Ashya King and Kerry Capper (over 100 UK refugees in Ireland)
One key element of life is looking at trends in the way things are happening. Both of the above cases were in the news last week.
I don't know enough about medicine to take a view as to whether Proton treatment is appropriate for Ashya King. However, it is quite clear that:
a) The doctors should not have threatened an Emergency Protection Order merely because they were being questioned by his parents.
b) The Courts are too ready to give EPOs when requested to do so.
c) Such decisions and the over used power to prevent parents from being in contact with the courts are at times damaging to the children.
d) The only way the family could in practise get a second opinion was to be in the words of Brett King "Refugees" from the UK.
It will take some time to work out where else in the process of issuing an arrest warrant and the arrest of the parents things went wrong. Clearly if Naveed King had not been as capable as he is at dealing with social media etc their side of the story would not have been told.
What normally happens in these situations is that publicity is injuncted and if any side of the story is told it is only that from the state agents. Portsmouth City Council is trying to row back from the fact that they did issue an application for Wardship.
One reason for using a European Arrest Warrant is that it would make it possible to bring Ashya King back. If they used the Hague Convention it would be arguable that the family were no longer habitually resident in England and hence the foreign courts had jurisdiction. Wardship applications can be made about children that are not habitually resident in the UK, but Brussells II revised and the hague convention cannot be used to get the child returned merely because a wardship application has been granted.
So here we have a case where the family were persecuted for doing what they thought was best for their child. A lot of questions remain to be answered by the authorities not least how much they have spent on this which could have been spent more effectively.
In my e-conference last Wednesday Brian Rothery said that he believes there are now over 100 refugee English families living in Ireland.
Another case which deserves attention is that of Kerry Capper who was prosecuted for keeping her daughter (who had suffered from cancer) off school because she was worried that she was ill.
Again we have a mother doing the best she can using her judgment for her child and being treated as a criminal by the state. Happily she was found not guilty - which does raise an immediate question about the procedural lawfulness of all the fines being issued for absence. However, the prosecution was clearly not in the best interests of her daughter.