Wednesday 20 September 2017

'Violent' pregnant woman loses bid to fight care case here

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

AN "extremely violent" English mother with criminal convictions including child cruelty, perverting the course of justice and possession of a firearm has lost her bid to have her baby's childcare case dealt with by the Irish courts.

The mother of four, who is pregnant, fled social workers in the UK and gave birth to a girl at Dublin's Rotunda Maternity Hospital last September after arriving heavily pregnant.

In June last year she told a UK midwife that she would flee the country rather than be seen by its social services who decided the police should be present at the birth of the child.

The woman is one of more than 40 expectant mothers fleeing social services in England and Wales who have given birth in Irish hospitals in recent months to avoid their newborns being taken into care.

In a ruling that is expected to guide future actions contested by British parents, the High Court said it is in the best interests of the baby girl for the case to be dealt with by the English courts.

The HSE, which secured emergency care orders to take the child into care after her birth, had urged the High Court to ask the courts in England and Wales to deal with the case.

SHOOTING

Yesterday, the woman failed to prevent the HSE obtaining orders that the future care of the infant be dealt with by the UK courts.

High Court judge Mr Justice George Birmingham said that given the historic involvement of the UK courts and social services with the woman, the best place for further legal issues to be dealt with was there.

A stay has been placed on the High Court's order for one week pending a Supreme Court appeal by the mother, who is now living in Ireland and has some access to her child, known as L, who is in the care of foster parents.

The High Court heard that the woman has a conviction for possession of a firearm without a certificate after shooting herself and falsely accusing a former boyfriend of shooting her.

She told staff at the Rotunda that she moved to Ireland to start a new life with her husband and baby, a claim disputed by the husband who supported the HSE's bid to have the case dealt with in the UK.

While it was understandable that a person who has experienced difficulty in life will want to move on and start a new life, it was not possible to wipe clean what had gone before, Judge Birmingham said.

It was imperative that a detailed scrutiny of what occurred in the past be undertaken and it was clear this can take place more easily in the UK rather than here, he said.

Irish Independent

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