Disappearance of Paul’s News
Earlier this month Darryl Ward posted an article referring to the rebirth of Paul’s News e-mail list, which had recently disappeared.
Paul’s News Logo
For many years, MENZ has referred NZ fathers to this e-mail group if they live in areas where there are no support groups available. I believe it to was by far the best available source of information about the New Zealand Family Court from a male consumer perspective. I think list owner Paul Robertson deserve a vote of thanks from the entire NZ men’s movement for his efforts to support fathers affected by Parental Alienation Syndrome.
Problems with “spies” who joined the list to monitor their ex-husbands sources of information has meant that the new list is restricted to members approved by a moderator, so we can’t advertise the address. Since I removed the link to Paul’s News, I begin receiving e-mails every few days asking me for information about the Family Court, to which I can only reply that I have almost no personal experience whatsoever. Hopefully one day there will be funding available for support organisations to provide this kind of service for men.
Many of us have naturally been wondering why the list suddenly disappeared, and I personally became somewhat concerned when my e-mail to Paul went unanswered. Some recent reports in the Manawatu Standard appear to shed some light on the situation:
May 1 2007
Judge, lawyers slated by father
by Michael Cummings
An anonymous flier labelling a group of Palmerston North lawyers “child abusers” was written by a father disgruntled with the Family Court.
Paul Robertson, a computer support manager at Massey University, confirmed he “made the document” when contacted by the Manawatu Standard yesterday.
The flier was placed in the pigeon holes of lawyers at the Palmerston North District Court last week. A copy was also sent to the Standard.
The flier listed five lawyers and a judge as perpetrators of “parental alienation syndrome” and described them as “child abusers”.
Mr Robertson was one of a small group of fathers and their families who picketed outside the homes of city lawyers in a protest against the Family Court in May, last year. After the protest Mr Robertson defended the group’s actions, saying “they were targeted for the sort of things they do”.
He said he is an ordinary person who has been let down by the system.
“There’s nothing radical or wacky about me. I’d rather not have to be involved in protests but if this sort of stuff can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.”
Perhaps it was a tad over the top calling them child abusers publicly even if you know it is a widely held belief, but the text is a considered political message rather than a threat or ranting abuse, in my opinion. I’ve obscured the names just to be on the safe side but check it out:
The plot sickens…
May 2 2007
Massey employee’s profile off website
by Michael Cummings
Massey University yesterday removed from its website the personal profile of an employee responsible for an anonymous flier that labelled a group of Palmerston North lawyers “child abusers”.
The move came after yesterday’s Manawatu Standard revealed Paul Robertson, a staunch critic of the Family Court, was the author of the document.
Before Mr Robertson’s profile was pulled, it included a description of him as being “very knowledgeable about certain aspects of the law.
University spokesman James Gardiner said Mr Robertson’s profile was removed from the site because it was “considered inappropriate” and not in line with the university’s email and internet policy.
The policy bans any material that could potentially damage Massey’s reputation, he said.
Asked if any action would be taken against Mr Robertson, Mr Gardiner said: “We do not comment on employment matters”.
Judge Boshier criticises the newspaper
Manawatu standard 17.5.07
Your article that appeared under the headline, Judge, Lawyers Slated by Father (May 1) gave prominence to the views of a litigant in the Family Court that were one-sided and abusive and, following the publicity given the protests by various men’s groups, contained little additional information of significance to your readers.
The article was particularly unfair to the local Family Court judge, who was easily identifiable, even though not named.
He was not the judge who was singled out for criticism by the litigant who was the subject of your artical, but your readers would have inferred that it was the local Family Court Judge who was being referred to. It lent no credibility to your artical that it originated in an anonymous flier of a likely defamatory character, in that it named those whom it accused of being “abusers”.
By repeating and expanding on its accusations, you gave the appearance of credence to its claims.
If you wished to inform your readers about the role of the Family Court, there was surely a more responsible way of achieving this than adding the newspapers weight to this kind of material.
As the head of the court, I would have expected my views would have been sought if serious criticisms were made of the Family Court and I would have thought that the basic tenets of journalistic balance would have virtually required that your paper made that effort.
Principal Family Court Judge
But the editor stands his ground
Editor’s note: The story was not about the role of the Family Court.
It concerned a public and defamatory attack on local judiciary by a father, and revealed to readers the source of that attack. That’s a story of legitimate public interest. It was balanced. Manawatu District Law Society president Gordon Paine was contacted and quoted.
Other lawyers named in the flier were contacted and declined to comment. It’s difficult to provide “journalistic balance” on Family Court disputes when the law prevents journalists reporting most of what occurs in its hearings.
Well said Mr Editor!
I hope you are okay, Paul.