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The difficulty of righting wrongs in caught

Filed under: Domestic Violence,General,Law & Courts,Sex Abuse / CYF — MurrayBacon @ 9:31 am Fri 23rd January 2009

This paper discusses removal of children, in a perceived emergency. The unwillingness of familycaught “judges” to admit that they have ever made a mistake or an error of judgement, results in bad decisions being difficult to impossible to reverse.

It is this rigidity that makes parents extremely fearful of losing a custody hearing in familycaught, as this may then seal them into a non-custodial role forever.

This realistic fear, increases the extortionate pressure onto the parents, from the “judges” and legal workers. People who behave in this way are showing that they have no integrity whatsoever.

NZ legislation “requires” “judges” and legal workers to work in a conciliative way. This is a serious conflict of interest, as they can scrape more money off parents, by enhancing extortionate winner-takes-all approach to familycaught hearings.

This rigidity may maintain an air of mythical infallibility for the familycaught, it also seriously degrades the upbringing that tens of thousands of NZ children receive and results in several unnecessary child deaths each year in CYFs custody.

He who has never made a mistake, has never done anything of value.

CYFs suffers from pathological lying by some social workers, largely related to poor staff wages, training and selection procedures.

The article is from USA, different legislation – but exactly the same evidence weighing skills deficit, ethical and integrity problems.

BURDEN OF PROOF BEGONE
The Pernicious Effect of Emergency Removal in Child Protective Proceedings
Paul Chill [Paul Chill is a New York Law Professor.]
This article examines the tendency of emergency child removal decisions-by social workers, police officers, and judges-to become self-reinforcing and self-perpetuating in subsequent child protective proceedings.

This snowball effect, as one court has referred to it, is widely acknowledged by lawyers who practice in juvenile court, yet is largely unknown beyond those circles.

The article explores the causes and consequences of this phenomenon in the age of the 1997 federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), which converts every day that a child spends in foster
care into one more tick of the clock in a countdown toward termination of parental rights. The article provides some background on the law and practice of emergency child removal in the United States today, analyzes the factors that make initial removals outcome determinative in many child protection cases, considers the implications of this phenomenon in light of ASFA, and identifies possible solutions.

1. THE LAW AND PRACTICE OF EMERGENCY REMOVAL
On an average day, police officers and child welfare caseworkers throughout the United
States remove more than 700 children from the custody of their parents to protect them from
alleged abuse or neglect.� These children are typically seized without warning from their
homes or schools; subjected to intrusive interrogations, medical examinations, and/or strip
searches; and forced to live in foster homes or group residences while the legal system sorts
out their future.� Some of these �emergency removals� are preauthorized by judges in ex
parte proceedings similar to those for obtaining a search warrant; others are effected solely
on the authority of the law enforcement or child welfare agency conducting the removal.

Removals can be terrifying experiences for children and families. Often they occur at
night. Parents have little or no time to prepare children for separation. The officials conducting
the removal, as well as the adults supervising the placement, are usually complete strangers
to the child. Children are thrust into alien environs and separated from parents, siblings,
and all else familiar with little if any, idea of why they have been taken there.

FAMILY COURT REVIEW, Vol. 42 No. 3, July 2004 pages 540-553
2004 Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

Chill / BURDEN OF PROOF BEGONE 541
A former caseworker described her experience at New York City�s Emergency Children�s
Services (ECS), where 30 to 40 children were brought each night following removals while
placements for them were located:
When I first came to ECS, I tried to reach out to all the children who were crying or sitting alone,
shocked, and terrified. It was easier with the little ones, because 1 could hug them and they would
immediately respond. . . . [The people who make removal decisions] don�t see a child having a
panic attack at 3 a.m. because he is suddenly alone in the world, or slamming his head against a
wall out of protest and desperation.
Such experiences may not only cause �grief, terror and feelings of abandonment� but may
�compromise� a child�s very �capacity to form secure attachments� and lead to other serious
problems.� The trauma may be magnified when the child is actually suffering abuse or
neglect in the home,� and in any event, it is increased when reunification with loved ones
does not occur quickly.�
Not surprisingly, in light of the harsh human impact of removal, the law requires it to be
used sparingly. The US. Supreme Court has held that the Due Process Clause of the 14th
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides a fundamental right to �family integrity,� a
right of parents and children to be free of unwarranted governmental interference in matters
of child rearing.� Consistent with that right, the state ordinarily must provide notice and a
hearing before forcibly separating a parent and child.� Courts have held that only an imminent
danger to a child�s life or health can justify removal of the child without notice and a
hearing first.� Even then, a prompt post-removal hearing must be held.
In practice, however, children are seldom removed on anything but an emergency basis either
unilaterally, without a court order, or on the basis of some form of ex parte judicial
authorization. The number of emergency removals, moreover, has increased steadily for
the past two decades, to the point where removals now occur at nearly double the rate of 20
years ago. This has led to a dramatic expansion of the foster care population, which grew
from 262,000 children in 1982 to nearly 550,000 in 2001. The seemingly inexorable
growth of this population, fuelled by emergency removals, has led to a consensus that the
child welfare system is in crisis.
The rising use of emergency removal might be justified if it were necessary to protect
children from imminent danger.� In addition, a certain number of false positives can be expected from any enforcement scheme. Yet, the number
of such errors that actually occur is alarmingly large. According to statistics published by the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), more than 100,000 children who
were removed in 2001-more than one in three-were later found not to have been maltreated
at all.� That is only the tip of the iceberg. Because definitions of maltreatment are
extremely broad and substantiation standards it can be reasonably assumed that a significant
number of other children who are found maltreated, and for whom perhaps some
intervention-short of removal-is warranted, are nonetheless removed on an emergency
basis. Consider the following actual examples:�
Child Protective Services (CPS) caseworkers remove twin 4-year-old boys after their mother
admits to inflicting two marks on the back of one boy�s thigh with a belt and to occasionally
using this method to discipline the boys. The mother is a religiously devout, stably employed
mother of four healthy and happy children; no other issues of abuse or neglect exist or are
suspected.
CPS caseworkers remove a 3-week-old baby girl after her teenage parents get into a loud argument
that culminates in the mother striking the father twice with her hands. During the altercation,
the infant lies safely in a crib in another room, unharmed. Although there is no evidence of
any previous physical violence, CPS investigators express concern about the couple�s history of
engaging in loud arguments, the mother�s diagnosis of depression, and the fact that the mother
remains on probation for possession of marijuana while admitting that she still continues to use
the drug occasionally.
Although some state intervention may have been appropriate in these cases, it is difficult to
discern any immediate danger to the children warranting drastic protective action.
What accounts for the large and growing number of unnecessary removals? Although this
is a complex question, an important
factor appears to be the rise within child welfare practice of �defensive social work.� This
refers to the tendency of CPS personnel, first identified in the early 1980s, to base removal
decisions on fear-fear of job discipline, fear of civil (and even criminal) liability, and especially
fear of adverse publicity resulting from the death of a child left with or returned to his
biological parents.� Defensive social work has flourished in the past 20 years, fuelled by the
news media�s appetite for sensational child maltreatment stories as well as by laws that purposely
magnify the public visibility of child maltreatment fatalities and near fatalities.� This
has led to a series of removal stampedes or �foster care panics,� in which thousands of children
have been swept up by child welfare authorities in the aftermath of high-profile child
fatalities. During such stampedes, the very creed of the government�s action-often
expressed as �erring on the side of safety�-invites overreaching in the name of the greater
good.

What is forgotten or ignored during removal stampedes, however, and more generally in
modern child welfare practice, is the range and extent of harm that can result from unnecessary
removals.
Members of affected families may suffer enduring harm psychologically,
financially, and in countless other ways, from the stresses of removal and its aftermath (leading
to divorce, job loss, etc.).

Removed children, moreover, are not necessarily safer in their
new placements. Rates of abuse and neglect, including fatal abuse and neglect, are significantly
higher in foster care than in the general population .

>>>>>
But it gets even worse. Once a child is removed, a variety of factors converge to make it very difficult for parents to ever get the child back.
>>>>>>>>
The very focus of court proceedings changes-from whether the child should be removed to whether he or she should be returned.
>>>>>>>>>
As a practical matter, the parents must now demonstrate their fitness to have the child reunited with them, rather than the state having to demonstrate the need for out-of-home placement.
>>>>>>>>>>
By seizing physical control of the child, the state tilts the very playing field of the litigation. The burden of proof shifts, in effect if not in law, from the state to the parents.
The remainder of this article considers the causes and consequences of this procedural phenomenon, and possible responses to it.

2. THE PIVOTAL PROCEDURAL ROLE OF EMERGENCY REMOVAL AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
Lawyers have long recognized the powerful influence that an initial removal exerts on
subsequent child protective proceedings. Twenty years ago, an American Bar Association
study reported that �experienced litigators� in child protection cases found it difficult to get
children returned home �once removed, whether the original removal was appropriate or not.
More recently, one such litigator put it this way: �Possession is nine-tenths of the law.
Children who are with their parents at the beginning of a child protective proceeding are
likely to remain at home; children who have been removed are likely to remain in governmental
custody for a long time, even years.��
>>>>>>>>>>
One clinical law professor has labelled this phenomenon �tracking�-as in �a train getting on a track and continuing to move down that track no matter what.��
>>>>>>>
The sequentiality effect is based on findings from empirical studies of choice behaviour suggesting that judges, like other people, seek to avoid feeling or appearing responsible for negative outcomes, and that they feel more responsible for actions than for omissions.

These preferences lead to a �status quo bias,� a tendency to avoid actions but not omissions that subject the decision maker to a risk of known failure.

To the extent that judges are vulnerable to this bias, they will be inclined to continue interim orders, and to do so in some cases where a change would be warranted.�
The sequentiality effect is greatly magnified in child protective proceedings (and to some
extent in other child custody cases). Most important, it �is reinforced by the child development
principle that custodial change becomes inherently and increasingly detrimental as the
existing custodial arrangement becomes more longstanding. Children desperately need
continuity of relationships, and the more time a relationship between a child and foster parents
has to develop-the more �bonded� they become-the more harmful to the child disruption
of that relationship is likely to be. Thus, in cases where a child has already been
removed, judges� natural inclination to avoid actions but not omissions that may cause harm

are strengthened by the knowledge that any change of custody is intrinsically likely to be
harmful. In other words, there is a compelling argument that the child should remain wherever
he or she is, regardless of whether the child should have been placed there initially.
This analysis suggests that efforts to reverse an emergency removal are most likely to succeed
if they are made very quickly following the removal. As discussed previously, due process
requires a prompt postremoval hearing even when summary removal is justified.

Yet these hearings are often shams.

They may be extremely brief, lasting 1 hour or 1ess. Lawyers
for parents and children, moreover, if there even are any at this point, may have barely
had a chance to meet their clients, much less to investigate the state�s evidence of imminent
danger and prepare a cogent response. Thus, the prospect of quickly undoing an unnecessary
emergency removal is fanciful at best in most cases.

A second factor that amplifies the sequentiality effect in child protection cases is the
decrease in the state�s substantive burden of proof between the postremoval hearing and the
adjudicatory and dispositional hearings.

As discussed earlier, a child may be removed on an
emergency basis only if he or she faces some imminent danger.�� At the constitutionally
mandated postremoval hearing, the question of imminent danger generally remains the
focus. At the adjudicatory hearing, however, the substantive focus shifts to proving abuse
or neglect-broadly defined concepts that are diffuse enough to sweep in a great deal of
parental conduct. It may thus actually be easier to prove that a child has been abused or
neglected, even by a preponderance of the evidence, than to prove that the child faces imminent
danger by the same or a lesser standard. A finding that a child has been abused or
neglected, moreover, sets the stage for the disposition, at which the substantive focus in most
jurisdictions is on �the best interests of the child�-as amorphous a standard as exists in the
law. Again, it may be easier to establish that a child�s best interests would be served by a 1 –
year �commitment� in foster care-especially if the child is already in care pursuant to a
removal-than to prove imminent danger. Thus, the legal obstacles to placing or keeping a
child in foster care decrease rather than increase as the case progresses, contributing to the
difficulty of reversing unnecessary removals.

At least two other factors exacerbate the sequentiality effect in child protection cases.
First, although significant risks may attend to removal and nonremoval, the latter inevitably
gets more play in court hearings. �The proceeding, by its very nature, highlights the dramatic
and tangible risk that a child will be harmed at the hands of a person who has been identified
as a possible risk to that child.��� Judges thus cannot ignore this risk, but it is much easier to
overlook the less sensational and palpable risks of family separation and substitute care. This
disparity is exacerbated by the resource disparity between the parties. In contrast to the government,
the overwhelming majority of parents in child protection cases are poor, and the
quality of the representation they receive from their court-appointed lawyers (if they have
counsel at all), is marginal or inferior. This leads to further exaggeration of the risks of
nonintervention.

Second, although judges are supposed to operate as a check on CPS actions, they exhibit
the same defensive outlook as many CPS caseworkers. This results in what might be called
�defensive judging.� Judges, like social workers, understand that a decision not to remove a
child, or to return a child home who has been unilaterally seized by CPS, is much more likely
to come back to haunt them than is a decision to uphold the status quo.�6 Judges thus may
order or uphold an emergency removal even on dubious evidence because they do not want
to �risk making a mistake and having a child die.�
>>>>>>>>>
Another set of factors that tends to make emergency removal self-reinforcing stems from
the effect of the removal and its aftermath on the parents and child involved. Perversely, the emotional stress caused by these events may themselves become grounds for continued separation
and ultimately, termination of parental rights.

>>>>>>>>>
Many parents understandably become angry at, and highly suspicious of, caseworkers
who remove their children for reasons that are not readily apparent to them-especially
when, as is usually the case, the removal occurs without warning after parents have been
speaking and/or working voluntarily with CPS for several days, weeks, or months. Yet any
expression of anger may come back to haunt the parent at a neglect or termination hearing.
Descriptions of angry outbursts may be offered by the state and accepted by the court as evidence
of instability, lack of cooperation, or potential for violence. A parent�s suspicious or
hostile attitude toward caseworkers may be construed as evidence of clinically significant
paranoia. A parent�s disclosure to a court-appointed psychologist or psychiatrist that he or
she is experiencing depression, hopelessness, anxiety, or grief from being separated from the
child may become the basis for retaining custody of the child until treatment succeeds in alleviating
those symptoms.
The psychological harm to children resulting from the removal and its aftermath may also
perversely become the basis for longer and even permanent separations. Most children who
remain in foster care for more than a few weeks experience multiple placements, that is, they
are repeatedly moved from one foster home to another!� This experience, combined with
that of the removal itself, may cause children to develop post-traumatic stress disorder,�
reactive attachment disorder, or other major psychiatric illnesses. For children who
develop such �special needs,� maintaining the status quo of their current placement is often
seen as crucial to helping the child to heal. In some cases, moreover, this becomes part of the
basis for terminating the parental rights of parents who may have undergone significant
�rehabilitation� but not enough to be able to care adequately for a previously healthy child
who has now become emotionally fragile.
A removal and its aftermath also place tremendous strains on the parent-child relationship.
Visitation while the child is in foster care may present logistical problems if the child�s
placement is far away, especially if (as is often the case) the parents must rely on public transportation
to get there. A �lack of services and a sense of hopelessness or rage� may also cause
parents not to fully pursue contact with the child.� Visits may be further strained by the
child�s feeling of being abandoned or rejected by the parents, and by anger at them for failing
to protect him or her from being removed; by the awkwardness of meeting in a stranger�s
home or agency office under the watchful eyes of a caseworker; and by parents simply trying
to cram too much loving into a 1-hour weekly visit.� Any deterioration of the parent-child
relationship manifestly makes return of the child appear more risky and thus less likely.�
Finally, the very knowledge by system insiders of the tendency of emergency removals to
become self-reinforcing itself contributes to the phenomenon. Parents are repeatedly told by
their court-appointed lawyers, CPS caseworkers, court personnel, and others-that
regaining custody of their child will be difficult.6x They are told that their best chance of
regaining custody quickly is by showing �cooperation� and settling.� This creates enormous
pressure to settle, and most parents in fact do.�� �Settling� in this context generally means
admitting or pleading nolo contendere to abusing or neglecting the child and accepting the
services deemed necessary by the CPS agency to permit the child to return home. Thus, some
cases that might actually result in a child being returned home quickly, if the parents were to
litigate the matter aggressively, wind up being settled with the child remaining in foster care
for an extended period.

3. SOLUTIONS
Several relatively minor statutory changes would significantly reduce the risk that children
will be unnecessarily removed and that, once a removal does occur, it will become self-reinforcing
and self-perpetuating, while maintaining sufficient authority and flexibility for
CPS to seize a child on an emergency basis when such action is truly needed to protect the
child.
States should clarify that the �imminent danger� required for emergency removal is an
imminent risk of serious physical injury or death. Although only a few courts have explicitly

established this as the constitutional threshold,� the dangers discussed in this article dictate
that the floor should be set no lower as a matter of policy. Yet few states have enacted such
narrow substantive limits on emergency removal.� Indeed, a few states provide limits that
contain no reference to any sort of �imminent� or �immediate� danger.� It is difficult to reconcile
provisions such as these with the constitutional standard, and courts have invalidated
at least two of them.
States should further specify that a child may be removed unilaterally by CPS officials or
police officers only when taking the time to obtain an ex parte court order would clearly jeopardize
the child�s safety. Again, this condition may or may not be constitutionally required,
but it is dictated by policy considerations. Several states in fact already require it. Although
there is a great deal of pressure on judges to grant ex parte removal applications, for some of
the reasons discussed above, those pressures increase dramatically once the child is already
in placement. Requiring judicial pre-authorization of emergency removals whenever possible
is thus not a panacea but may prevent at least some unnecessary removals.
When judicial pre-authorization is sought, reasonable efforts should be made to allow the
parents or their counsel to provide at least some informal input to the court (through letters,
sworn oral or written statements, etc.). Obviously, this might have to be arranged very
quickly, depending on the circumstances, and sometimes it might be altogether impossible.
But there are other times-such as when an emergency removal is sought during the pendency
of a neglect case in which there was no initial removal-when the parents are already
before the court and represented by counsel, and giving the latter a limited opportunity to be
heard on extremely short notice may be quite workable. Indeed, in such circumstances, failing
to provide that opportunity seems fundamentally unfair and bad policy.�
Once a child is removed, it is imperative that a meaningful temporary custody hearing be
promptly convened. Such a hearing should begin no later than one week following the
removal-just enough time for counsel for parents and children (who should be appointed
immediately when the case is filed in court) to prepare for trial.� At this hearing, judges must
be given enough information to make an informed and independent assessment of the threat
to the child�s safety and the need for his or her immediate removal. This means providing sufficient
staffing and courtroom space for trials to exceed 1 hour, and to continue on successive
days, if necessary.�~ It also means providing counsel for parents who cannot afford it at the
earliest possible time, and paying those counsel reasonable fees, so that lawyers will have the
time and incentive to advocate vigorously for their clients. To sustain an emergency removal
following a hearing, proof by no less than clear and convincing evidence that the child would
be in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death if returned home, should be
required.�
Whenever judges rule on emergency removals, they should be required to expressly
weigh the risks of non-removal against those of removal. Statutes might even specify the
particular risks to be considered, including, but not limited to, the emotional trauma likely to
result from separation, the risk that the child will experience multiple placements, and the
heightened risk that the child will be abused or neglected in foster care. Decision makers
ought to be required to make specific, written findings as to why the risk of allowing the child
to remain at home substantially outweighs the risks of removing him or her.�
All of these reforms, while helpful, would not address more fundamental structural problems
that cause tens of thousands of unnecessary removals every year. Although a full discussion
of these is beyond the scope of this article, several worth mentioning include the rise
of defensive social work, the perverse incentive structure of federal financial assistance,�

the failure of the federal executive branch to enforce the requirement that states make �reasonable
efforts� to obviate the need for removal in most cases:6 and the dual-role structure of
modern CPS agencies.
In addition, the proposed reforms do not address the prevailing attitude-among the general
public as well as many CPS insiders-that emergency removal is a magic bullet in the
battle against child abuse and neglect, a conservative, risk-free way of �erring on the side of
safety.� As I have argued above, seizing a child catapults him or her into a legal world in
which checks and balances operate poorly, and that is at least as likely to perpetuate an initial
mistake as to correct it. Especially today, since the advent of ASFA, this may have devastating
and permanent effects. Ultimately, public education must counter the distorted image of
the child protection system, fostered by the media�s statutorily enabled obsession with fatality
cases, and put an end to the dangerous misconception that emergency removal is a quick
fix to the problem of child maltreatment.

MurrayBacon
We have these same problems in NZ. While people stand around and talk about these problems, we have about 5 children die in CYFs custody each year and several thousand traumatised.
Please discuss your concerns with your local MPs.
Best regards, MurrayBacon.

7 Responses to “The difficulty of righting wrongs in caught”

  1. Alastair says:

    Well put Murray.

  2. Mr Ed says:

    Until both parents are seen as an equal contribution to the ‘human development’ of a child, then i’m just gonna keep eating hay until i see a cow jump over the moon..

    http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/human_development.htm

  3. MurrayBacon says:

    Dear Ted, thank you for your sharp perspectives about hay, this side of the moon.
    >
    ___ Human Development
    Human development is first and foremost about allowing people
    to lead the kind of life they choose – and providing them with the
    tools and opportunities to make those choices.
    >
    I know that many NZ men are quite happy to work hard and perhaps more fund childcare, than provide it personally.

    However, a quite a few men want to play a significant role in the day to care of their children, say much more than 15%, but certainly not demanding 80%.

    I am one.

    When it came time to address problems resulting from my ex-wife using child abduction, to take fait accomplii custody, then familycaught judge (judge green – now trading as clarkson) sat on her meow and refused to address the abduction in any way. In her view, a woman should have the unilateral power to decide and a man could not be seen as a parent. Clearly, she had forgotten her judicial oath and seemingly had never read all of the Guardianship Act.

    At the time, I tried to go with the flow and see if there was any wisdom in her decision?

    The abduction was repeated a few years later. (Note a degree of similarity to the Kay Skelton repeated abductions case published by Judge Boshier, in a rare moment of honesty).

    Time has passed by and I now firmly believe that judge green was wrong and the Guardianship Act was right.

    I can say the same for judge robinson, who “approved” the second abduction of my children, by the actions of his “judgement”, even though his words were letters put next to each other to look like disapproval of child abduction.

    He may have thought that I would be fooled by his words, but I saw him as a fool trying to deceive me by good words underlain by bad actions.

    Is there any point in giving me, what many other men want?

    “first and foremost about allowing people to lead the kind of life they choose”

    Obviously, this is limited by the necessary compromises of being a parent. We cannot both have 80% at the same time.

    He didn’t serve me, or my children or in the end my ex-wife either.

    Anyway, I now know why I hold these “judges” in total contempt. It is because they hold themselves in contempt, when they turn a blind eye to flagrant and gross breaches of consent orders, or of the familycaught orders that they wrote themselves. When I see them hold themselves in contempt, I am certainly not going to respect them, when their actions don’t even contain the simplest and most essential elements of parenting or basic discipline. There is no honour in just wearing a gown.

    Their actions just create ongoing “action”, for themselves and their juniour legal worker brethren. Maybe not illegal, but just good old fashioned featherbedding, of the greediest and most despicable sort.

    The Government is already overfunding the familycaught and all of the lazies who sail in her. With everyday good management, these clowns could leave over half of their budget unspent and able to be returned to Government, for more productive and useful purposes. We have all seen 6 days hearings, where 1 1/2 days work was achieved!

    Direct consumer choice is a practical way to make these “professionals” give reasonable value for money. Customer selection of their judge, will ensure a reasonable standard of work and cost effectiveness.

    Anyway, my children have got through these unnecessary situations.

    I feel very sorry for the CYFs customers, whose children she has removed, when she was not particularly able to take care of her own young children. How then could she be put in the position of choosing which children to remove, or which families to give a little assistance to? Its little wonder that CYFs keep on taking several children a year to their deaths and thousands to some suffering.

    Lets take the job of the familycaught seriously and put in people who do have the skills to weigh evidence from the real world and make decisions that honour the legislation.

    I suspect that the United Nations are not including children’s and men’s suicides in the wake of the familycaught, into their analysis. I hope that some of you will share your experiences with the United Nations and also contribute evidence towards manslaughter charges of the worst of these “judges”.

    Cheers,
    MurrayBacon.

  4. MurrayBacon says:

    Australian family law responds to discrediting of Jennifer McIntosh’s ideas about custody and access for young children.

    When their approach has been show to be wrong, they have altered their recommendations accordingly. Notice that they have not actually gone back and proactively arranged to sort out the wrong decisions made in caught$ through several years. That has been left to the parties to do, at their own cost.

    At least the family law people haven’t just tried to bury the materials that have shown up their wrong approach, the have responded with integrity.

    Many thanks must be given to Bettina Arndt, who has publicised the consensus paper, written by 110 USA academics, which was used to discredit Jennifer McIntosh’s ideas and false conclusions.

    Empty days, lonely nights by Bettina Arndt

    Movement on father’s overnight access by Bettina Arndt

    Research related to Jennifer McIntosh article used for denying fathers Meaningful Access

  5. MurrayBacon says:

    Professional ranking controls caught$ ability to listen to witnesses:

    When a specialist comes up against a generalist, if there is a perception of professional ranking, then the higher ranked witness will almost certainly prevail. (If the defence legal worker isn’t sharp, then they may fail to point out that the ranking being used is not actually relevant to the evidence being proffered!. In this instance a specialist paediatrician was ranked above a generalist witness. However the specialist was a specialist paediatrician, with no forensic paediatric training. This is reminiscent of Sir Roy Meadows giving specialist statistical evidence, but he was a specialist paediatrician, not a specialist forensic statistician. Sir Roy Meadows was severely censured several years later, when the mess was eventually sorted out. However, by then the faulty caught process had done a huge amount of harm, that could never be rectified.)

    A conviction has been made, based on a claim that transmission of gonorrhoea is almost always sexually transmitted. This then does not preclude that an example of possible transmission does not prove beyond reasonable doubt that sexual transmission was the vector. There may also be a possibility that the source was not the defendant anyway.

    Her thesis is that although international consensus guidelines state that gonorrhoea in pre-pubertal children is always, or nearly always, sexually transmitted, a systematic review of the literature does not concur with that.

    Examples of transmission by damp towels or face cloths were shown.

    Rather than admit that any mistake might have occurred, just leave the unfortunate defendant rotting in jail.

    How many such cases are there, where innocent men are rotting in jail and families broken up……

    A v R – BC200860715

    Supreme Court of New Zealand

    Elias CJ, Blanchard and Anderson JJ

    SC 4/2008 [2008] NZSC 23

    9 April 2008

    [2008] NZSC 23

    Elias CJ, Blanchard and Anderson JJ.

    [1] The applicant seeks leave to appeal, being out of time from a decision of the Court of Appeal delivered on 28 November 2005 in respect of his conviction on one count of sexual violation by rape. The victim was the applicant’s three year old daughter who lived with her mother during the week but stayed at the applicant’s home on weekends.

    [2] In the course of a weekend visit the child became infected, intra-vaginally, with gonorrhoea. The source of the infecting bacterium was, undoubtedly, the applicant. The child’s genitalia showed no evidence of penetration but the Crown case depended, crucially, on the proposition that the bacterium was introduced into the vagina by sexual penetration of the genitalia.

    [3] Two experts on the issue were called by the Crown. One is a paediatrician with expertise in child abuse; the other is a specialist venereologist. Their evidence was to the effect that there must have been direct contact between at least the tip of the applicant’s penis and the entrance to the child’s vagina, inside the labia minora. That of course would amount to penetration for the purposes of the offence.

    [4] The applicant had told the Police that his daughter slept in his bed but with both him and her fully clothed; that they shared a bath but that he had not touched her genitalia with his hands; that he used a bar of soap to wash her and she used her own separate towel. Crucial to the applicant’s defence was acceptance by the jury of a reasonable possibility that the infection could have been transmitted non-sexually. His counsel did not lead expert evidence but did cross-examine about non-sexual transmission of the bacterium via bathwater or inanimate objects, relying on a selection of medical writings. The jury must have been satisfied that in all the circumstances there was no reasonable possibility that the child contracted the disease from a non-sexual transmission of the bacterium.

    [5] The leave application to this Court is founded on a recent article published in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine during 2007, some years after the applicant’s trial, by Dr Felicity Goodyear-Smith, an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medical and Health Science at the University of Auckland. Her thesis is that although international consensus guidelines state that gonorrhoea in pre-pubertal children is always, or nearly always, sexually transmitted, a systematic review of the literature does not concur with that. It is submitted on behalf of the applicant that Dr Goodyear-Smith’s article is fresh evidence indicating that a miscarriage of justice has or may have occurred, warranting a further appeal to this Court; but we are not persuaded that leave should be granted.

    [6] A reading of the article shows that its scope is too general to be of assistance in this case. The authority of the article seems very questionable, in any event, having regard to writing criticising it, exhibited by the Crown. Further, it examines literature, all of which was in existence at the time of the applicant’s trial, some of it for decades and up to more than a century. In short, the article is neither new nor cogent.

    [7] The application for leave to appeal is accordingly dismissed.

    Order

    The application for leave to appeal is dismissed.

    Counsel: G King for the applicant

    A Markham for the Crown

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