News Courts

Sunday 21 September 2014

'Baby with no name' to be adopted, British judge rules

Brian Farmer

Published 25/05/2014 | 14:40

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A 15-year-old boy has pleaded not guilty to assaulting a school principal

A baby who has not been given a name is to be placed for adoption after a High Court judge highlighted concerns about his father's hostility to social workers.

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Mrs Justice Parker decided that the five-month-old boy should be taken into care after being told how his father had assaulted one social worker and threatened to kill another.

The father appeared to have become frustrated by what he saw as an "invasive" approach by social services staff, and the judge said she thought he could be "dangerous".

She also had concerns about the vulnerability of baby's mother, who had been diagnosed with a learning difficulty.

Mrs Justice Parker said she was troubled by the couple's decision not to name their baby.

She said she thought it "emotionally harmful" not to give a child a name.

The judge accepted that the couple loved the baby and described the case as "terribly sad", but she concluded that the combination of the father's hostility and the mother's vulnerability created a high risk of the boy suffering significant emotional harm, and a possibility of him being caught up in violence.

The mother, who cannot be identified, said she and her partner aim to challenge Mrs Justice Parker's ruling at the Court of Appeal.

She said the judge had been unfair.

Mrs Justice Parker outlined her reasoning in a public ruling following a private hearing at a family court in Watford.

The judge said no one in the baby's family could be identified, but she said the local authority with responsibility for the baby - Hertfordshire County Council - could be named.

She made no criticism of Hertfordshire County Council and described a social worker involved in the case as "excellent".

Mrs Justice Parker said the couple's two-year-old son had been taken into care last year after another judge raised similar fears and described the father's behaviour towards social services staff as "dangerous".

She said the baby had been taken into interim care days after his birth, pending a final court ruling on his future.

The judge said the mother also had an older third child - by another man - who had gone into foster carer as a toddler and lived with a relative.

She said the father did not think that his partner needed local authority support when looking after children, and thought he could provide all the support she needed.

He appeared to have become "increasingly frustrated and intolerant" with social services staff and had refused to co-operate and been hostile, she said.

Mrs Justice Parker said the mother made excuses for her partner.

She said the mother had not faced up to the his behaviour and she doubted whether the couple could live apart.

But the mother criticised the judge, telling the Press Association: "We haven't had a fair hearing and we're going to appeal.

"I don't think I have learning disability and the judge hasn't given me a change to prove that.

"And my partner only gets angry with social workers - no one else. The judge hasn't taken account of that. Anyone would be angry. We love our children and we're only human. And he has apologised."

She said there was a reason why the baby had not been given a name.

"Our religion means that we have to have a naming ceremony," she said.

"They took the baby from us before we could do that. If the baby had been left with us he would have been given a name."

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