Friday, 23 January 2015

Judge breaks rules about secret imprisonment

"A High Court judge has ordered the name of a woman sent to prison to be kept from the public – despite rules saying no one should be jailed in secret. Mrs Justice Roberts defied instructions from Britain’s most senior judges by banning her from being identified."

"The single mother, who was jailed for seven days for contempt of court, was suspected of planning to flee the UK to stop social workers taking her daughter into care. She was found guilty after failing to surrender her passport and the girl’s on a court’s orders..."

"Her decision to order reporting restrictions was made despite guidance laid down in the Appeal Court less than two years ago on the authority of the most senior judge, the Lord Chief Justice.Mrs Justice Roberts made her ruling after being reminded by lawyers about the Appeal Court directions..."

"Lib Dem MP John Hemming said of the single mother ruling: ‘This is a coup against justice. Civilised countries do not bang people up in secret.’ As the row over her imprisonment grew, High Court officials announced that a new hearing in the case will be held today ‘where the judge will bring the attention of counsel to the mandatory aspect of the 2013 guidance’."

"In May 2013, then Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and President of the Family Division Sir James Munby declared whenever someone is jailed for contempt they should be publicly named, saying: ‘There are no exceptions.’"

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