| Child taken from womb by social services after mother’s panic attack!

Child taken from womb by social services , The Telegraph.

Exclusive: Essex social services have obtained a court order against a woman that allowed her to be forcibly sedated and for her child to be taken from her womb by caesarean section.

A pregnant woman has had her baby forcibly removed by caesarean section by social workers.

Essex social services obtained a High Court order against the woman that allowed her to be forcibly sedated and her child to be taken from her womb.

The council said it was acting in the best interests of the woman, an Italian who was in Britain on a work trip, because she had suffered a mental breakdown.

The baby girl, now 15 months old, is still in the care of social services, who are refusing to give her back to the mother, even though she claims to have made a full recovery.

The case has developed into an international legal row, with lawyers for the woman describing it as “unprecedented”.

They claim that even if the council had been acting in the woman’s best interests, officials should have consulted her family beforehand and also involved Italian social services, who would be better-placed to look after the child.

Brendan Fleming, the woman’s British lawyer, told The Sunday Telegraph: “I have never heard of anything like this in all my 40 years in the job.

“I can understand if someone is very ill that they may not be able to consent to a medical procedure, but a forced caesarean is unprecedented.

“If there were concerns about the care of this child by an Italian mother, then the better plan would have been for the authorities here to have notified social services in Italy and for the child to have been taken back there.”

The case, reported by Christopher Booker in his column in The Sunday Telegraph, raises fresh questions about the extent of social workers’ powers.

It will be raised in Parliament this week by John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat MP. He chairs the Public Family Law Reform Coordinating Campaign, which wants reform and greater openness in court proceedings involving family matters.

He said: “I have seen a number of cases of abuses of people’s rights in the family courts, but this has to be one of the more extreme.

“It involves the Court of Protection authorising a caesarean section without the person concerned being made aware of what was proposed. I worry about the way these decisions about a person’s mental capacity are being taken without any apparent concern as to the effect on the individual being affected.”

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is an Italian national who come to Britain in July last year to attend a training course with an airline at Stansted Airport in Essex.

She suffered a panic attack, which her relations believe was due to her failure to take regular medication for an existing bipolar condition.

She called the police, who became concerned for her well-being and took her to a hospital, which she then realised was a psychiatric facility.

She has told her lawyers that when she said she wanted to return to her hotel, she was restrained and sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Meanwhile, Essex social services obtained a High Court order in August 2012 for the birth “to be enforced by way of caesarean section”, according to legal documents seen by this newspaper.

The woman, who says she was kept in the dark about the proceedings, says that after five weeks in the ward she was forcibly sedated. When she woke up she was told that the child had been delivered by C-section and taken into care.

In February, the mother, who had gone back to Italy, returned to Britain to request the return of her daughter at a hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Her lawyers say that she had since resumed taking her medication, and that the judge formed a favourable opinion of her. But he ruled that the child should be placed for adoption because of the risk that she might suffer a relapse.

The cause has also been raised before a judge in the High Court in Rome, which has questioned why British care proceedings had been applied to the child of an Italian citizen “habitually resident” in Italy. The Italian judge accepted, though, that the British courts had jurisdiction over the woman, who was deemed to have had no “capacity” to instruct lawyers.

Lawyers for the woman are demanding to know why Essex social services appear not have contacted next of kin in Italy to consult them on the case.

They are also upset that social workers insisted on placing the child in care in Britain, when there had been an offer from a family friend in America to look after her.

An expert on social care proceedings, who asked not to be named because she was not fully acquainted with the details of the case, described it as “highly unusual”.

She said the council would first have to find “that she was basically unfit to make any decision herself” and then shown there was an acute risk to the mother if a natural birth was attempted.

An Essex county council spokesman said the local authority would not comment on ongoing cases involving vulnerable people and children.

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| UK’s top family judge: ‘Jail social workers who take children without telling parents why!’

Jail social workers who take children without telling parents why, says Britain’s top family judge ~ Mail Online.

 

  • Sir James Munby attacked workers in Bristol who didn’t explain themselves.
  • They did not tell a couple why their two children were being taken from them.
  • They breach a court order in doing so – which could carry a jail term in future.

The country’s most senior family judge yesterday launched a furious attack on social workers who failed to tell parents why their children were being adopted – and suggested that in future the same offence could carry a jail term.

Local authority workers in Bristol ignored a court order requiring them to explain why the couple’s two children were being taken for adoption.

They only released the information to the parents 45 minutes before the decision was due to be finalised, giving the family no real hope of mounting a challenge in court.

Sir James Munby

Sir James Munby said family courts must be exposed to the ‘glare of publicity.’

Sir James Munby, who is President of the Family Division, said their behaviour was ‘deplorable’ and ‘symptomatic of a deeply rooted culture in family courts’.

In his judgment, he accused the social workers of having a ‘slapdash’ and ‘lackadaisical’ attitude to court orders.

He said the couple, who were facing the ‘permanent loss of two children’ had been denied ‘vitally important’ information.

He also warned that in future, there would be ‘consequences’ for social workers, suggesting that they could be jailed for contempt if they fail to comply with court orders – an offence that carries a sentence of up to two years.

Until now, local authority workers have largely been protected by family courts, which also routinely tolerate delays and inefficiencies in their work.

By contrast, members of the public who have failed to comply with court orders have been dealt with severely.

The most notorious case of this was the prison sentence for contempt handed down to Wanda Maddocks, who wanted to get her father out of a care home where she thought he was being ill-treated.

 

Miss Maddocks was jailed without representation and in secret until her case was revealed by the Daily Mail.

But Sir James’s warning suggests council staff will now face the same punishment as ordinary members of the public if they fail – either through incompetence or unwillingness – to hand over the required information on time.

He told the court: ‘That the parents should have been put in this position is quite deplorable.

‘It is, unhappily, symptomatic of a deeply rooted culture in the family courts which, however long established, will no longer be tolerated.

‘The court is entitled to expect – and from now on family courts will demand – strict compliance with all such orders.

Controversial case: Wanda Maddocks was jailed in secret after trying to remove her father from a care homeNotorious case: Wanda Maddocks, pictured, was jailed in secret for failing to comply with a court order

‘Non-compliance with orders should be expected to have and will usually have a consequence.’

He added: ‘There is simply no excuse for this. Orders must be obeyed and complied with to the letter and on time. Non-compliance with an order, any order, by anyone is bad enough.

‘It is a particularly serious matter if the defaulter is a public body such as a local authority.

‘It is also a particularly serious matter if the order goes to something as vitally important as the right of a parent who is facing the permanent loss of their child to know what case is being mounted against them by a public authority.’

Lib Dem MP John Hemming, who has campaigned for openness in the family courts, said: ‘At least anybody who is sent down for contempt by Sir James will not be locked up in secret.

‘He has put the boot on to the other foot. The next time courts are let down by the incompetence or bloody-mindedness of social workers, it will be a director of children’s services facing jail rather than a parent.’

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| Rehabilitate abuser Israel: Only democracy in ME [?] denies prisoners EDUCATION!

Palestinian prisoners consider mass protests ~ Nasouh Nazzal, Gulf News.

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Prisoners say Israel’s denial of education to them could lead to widespread protests.

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Ramallah: Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have given their jailers a chance to reconsider allowing the prisoners to continue their higher education before widespread protests are organised throughout Israeli jails.

The aim of the protests is to force the Israeli occupation to adhere to the articles of the agreement already signed between Israel and the prisoners’ leadership which grants the prisoners unconditional access to higher education.

The Israeli Higher Court of Justice on Tuesday denied Palestinian prisoners the right to continue their higher education, with the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees’ Affairs strongly condemning the ruling, and urging support from Unesco and international human rights organisations.

The prisoners have appealed to the court to impose an earlier decision that allows them free educational access, but the court claimed that the prisoners’ right to education is not secured by law.

In an interview with Gulf News, Eisa Qaraqei, the Palestinian Minister of Detainees’ Affairs said that the Israeli court’s ruling is targeting the prisoners for revenge. “The unconditional opportunity of the prisoners to continue their higher education was the key prisoners’ demand during their 28 day mass protest held on April 17th, and Israel bowed to this demand and signed an official agreement with the Prisoner Movement,” he said.

“As usual and once again, Israel did not commit, cheated the prisoners and changed its mind saying no to the education of the prisoners,” said Qaraqei.

“The prisoners’ demand is fair, legitimate and there are no acceptable grounds for Israel to refuse such a demand,” he stressed.

Basic right

“Now Israel has a chance to have second thoughts about the higher education of the prisoners who will never stop protesting since Israel is denying them the basic right of education,” he warned.

Qaraqei said the Palestinian prisoners will enter a confrontation with the Israeli authorities which have been provided with a legal cover in line with the Israeli Higher Court ruling. “Palestinian prisoners will firmly confront the Israeli jailers with creative protesting measures to retrieve their stolen rights,” he said.

Denying the Palestinian prisoners the chance to continue their higher education was an episode in a chain of punishments the Israeli government adopted when the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured and held in Gaza. Once Shalit was released in a deal with Hamas, the Israeli government vowed to freeze all the measures imposed against the prisoners including a right to free education.

A large number of Palestinian prisoners are done with most of the requirements to obtain bachelor’s degrees from the Hebrew University in Israel but they have been suspended for years.

Many other prisoners have been enrolled in Palestinian open universities but the Israeli measures including the seizure of books and stationary provided by the prisoners’ families has made it extremely difficult for the prisoners to go on with their education.

Shadi Younes, a released Palestinian prisoner told Gulf News that it is impossible for any Palestinian prisoner to carry on his education even secretly. “The Israelis seize all books and send prisoners suspected of trying to obtain an education to solitary confinements during the examination periods,” he said.

Israeli Prison Service usually transfers the prisoners from one prison to the other to ensure those prisoners do not have any access to education whatsoever, he said.

“Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are fully determined to continue their education and ready to sacrifice whatever to achieve this end,” he said.

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