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| Middlesbrough Borough Council
169-173 Stockton Street
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Crown Copyright ©
(A) The burden is upon the applicant local authority to prove the breaches.
(B) The standard of proof is the criminal standard – that is to say, that I must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt of the alleged facts, before I find the allegation proved.
(C) The respondent has been entitled to cross examine the witnesses and, indeed, has done so through me. He is entitled to give and call evidence; again he has been assisted by me in doing so.
"1. The first respondent, [M], shall have no contact with the children – L and C– directly or indirectly by any means, including electronic means, except such contact as is supervised by the local authority or its agents, until further order.
2. The first respondent, [M], shall not approach for any reason directly or indirectly, by any means, including electronic means, the second respondents, Mr and Mrs Z, until further order."
"4. SF shall not have any contact with the children – L and C– directly or indirectly by any means, including electronic means, or make any attempt to approach the children until further order.
5. SF shall not approach for any reason, directly or indirectly, by any means, including electronic means, the second respondents, Mr. and Mrs Z, until further order."
"Using threatening/abusive/words/behaviour/ or disorderly behaviour, likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Adult female approaches and converses with her ten year old daughter in local takeaway, thereby breaching a court order imposed by Family Court. Female's step-father, who is guardian of child, approaches them and instructs child to move away. Adult female then verbally abuses and shouts at her step-father, repeatedly calling him 'a cunt', 'an evil cunt', in front of many members of the public."
(1) On 29th April 2016, L said that she had been in contact via text message with her mother.
(2) On 3rd May 2016, Ms G, social worker, observed Facebook messages on L's mobile phone from her mother and aunt, Ms. X.
"It is alleged that [M] … has used social media, namely Facebook, to engage in conversations with L on 27th April 2016 … M was asked whether she was responsible for the offence. She said that she was responsible. M explained that she had breached the order by wishing her daughter a happy birthday. M said she understood that there is an order in place; that she was in court on the day that it was issued and that she understood it to state that she is to have no contact with her daughters L and C at all. M stated that on 27th April 2016 she messaged her daughter L all day. She explained that it was her daughter's thirteenth birthday and that she had received messages via Facebook, saying 'good morning, I love you' and that she had replied and communication had lasted most of the day. She confirmed that she did this knowing full well that she was in breach of the court order; she initially claimed that it was only L involved in the conversation on this date."
(4) On 26th May 2016, Mrs. Z reported that SF was walking past her property regularly and she felt intimidated.
(8) On 18th July 2016, Mrs. Z informed Ms G, social worker, that M and SF had approached C in the street and had given her a Segway for her birthday.
"I was thinking of a way to give her a birthday present. She was in front of the grandmother's home."
"You are joking, aren't you? They think I'm a monster."
(10) On 19th August, M approached L as she walked down the street and spoke to her.
"I would know if the kids were frightened and they weren't. The kids walk one way or the other, we bump into each other."
(11) On 26th August, Mrs. Z informed Ms G that M and SF had taken C to Runswick Bay for the day. C confirmed this. This was reported to the police.
"No I didn't take her on that day, I took her 18 months before."
(12) On 29th September, Mr. Z informed Ms. G, social worker, that he had seen L and her mother, M, in the local shop on the previous day and had video footage of the same on his phone.
(13) On various dates, M and SF have incited C and L to take photographs of themselves holding bottles of alcohol, in the home of their grandparents.
(14) On a day or date unspecified, the mother and/or SF have encouraged or incited the girls to write a letter to the court.
"Dear Crown Court, I am writing to explain our feelings and thoughts … we want to go back home with mam and S. Neither of them are a danger to us. We were a happy family and we all wish to be happy again. It's against all of our human rights to be kept away from each other. We live on the same road, only a few houses away and we get told off for talking to them. It's impossible! … it's not a crime to talk to your children, especially if our mam isn't any danger to us …"
"I was dragged through the care system myself. The social services need to sort themselves out. There have been continual complaints to the social services, but all they (the grandparents) are trying to do is to stitch us up. It's a joke. The system has failed me as a kid and an adult. I'm in this court, my life is on hold. They're not even following the basic rules. Where do they care about M? Mr. and Mrs. Z need help. I say that we've done nothing wrong. They've been waiting for us to slip up. We've had no contact with the social workers, we've not even spoken to the social worker, not ever done so."
(Further submissions are made by Ms Beattie and SF re the sanction)
"All we want is to be left alone to bring them up."
"I'm 76, I can do without this. We want to offer the girls a home where they are happy and secure."
(Ms Beattie and SF made final comments to His Lordship)
We hereby certify that this judgment has been approved by The Honourable Mr Justice Cobb.