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(6-7) C and D (children)
(Incorporating Beverley F. Nunnery & Co.)
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This transcript has been approved by the Judge
MS DANIELLE LEWIS (instructed by Duncan Lewis Solicitors) appeared on behalf of the First Respondent.
MR CRAIG RICHARDSON (instructed by Law Legal) appeared on behalf of the Second and Third Respondents.
MS JOANNA YOULL (instructed by McMillan Williams) appeared on behalf of the Fourth and Fifth Respondents.
MS ELPHA LECOINTE (instructed by Venters) appeared on behalf of the Children's Guardian.
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THE PARTIES' POSITIONS
"She feels her relationship with her siblings was normal until she came to the UK. Her sister [Y] lent her money to come here, but as soon as she arrived, demanded repayment and would not let the matter drop. She says she was given little or no help by her sister or brother. She relied on friends mostly from within the church who helped her to find work, accommodation, and English lessons. She has not found her siblings to be supportive since she has been in the UK. She has, in the main, had to be self-sufficient. She says that most of her strength derives from her deep Christian faith."
"When they saw the children recently, they were full of nits, so they do not believe that [Y] washes their hair. The children are not being fed properly. C told [V] that the grandmother told C that she has snake's eyes and she walks crooked. [Y] did nothing even though this made C cry. [Z] drives a vehicle with the children in the car but he does not have a driver's licence or insurance. Initially, [V] alleged that [Y] has six lovers and the oldest child has seen her have sex throughout his life. This then changed to [Y] having one lover called 'T', and she showed us a photo of him on social media. T is [Y]'s long-term lover who visits when [Z] is at work and they kiss in front of the children. The children call T 'papa'. Oldest son G describes T as a better daddy than [Z]. They allege that the oldest son G pulls his sister's knickers down and [Y] and [Z] do not do anything about this. When G visited their home, they observed him to try to take C's clothes. [V] stated that it is not G's fault. It is because he has lived in a room with his mother and her lover for so long seeing her have sex. [Y] and [Z] hit all the children in the household."
Other than the fact that the children had nits, all of these allegations are strongly and vehemently denied by Y and Z.
THE EVIDENCE OF MS KEMP
"I am concerned that C, in particular, is privy to the adult disputes and has an ever-changing perception of the loyalty she owes to family members which, in the main, seem to depend on her mother's current allegiances."
"I would say that, at present, family relationships are characterised by animosity, a lack of trust, poor communication, feelings of anger, pain, and victimisation. Feelings as yet are too raw for mediation and forgiveness to even be considered. Alliances have been formed which seek to cast blame on one faction or the other. Often, where there are deficiencies in one caregiver, protective factors exist which offer compensatory parenting by other adults responsible for the children. In this case, the opposite appears to be the case in that family members seem to have been intent on exploiting any perceived deficiencies in the children's placements. Such heavily conflicted family relationships as appear in this case could have a profoundly negative effect on the children caught up in them. Sometimes, alliances are formed and divisions created as a means of exerting control. This can have the effect of creating insecurity, fear of abandonment, and poor self-esteem. A child can feel guilty or disloyal that they are somehow responsible for the family rifts. Constantly shifting sands in adult relationships are harmful to children."
DIONNE ROACH, SOCIAL WORKER
"All the care of C and D was provided for by me and my mother. This was the situation until I and my mother left my sister's home."
"[M] is convinced that it is her job and right to provide the care for her children and that it is not something that should be delegated to other people, even family. She is very strong willed and it is often difficult to not do what [M] says."
"It also seems possible that she has encouraged C to lie to professionals to substantiate her own allegations against the children's aunts and uncles."
Y AND Z
W AND V
THE LEGAL PRINCIPLES
"There is evidence that C appears to echo the views of the last person who had any influence on her other than a constantly stated desire to live with her mother and is displaying signs of confusion and anxiety which spill over into everyday life at school."
W AND V
Y AND Z
A PLACEMENT IN FOSTER CARE