ON APPEAL FROM PORTSMOUTH COUNTY COURT
(HIS HONOUR JUDGE MARSHALL)
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LADY JUSTICE BLACK
|IN THE MATTER OF B (A CHILD)|
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Mr Geoffrey Kelly (instructed by Southfields Solicitors) appeared on behalf of the Respondent mother.
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Lady Justice Black:
(1) She granted an injunction under the Family Law Act 1996 prohibiting the father from contacting the mother about C or any matters concerning her care except where the mother instigated the exchange between them;
(2) She granted a specific issue order requiring the mother to keep the father informed of various matters to do with C's upbringing for example her schooling and important medical treatment and so on;
(3) She granted a prohibited steps order restraining the father from contacting C's child-minder; and
(4) She granted an order under Section 91(14) of the Children Act 1989 prohibiting the father from making any applications under the Children Act without leave of the court until 30 September 2012. This was in fact an extension of a similar order that she had granted in December 2009. She also reserved the case to herself.
"There is plenty of evidence available in this case to lead the court to conclude, with some confidence, that the way in which F has behaved in the past and continues to behave in the present is unreasonable, likely to cause harm to C, and unlikely to change in the future."
"The pattern I observe in [the father] is that, having raised issues -- some of which I acknowledge it might be considered reasonable for him to raise – [the father] is relentless in the way he pursues them. He deliberately makes what are intimidatory threats to take action in relation to these complaints, however he dresses that intimidation up, and offers nothing constructive. He then fails to engage in, or take up, any constructive suggestions made by those he complains to. I give, by way of example, his dealings about [C's] school. He offered no constructive suggestions in response to Miss Paul when she sought his input, but has acted in a very destructive manner in terms of his engagement with the school and the complaints that he made."
In one of her summarising paragraphs the judge said at paragraph 79 of that judgment:
"I do find his behaviour to be obsessive, destructive (certainly by result rather than necessarily by design) and disproportionate in the actions taken to any given situation."
She found that the father's behaviour in "bombarding the mother with unreasonable requests for information in unreasonable amounts" was affecting the mother adversely.
"[The father] has continued in this behaviour, escalating his attacks on [the mother] in the run-up to this final hearing, particularly in relation to challenging her mental health. [The father] demonstrates no insight as to the risks posed by his behaviour and no capacity to change."
"36. On the basis of the expert evidence, I would not expect M to consider it appropriate to allow contact while F's behaviour continues as it has."
"The absence of a court order also reduces the risk of continued applications to this court to amend or vary prescribed arrangements."
"In the trite but valuable phrase, the case was not about justice being done, but about it being seen to be done."
Lord Justice Thorpe:
Order: Appeal dismissed