CORNWALL SOCIAL SERVICES WANTS A SECRET TRIAL IN GAGGED DAD CASE
Please act now. Hearing is on 23rd October 2015.
Question 1: Should social services separate a child from his mum or dad, when mum or dad openly opposes a government policy that he or she considers to be morally wrong?
Question 2: If social services does this, and that parent sues the council under the Human Rights Act for interference with his family life and discrimination on the grounds of his beliefs, should the trial be held in secret?
The court in A v Cornwall (case number A88YJ875) will hold a three day trial in December to decide Question 1, as it applies to Gagged Dad. He disagrees with same sex marriage and abortion. Cornwall Council has therefore prevented Gagged Dad from seeing his son for just short of two and a half years. Cornwall didn’t want Gagged Dad to “indoctrinate” his two year-old son in his own pro-life and homophobic beliefs.
On 23rd October 2015, from 10:30 a.m., at Exeter County Court, Gagged Dad is in court again, probably for the last time before the final, three day trial in December. (I will have to represent Gagged Dad again. He cannot afford a proper lawyer.)
Gagged Dad has defeated two applications to strike out his claim since he started his court case in March 2014, and two applications for summary judgment. He has held at bay for almost a year, Cornwall’s application for his entire case to be heard in private.
Gagged Dad has enjoyed heart-warming support, including from strangers, resulting in twenty or so people attending his three court appearances so far. He is grateful for this generous show of support. It may well have affected for the better the outcome of the court process so far. But will the support continue?
This 23rd October hearing is to decide the answer to Question 2. Will the public be excluded from the trial in December, including the four grown-up brothers and sisters of Gagged Dad’s son? Will Gagged Dad be in court on his own, the only member of his son’s entire family ever legally entitled to find out what happens in court in December? (Gagged Dad’s youngest son has four adult half-siblings, eight older and younger nephews and nieces closer to his own age, three aunts and two uncles, and countless other relations on his father’s side of the family, none of whom Cornwall want him ever to see again either.) Or will there be open justice, with the newspapers even being allowed to write about this case, as long as they don’t name names?
Gagged Dad blogged here about Cornwall’s bombshell after he had referred his son to social services himself. That was just six days after the social worker admitted her agenda.
At the time, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was being debated. An amendment was being moved to protect professional foster carers who disagreed with “same sex marriage” from being banned from working at their trade, but nobody in Parliament had bothered to move an amendment to protect real parents from having their own natural children taken away from them as a punishment for disagreeing with the same sex marriage policy, so I blogged this:
The circuit judge hearing the application for a secret trial in Exeter on the 23rd is His Honour Judge Cotter QC. HHJ Cotter has indicated that he is obliged to hear and to consider representations from the media (which nowadays surely includes anybody with a website, a blog, or a social media account!) as to why they want to be allowed to find out what happens in December, and perhaps to discuss the issues. The judge is probably also obliged to consider representations by the general public, including Gagged Dad and his son’s other family members, all of whom are likely to make representations, and even including you who are reading this.
What Gagged Dad would like, is for anybody who thinks that such an important principle as Question 1 shouldn’t be decided in a secret court hearing, with the judgment never published, to make representations to the judge, as to why he or she thinks that it is fairest for Question 1 to be decided in open court.
It is important that as many people as possible attend the court in Exeter on 23rd October. However, it will be of some help if those reading this blog who cannot get to Exeter easily, at least write to the judge between now and the hearing. I would be grateful if any emails to the judge are copied to me please, because I shall be representing Gagged Dad in court that day too.
You can write to HHJ Cotter by emailing the court, marked for HHJ Cotter’s attention, and quoting case number A88YJ875, A v Cornwall, at firstname.lastname@example.org. My own email address is John_W_Allman@hotmail.com. (My other published contact and social media details are on the Contact tab of this blog.)
Please follow this blog using the dialogue near the top of this page on the right (unless you are using a mobile phone). You will then automatically receive an email informing you whenever I post further news of this court case, for as long as I am still allowed to do so.
If you are a Christian, like Gagged Dad, then please also pray about this case. Please pray for Gagged Dad and his son, who is now five, and for the rest of the family.