCUSE FOR THIS AT ALL;Even if she was still mad as a hatter now (which she is not) ,this was an affair for Italian social services in Italy where forced adoption is almost unknown.
End of story (until maybe Judge Munby intervenes)
You say I’ve “twisted” the Vienna Convention; but I’ve not mentioned it.
You did not mention it explicitly, but any discussion of rights and duties of consular notification invariably defer to it implicitly, as said rights and duties are specified in it.
I didn’t discuss rights or duties of consular notification either.
“And what evidence is there that she was “cut off” from the Italian consulate? Are you saying some doctor, nurse or social worker refused Italian consular staff access to AA? ”
Your words or not?
Sorry, but your trying to weasel out is not particularly credible. You are trying to reduce consular contact to contact BY the consulate rather than WITH the consulate.
Your accusation that I was “twisting the law” is ridiculous. Nothing you’ve said, including your last comment, gets anywhere near providing a basis for it.
The favourable judgement was stated in a link I had posted above in one of my comments but Carl had to remove the link because it was mentioning the lady’s name. The actual transcript is not available of course, justice in Italy is not transparent at all. Unless you have legal permission to view it, as per a lawyer following a case.
What’s the OS? Can’t answer this one.
@Oliver H do you have evidence the consulate was NOT informed? Where did you read that? Please don’t tell me the daily Mail or the Telegraph. And why are you discussing consular duties not being an Italian citizen? Just curious, at this point.
@ianjoseph you shouldn’t be even included into a normal conversation.
denying it doesn’t change it.
Read the pertinent articles and compare them with your interpretation of consular access.
Essex County Council briefing to the media gave this timeline:
There have been lengthy legal proceedings in this case over the past 15 months.
· Mother detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act on 13 June 2012
· Application by the Health Trust to the High Court 23 August 2012
· Application for Interim Care Order 24 August 2012
· Mother took part in the care proceedings ending on 1 February 2013.
· Mother applied to Italian Courts for order to return the child to Italy in May 2013. Those courts ruled that child should remain in England
· In October 2013 Essex County Council obtains permission from County Court to place child for adoption
This is inaccurate in respect of the proceedings in Italy. The court in Florence in May 2013 merely said that an application should be made to the Rome court because the child was not at that time in Italy and the Rome Court dealt with such issues. Your authority was represented in the Rome proceedings and hence it is unreasonable for the authority to argue that it was unaware of those proceedings.
The Rome court stated (inter alia):
“In the opinion of this Court, the removal of the child from her parent as soon as she was born, as evidenced by the petitioner, and contrary to the opinion of the doctors, combined with the virtually simultaneous involuntary medical treatment involving a caesarean section on the parent by order of a court, poses an irreconcilable conflict with the fundamental rules that protect the rights of the child in matters of adoption. These assert that questions as to whether a child is available for adoption and the subsequent adoption of the child shall be a last resort and assumes, in any case, that the maternal parenting skills have first been tested and this is especially the case where the separation is carried out at a point where the parent is still in precarious condition and stressed by the recent birth.
The Court therefore believes that the [UK] court decision can not be recognized on the grounds that it is contrary to the principles set out , which are in regard to adoptions an integral part of public domestic and international order, taking account of the effects that recognition would have on domestic law , as [such recognition] would then justify the permanent discontinuation of the relationship between the child , the mother , the only parent recognized , and other relatives including the two sisters [Redacted – Carl. I won’t allow you to name children here], as well as the the maternal grandmother, [Redacted – Carl. I’m not sure naming the grandmother is in the public interest].
A copy of this judgment is sent to the Italian Diplomatic Representation to the UK for feedback and in respect of issues of competence .”
Section 1 of the Children Act states that the welfare of the child shall be paramount. Because this is UK primary legislation the Human Rights Act must give paramountcy to children over adults. There are all sorts of complications with medication during pregnancy and a danger in this case of our getting muddled up as different issues come together.
Ian Josephs and his supporters do not take into account the “paramountcy” principle which will protect children in any circumstance where their welfare is at risk. We do not always get it right but many professionals (including social workers, the police, the courts and the medical profession) try very hard to do what is right in complex situations.
Having had my Son adopted because of ‘future risk of emotional harm’ I can honestly say men like Ian Josephs and Christopher Booker are like Hero’s to women like me, I was 20 at the time and my worst crime was, wait for it,using recreational drugs and depression, both before pregnancy, even my solicitor called the evidence historical. However five years later I find myself wanting to be sterilized rather than risk another pregnancy after the barbaric way I was treated last time, my Mum died whilst I was in a placement, and that was the time I was thrown into a psychological assessment, two weeks after my Mum had died. Now I am studying a degree in Combined Social Sciences, no point looking forward to having a family, I doubt as though I could ever put myself at risk of going through that again. My Son also has a broken attachment and really poor speech, bless him, he was taken away from his Mum who never abused or neglected him, and now when he is older he will have all the negative feelings associated with being adopted. I wonder how people think he will react when he finds out why he was adopted to begin with?
Lawyers may argue all they like about petty details.The fact remains that this lady came for a short visit to the UK when pregnant.
The second fact is that her baby was legally stolen from her so that she is back home in Italy whilst her baby as been earmarked by Essex social services to swell the growing number of babies whose parents lose them to “forced adoption”.
It’s Brooker Bashing time, again, again, again .
Legals would do better giving all out defences for their clients.
This case is horrific because the mother should simply have been sent home to Italy with her unborn baby, instead of trying to grab it for Forced Adoption by Essex SS v dept., which is clearly what happened.
Judgment point in regards to “Mother voluntarily returning to Italy can be found in the HHJ Newton Judgment Paragraph 9 page 4
“9. By that stage it was being asserted by the treating doctors that the mother had regained capacity under the relevant test. I have to say that when the mother appeared before me at that time she did not appear to be at all well, and I am surprised that it was being
claimed that she had legal capacity . I am critical of the doctors because it appears to me that she was despatched (in deed escorted ) from the UK with undue haste simply because she wished to go back to Italy. I was led to believe that the mother was in a
good state and a good frame of mind but frankly nothing could have been further from the truth, because if one looks at the reports of the admitting Doctors in italy , it is
clear that the mother when she arrived in Italy was in a very poor state .She should in my view have been assisted here to participate in these proceedings. I know she wanted to go to Italy but by going to Italy any realistic prospect of P returning to her
care was diminished substantially. It is for that reason it seems to me that it was a most ill-advised thing to have occurred. I was critical at the time and I remain critical
to this day”
In my opinion, for what it is worth, I do not think that the mother was “Forcefully Removed” but was escorted out of the UK following her wishes, in the above paragraph it does seem that however the decision was made and by whom, it is clear, it was the wrong decision to return or allow the mother to return to Italy, AT that time.
Cut to the chase you legal quibblers ! A pregnant Italian visitor to the UK was cut open ,her baby snatched and given for adoption by UK strangers ,so she returned to Italy without her baby .
Sort out the wheat from the chaff and you commentators will understand the real situation………………… DISGRACEFUL !!!
Munby’s judgment, in response to an application by Essex for an injunction on further reporting of the case that has been covered across the world, takes further than ever before his crusade to meet the growing criticism of our dysfunctional “child protection” system by exposing it to “the glare of publicity”.
His most trenchant passage answers all those legal bloggers who rushed to criticise me and others for our coverage of this disturbing story by asking “how can the family justice system blame the media for inaccuracy in the reporting of family cases if for whatever reason none of the relevant information has been put before the public?”
I presume you don’t wish to comment on this.
Interesting that this thread seems to have come to a screeching halt before various inconvenient truths came to light.
Either you’ve not read Sir James Munby’s judgment of 17 December, or else despite having read it you’re choosing to accept Christopher Booker’s view of it anyway. I think it’s him you’re quoting.
The judgment contains no passage answering legal bloggers’ criticisms of Christopher Booker. Sir James takes a very restrained and moderate approach, and mentions legal bloggers without any criticism. But his judgment does contain more than one paragraph referring to the inaccurate media reporting of this case.
For instance at paragraph 1, he says the case
At paragraph 13 he says
At paragraphs 21-22 he says
The judgment can’t seriously be read as a vindication of Christopher Booker and an “answer” to legal bloggers’ criticism of him.
The judgment is, however, clear evidence as to how self-righteous and without care for proper procedures Essex authorities are proceeding in the case.
Booker is 99% accurate and Essex are not ! Essex dare to say that the Italian courts agreed to leave jurisdiction to the UK when in fact the opposite is the case as they have already applied to have jurisdiction transferred to Italy and have severely criticised the UK courts in this matter.Booker made it clear in the same article that the Italian mother was suffering from bi polar but the critics on legal blogs missed out that bit deliberately making it look as though her panic attack was the only factor mentioned by Booker as the cause for her removal.Masters of deceit………..
[…] https://www.headoflegal.com/2013/12/04/booker-hemming-and-the-forced-caesarian-case-a-masterclass-in-… […]
Unlike Hemming my Italian does not yo yo “now I can, now I hastily can’t cos ..opps!”.
Plus I have CrackItalianLawyerTeam to help with …leagally stuff diciphering.
I spoke to the presidente of the tribunale di Roma (gave the case number Hemming posted on Mumsnet, got whizzed right up to the presidente) That is the case Hemming posted an extract from (unredacted) on mumsnet to support … eerily almost exactly the same thing you are saying. Except…the case was archived. Becuase the court could not find for either party. Becuase it is bound by the Italian constitution to the fundamental principle of “territorialitá non personalitá”.
If you have other evidence my Italian legal eagles are happy to give it a once over. No data dump to distract please, just the relevant stuff. Links not copy and paste jobs. No desire to get embroiled in “UnredactedGate 2.0 The first one still rages on and I can’t spare the time for another.
@Sarah Pravitra Fontò
They could not find for either party, because their authority is indeed limited by territory – which means they have no power to compel British authorities to do anything.
That doesn’t change anything about the applicability of the Brussels II articles (and similar articles in other potentially pertinent regulations such as the Hague convention) that in cases where another member nations’ courts might be better suited to handle a case, a country’s authorities can consider that the case be deferred to them.
Precisely why do you think people come up with such articles? It couldn’t possibly be that they were thinking of cases where a child would normally have the nationality of one country but was born in another, no?
Nicholas Wall knew well the expert was not likely to be impartial even though they were in theory jointly instructed.
His attacks on John Hemming were wholly unfounded.
That an expert who did not give the answers they wanted would not be recommended by the LA.
It demonstrated why Nicholas Wall should not have been president of the family division.
I’m sure they will.
The role of the Court of Appeal was to act as a “roof” tocontainany scandal in the Family Courts
Thanks for providing some balance to the discussion.
Being both a doctor (psychiatrist) and a law student, it was not hard for me to generate a more realistic idea of the circumstances this woman most likely faced, than those as described by Booker.
Unfortunately most of the public do not have the privilege of specialist knowledge of mental health legislation and its interface with clinical decision-making. It is therefore understandable how Booker’s irresponsible and ignorant journalism might provoke animosity and paranoia toward social and mental health services.
I, like George Monbiot do often wonder whether Christopher Booker really exists, or whether he is ‘simply a device invented to waste as much of other people’s time as possible’. (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2011/oct/13/christopher-booker)
Hard for anyone to believe Shaz that you could be a law student or a psychiatrist .”ignorant and irresponsible journalism provoking animosity and paranoia” !!
What kind of argument is that Shaz ? Surely even you could do a bit better?
“A device invented to waste as much of other people’s time as possible” No Shaz that is no improvement……………….
Try instead explaining why a pregnant Italian visitor to the UK was drugged,then cut open so that her baby could be extracted and given away to strangers for forced adoption leaving her to return home to Italy without her baby……………No excuses please …….!
The Dread Christopher Booker actually exists to the discomfort of Family Court judges and SS Directors.
What is totally unacceptable is the campaign in favour of Forced Adoption by whitewashing seizures of children in these cases.
False claims of mental illness against mothers to accommodate SS Departments are quite common.
IanJosephs earlier in this thread “Sara ,abuse gets you nowhere.”
IanJosephs later in this thread “Hard for anyone to believe Shaz that you could be a law student or a psychiatrist “; “What kind of argument is that Shaz ? Surely even you could do a bit better?”
I guess ad hominems are only ok if they’re coming from you Mr Joseph?
[…] case was roundly criticised as misleading by respected legal practitioners and bloggers, including Carl Gardner, Lucy Reed and Adam Wagner. According to Mr Booker’s initial account of the case, a […]
yes the Dread Christopher Booker actually exists and rings the workers in the cases he supports to check the accuracy of details.
I know because our workers have been the ones confirming them.
The most frequent are caused by crazy behaviour by Family Court judges colluding with social services departments and psychiatrists.
you appear to have a vested interest here.
When you say “our workers”, what do you mean? Do you work for or with a local authority children’s services department?
no, we act for the defence.
The “crazy claims” of the Dread Christopher Booker are in fact true.
You work for a firm of solicitors, then? Who’s “we”?
[…] the Italian C-sec/adoption case hit the information it was debated on […]
Cut the waffle and get to the bottom line ! This voluble pregnant Italian lady had successfully passed a course for cabin crew at Ryanair when after an argument about her hotel bill and a panic attack this lady was forcibly sectioned;
She was detained despite repeated heartfelt pleas to return home to Italy and requests to outsiders like Christopher Booker and myself to get so she could have her baby in ITALY.
She was constantly drugged against her will ,refused outside visitors, sliced open when drugged yet again so that her baby could be given away for adoption by strangers! Only then was she packed off to Italy ,her baby successfully snatched and disposed of by UK social workers and dodgy doctors complicit in the shocking removal of babies at birth to meet adoption targets.
The only reason presented for the baby being adopted in the UK seems to be that the Italy is not fit to care for children in this predicament.
So I am sure we can all agree that having our legal system bound to theirs via the EU and European Arrest Warrent etc is a very, very bad position to be in, and we shoudl detach the UK from this (and other EU legal systems) at the earliest opportunity.
Oh, why would that be the case? So that England can strip more children of their birthright with impunity, under the guise of giving them the great gift of Britishness?
[…] from Josephs’ website to Booker’s articles. Also see this article. See this post from Head of Legal in 2013, discussing the joint activities of Booker and Hemming around the ‘forced C-section […]
[…] https://www.headoflegal.com/2013/12/04/booker-hemming-and-the-forced-caesarian-case-a-masterclass-in-… […]
[…] a caesarean while sectioned (very good round up of how a whole host of columnists twisted the story here); and thirdly George Osborne’s autumn […]
[…] of their comments on the case, including that of Carl Gardner, on Head of Legal, entitled “Booker, Hemming and the ‘forced caesarean’ case: a masterclass in Flat Earth news“. The definition of “Flat Earth news” was derived from a book by Nick Davies […]
As someone who has had a natural birth after several c sections, it horrifies me that the UK courts can force me to have a c section. The risk of uterine rupture is 1 percent after 2 or more c sections (the study also included participants who had artificial induction of labor). According to the Rozenberg study measurements of the area above the scar/s can be taken to calculate your individual risk. I’m glad I didn’t have my child in the UK.