The super-injunction Hemming was to break?


5:47 pm - April 26th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


      Share on Tumblr

Today at 5pm, some Westminster reporters said John Hemming MP was about to reveal and break a super-injunction.

But John Hemming had barely got started when he was cut short by Speaker John Bercow and told they would discuss the issue in “private”.

Was this the case? (via @loveandgarbage):

Last week a heavily pregnant woman, whose name is known to millions but whom I am forbidden by law to identify, was summoned to the High Court at very short notice to show why she should not be imprisoned. The charges against her, brought by a local authority I cannot name, were that she might or might not have been in breach of a court order restraining her freedom to speak about a matter which, again, I am prohibited from identifying.

One of these charges was that she attended a meeting, held last month in Westminster Hall, of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on family protection issues, at the invitation of John Hemming MP. He has been campaigning for greater justice and transparency in our highly secretive family protection system, on behalf of families torn apart by social workers for what appear to be no good reasons.

Hemming was also told by lawyers not to raise the case in Parliament.

Mr Hemming replied to the lawyers saying they were “clearly seeking to influence what I say in Parliament. The case already has aspects which are in contempt of Parliament”.

Perhaps Mr Hemming will get another chance to raise the issue in Parliament.

Update: The Indy also has more on this story:

During the meeting, the woman, who was in the audience, spoke about her own experience, referring to a council and a social worker by name. Two weeks later, she received a summons to appear at the Royal Courts of Justice.

The message implied that she faced prison, though she learnt when she arrived in court that the council was not seeking to have her locked up. In the meantime, she had consulted a solicitor and engaged a barrister, leaving her with a legal bill of around £10,000

Update 2: John Hemming MP names the defendant and Doncaster council on his blog.

He has also left a comment below.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: News

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


1. Mike Killingworth

And perhaps he won’t. For all you know the injunction requires the Speaker to prevent any MP from exercising Parliamentary Privilege to defeat the intent of the injunction.

And if you, Sunny, or I had drafted it wouldn’t it have said exactly that? Of course a Speaker with cojones would have ignored that part of it, but it’s entirely possible that Bercow’s legal advisers have told him that it is not in the interests of his office to provoke a confrontation.

3. Mike Killingworth

[2] Thanks, ukl. I’m expecting to be involved in a Court of Protection case before too long, so this is all of interest to me.

No – this was the injunction that I did break.

Note that the key parts of secret information are now in the public domain.

Keep up at the back.

It’s reined not reigned.

John,

Can you explain why you chose to raise this as a point of order today, and to say exactly what you did say, rather than simply pursue it privately with the Speaker?

It seemed to me (correct me if I’m wrong, there’s no Hansard to check yet) that the Speaker thought the case may be sub judice. You certainly seemed to be arguing that it’s not, which suggests you thought he’s still considering that matter. I got the impression he wants to discuss that with you at a meeting. Please let me know if I’m wrong.

Normally, shouldn’t an MP wanting to discuss a current court case ask the Speaker, privately, to exercise his discretion in favour of allowing the case to be debated – and wait for that ruling before raising the case in the House? Let me know if I’ve got that wrong, or if I’ve misunderstood where things are up to in your discussion of the case with the Speaker.

What I’m concerned about is whether, by raising the case today in the way you did, and by naming the council and the person involved, you effectively pre-empted the Speaker’s decision and circumvented Parliament’s own rules on sub judice, which are intended precisely to avoid court cases being affected by publicity, and people’s rights being prejudiced.

Can you reassure us that you’ve not circumvented proper Parliamentary procedures?

7. Imran Ahmed

Good for you John. Don’t worry – we won’t tell Nick!

It is outrageous that today in the UK social services (a government agency) can remove new born babies from mothers for “risk of emotional abuse”.
It is even more outrageous that any parent wishing to protest publicly can be threatened with prison if they dare to speak to their MP !
It is not only outrageous but also incredible that when family court judges gag parents they rely on their illogical claim that since Article 8 of the Human Rights Act guarrantees the privacy of the family it by inference “protects” the privacy of the children even when their own parents wish to protest against their removal from home !
The purpose of the Act as drafted was clearly to protect the family not to fragment it by eliminating public protest against those determined to break the family up !
There is nothing wrong with the Human Rights Act,but there is everything wrong with the perverse interpretation of it by family court judges who should know better than to ignore the obvious intentions of the legislators responsible for it.
Thank goodness for courageous MPs like John Hemming who defy the gag and remind us that so long as the defence of the realm is not threatened ,free speech that does not incite violence should remain an essential element in the fabric of our democracy.

Why are all our journalists cowards and refuse to tell us the truth? If I were a journalist, being imprisoned for merely telling the truth would be the highlight of my career.

10. David Hodd

Presumably the residents of Doncaster Council have a right to query why their funds are being used in this way? Whilst I am not questionning their involvement in this case, about which I need to know very little, it would appear a disproportionate use of council tax payers money, to resort to such an expensive and unaccountable means to try to ensure no one is aware what they are doing. I hope a resident will complain to the Local Government Ombudsman in this matter: the legal fees that would be involved could probably keep a Sure Start centre open for a year or two…

11. Charlieman

@10 David Hodd: “Whilst I am not questionning their involvement in this case, about which I need to know very little, it would appear a disproportionate use of council tax payers money, to resort to such an expensive and unaccountable means to try to ensure no one is aware what they are doing.”

In the 1990s, local government in Doncaster was identified as corrupt and many councillors and officers were prosecuted or retired early. Google for Donnygate.

Having implemented massive change, it is unsurprising that the council’s future acts resulted in some failures. Lots of change, lots of managerialism and lots of excuses.

It’s worth pointing out that Doncaster’s council was deemed ‘dysfunctional’ and is currently in special measures, as it were. In addition to the elected (English Democrat) mayor, we have a chief executive who was put in place by the government to try to remedy the in-fighting and historic failure of the council:

“The local government minister, John Denham, has appointed an acting chief executive and an advisory board to oversee the running of the council and is considering taking all of the council’s services into emergency control.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/apr/19/doncaster-council-failing-and-dysfunctional

14. Robin Levett

@IANJOSEPHS #8:

“It is outrageous that today in the UK social services (a government agency) can remove new born babies from mothers for “risk of emotional abuse”.”

There can never be an appropriate case for this? You are joking, surely?

“It is even more outrageous that any parent wishing to protest publicly can be threatened with prison if they dare to speak to their MP !”

But that hasn’t happened, so far as we are aware; this case involved the mother speaking at a *public meeting*.

“It is not only outrageous but also incredible that when family court judges gag parents they rely on their illogical claim that since Article 8 of the Human Rights Act guarrantees the privacy of the family it by inference “protects” the privacy of the children even when their own parents wish to protest against their removal from home !”

I fail to see the illogicality you see. Article 8 protects the rights to privacy *and* family life. The child has his/her right to privacy; where the parents’ rights are in conflict with the child’s (as for example where the child is for good reason being removed from the care of the parents) the parent cannot give consent for the breach of the child’s privacy, so the Court has to protect it.

Mike @3, you are welcome.

this too may be of interest as well as recent Without Prejudice podcasts (three and four) with Charon QC and Carl Gardner (HeadofLegal).

For the avoidance of any doubt, this explains precisely what Hemming has actually achieved by using parliamentary privilege to break an injunction on an extremely bitter and acrimonious custody case:

http://www.ministryoftruth.me.uk/2011/04/27/hemming-an-abuse-of-privilege/

There are, sadly, days when even ‘cunt’ is not enough to express my utter contempt for certain MPs.

Robin !
“RISK OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE” is a prediction of something that has no legal definition .Nowhere else in Europe can children be removed and subsequently adopted on such a flimsy pretext.Do you think those who look in shop windows should be arrested in case they went inside and shoplifted?
Agreed that ,in this case Vicky spoke at a meeting in parliament,but it is still common practice for judges in family courts to specifically forbid parents to contact their MPs .
I still maintain the intention of legislators of Article 8 was to maintain the integrity of the family against State interference,not to act as a gag to prevent public complaints against actions by the State designed to break up the family;
Sheer hypocrisy to pretend the privacy of a baby is being protected from its own parents when the real culprits being shielded are social workers and so called “experts” !
If the “SS” really cared about privacy for children they would not advertise toddlers complete with photographs and character descriptions in the Daily Mirror and other periodicals for potential adopters to pick and choose their selections like pedigree cats or dogs !
The idea that parents can be jailed for complaining publicly when their children are removed is abhorrent and happens nowhere else in Europe .Free speech for deprived parents was abolished by the Children Act 1989 and that section should now be repealed if we still wish to call the UK a democracy where there is freedom of speech !Just a bad if the fact that, parents are “punished without crime” by family courts that should know better !

18. Robin Levett

@IAN JOSEPHS #17:

““RISK OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE” is a prediction of something that has no legal definition .”

Did you know that “gullible” doesn’t appear in the dictionary?

“Nowhere else in Europe can children be removed and subsequently adopted on such a flimsy pretext.”

Really? I would hope that nowhere in Europe are children removed from their parent’s custody on flimsy pretexts – but I don’t believe that in a clear case of risk of emotional abuse any EU country would not intervene. If you are going to argue to the contrary, some evidence would be useful.

Do you think those who look in shop windows should be arrested in case they went inside and shoplifted?”

Children are not tins of baked beans.

“Agreed that ,in this case Vicky spoke at a meeting in parliament,but it is still common practice for judges in family courts to specifically forbid parents to contact their MPs .”

Citation required.

“I still maintain the intention of legislators of Article 8 was to maintain the integrity of the family against State interference,not to act as a gag to prevent public complaints against actions by the State designed to break up the family;”

Why should the child’s right to privacy be overridden in the interests of an abusive parent and the profit of the proprietors of the gutter press?

“If the “SS” really cared about privacy for children”

I call Godwin.

“Note that the key parts of secret information are now in the public domain.”

Fantastic. I’m sure the other individuals whose privacy you have disregarded will be thrilled. Now as a member of the public what would you like me to do with this information? Write to the judge?

Unity,

Thanks for the background. Very informative.

PUNISHMENT WITHOUT CRIME !!!
The nightmare begins when social workers act like a second police force PUNISHING PARENTS who have NOT committed any crime. They do this by obtaining an emergency protection order “ex parte”( in the parents’ absence)to take away children into foster care. They claim these children have “suffered emotional harm”or worse still are “at risk of emotional harm” ! On this basis an order is nearly always granted without any problem by a “friendly” magistrate. They then pressurise the parents with threats that if they do not “do what we tell you”or if they dare to discuss “the case” with their children or tell them “we love you and miss you”during “contact” the social services will stop contact and maybe never let those parents see their children again etc .Parents are GAGGED when speaking to their own children !

Even worse,when issuing interim care orders the “Family courts” have become “Kangaroo courts” . Interim care orders are issued on the basis of written statements from social workers and “hired experts” that cannot be questioned or disputed because these documents are not shown to the parents and in any case the authors are nearly always absent from court ! The parents’ are rarely allowed to testify as not only the judge but also their own lawyers nearly always stop them from speaking !If they do by some miracle manage to testify, what they say is not only disbelieved it is almost always completely ignored !The interim care orders are usually renewed automatically every month for nearly a year before a final care hearing is held ,during which time the unfortunate children are isolated from their parents(except for very limited supervised contact periods) wondering what they have done wrong !

”Legal aid lawyers”,known in the trade as “professional losers” usually advise clients to “go along with social services”earning their fees the easy way ! Those few parents who succeed in winning and recovering their children are nearly always those who represent themselves.When this happens however judgements ,court documents,reports from experts, and position statements are often shown to parents at the last moment or not shown to them at all !As a consequence ,when local authorities apply for an interim care order in the family courts only one in 400 is refused !(official judicial statistics), so what chance do most of the unfortunate parents have?

To cap it all social workers only too often, go round schools and friends of parents and,by their loaded questions spread harmful rumours about the parents.The unfortunate parents however are warned (quite wrongly in fact) that they are forbidden to talk to ANYBODY about their case (they actually CAN talk to individuals for advice and support) .Those bold enough to protest publicly are jailed for their impertinence (200+ per year according to Harriet Harman answering a Parliamentary question, when she was minister for children).
Yes parents are legally GAGGED yet again, when their babies and toddlers are taken to protect the “privacy “of families and children !Grandparents,aunts,and uncles are excluded from the court in order (believe it or not !) to protect the children’s privacy ! Social services however have no need to respect this “privacy” as they frequently advertise for adoption the children they have taken, with colour photos and first names in the Daily Mirror and other periodicals,much to the horror of parents when they see their offspring paraded for the public” to choose” like pedigree dogs!

Eventually many of these children get adopted (“Forced Adoption”)and their siblings are often split up into different families despite the pleas of their parents who have been judged to pose a “risk of emotional abuse”to these babies and young children.Alone in Europe,only the UK tolerates forced adoption of children against the wishes of parents in court.In most cases,the parents never see or hear from their children for the rest of their lives,so these children are cut off for ever not only from their parents,but also their grandparents,aunts,uncles,cousins and quite often also from their own brothers and sisters ! The parents (and their children) are in effect punished not for something they have done but for something some so called “expert” (using a crystal ball?) thinks they might do in the future !Babies and young children who have been battered and physically abused (like baby P) are “poor adoption material” and no use to social workers hoping to “hit” their adoption targets,(PAF C23 Ofsted) so they are more often than not left to die alone….Children however, with just ONE unexplained injury such as a bruise,a burn, or a fractured arm but with no prior record of abuse or injuries still make good adoption material and are seized for that purpose even when there is no evidence that the parents were in any way responsible. IT’S “ONE STRIKE AND YOU ARE OUT”.That is the cry of the “SS” and is typical of the way that “justice” is served up at our UK family courts !

This is the REALITY of what actually happens to parents falling foul of the “system”.Is there a conspiracy?No need!Lawyers,fosterers,”experts”,adoption agencies,social workers,and even judges all do very nicely out of the present system and have no need to conspire ,but naturally they do unite to resist, to COVER UP any mistakes they may have made if anyone threatens to “rock the boat” !

What reforms should the government introduce?Well,the social workers in “child protection” must be ordered to pass their enforcement functions back to the police, who should only remove children if crimes have been committed by parents that could adversely affect their capacity to care for the children. The family courts should adopt the rules of evidence that govern procedures in the criminal courts where fair and just rules of evidence now prevail.That is how it used to be before the Children Act 1948 when police and criminal courts(not social workers and family courts) dealt with removal of children from cruel or neglectful parents, and it worked much better !Parents would have the right to question their “accusers”,demand final hearings by juries, and would no longer be gagged.Parents should no longer threatened with jail if they complain publicly when their children are taken,and should no longer be threatened with having their contact sessions with their children in care stopped if they dare to discuss their case with them.The Children Act 1989 should be amended to remove all gagging of parents wishing to discuss publicly matters concerning their children or to talk about their case with those children.There would then at last be an excellent chance that most of these injustices would be eliminated.

Judge Bellamy made several factual errors and omissions and Booker made only one !
1:-Bellamy criticises Booker for omitting mention of several fractures in his two articles published last year, which mentioned only one.In fact of course even the police were unaware of these fractures as Bellamy admits in his judgement,and only the experts this year brought this news out by their report to the court.At none of the hearings last year were the injuries discussed specifically so Booker would have learned nothing new for his articles if he had attended the courts;At the time he wrote neither he nor the parents could have known about multiple fractures.
2:-Bellamy admits relying on MY WEBSITE for his evidence and claims that I “sexed up” Bookers article,but this learned judge was too obtuse to notice even now that my site published the information he relied on so heavily two days BEFORE the Booker article appeared in the Sunday Telegraph !So he criticised Booker for my mistake and I can only advise him next time he has a go at a journalist he should read what the journalist has actually written,buy a copy of the newspaper, and look at the date as well !My error omitting the mention of a fraction in what was only a draft after all, was swiftly corrected.
3:- Bellamy has himself sexed up the “injuries” making them sound horrific almost like a new baby p ! In fact the child never had any operation or other treatment and flourished in Ireland under the care of his Irish mother , Irish grandmother and extended Irish family,until after UK social services indulged in successive court cases that reached the Irish Supeme court (as mentioned but glossed over in the judgement,).UK social workers then retrieved the child from its Irish family at great public expense and brought him back to the care of a UK foster family !(also at public expense).
4-:- Also mentioned,(but glossed over in the judgement) was the fact that when the injuries were discovered the child was confided to the care of the grandmother with supervised contact alowed to the mother.It was only the grandmother’s wish to retire in Ireland taking the baby with her that aroused such ire in the UK.An Irish lady recently retired as a long standing head teacher from a large school in Scotland is still mystified as to why all this happened as there was NO CARE ORDER in place at the time she left and she reported immediately to Irish social services when she arrived.
5:-The only error Booker did make was to mistake the identity of one of the many doctors involved in the case;none of whom were named in any case .
Hardly a significant error compared with those errors and omissions in Bellamy’s judgement !
6:- Both Christopher Booker and myself campaign not necessarily for the “opening up of the courts” as postulated by Lucy Reed of “pink tape” ,but for the scrapping of the gag that prevents parents who feel aggrieved from protesting or going to the media when their children are taken (rightly or wrongly) from them.Nowhere else in the EU is there such an outrageous gag on the freedom of its citizens to protest if they feel wronged by the State.In this case Bellamy “found” on no evidence as such that the mother was “the perpetrator”and if that is not an accusation of guilt I don’t know what is !Certainly the mother must feel accused and found guilty without a trial !


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Was this the super-injunction John Hemming wanted to break? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  2. sunny hundal

    Was this the super-injunction John Hemming wanted to break? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa (via @loveandgarbage)

  3. Steve Baines

    RT @sunny_hundal: Was this the super-injunction John Hemming wanted to break? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa (via @loveandgarbage)

  4. Terry Allen

    RT @libcon: Was this the super-injunction John Hemming wanted to break? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  5. John Kampfner

    RT super injunctions may now be seriously impeding the work of parliament. @sunny_hundal @loveandgarbage http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  6. Sophia Coles-Riley

    RT @sunny_hundal: Was this the super-injunction John Hemming wanted to break? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa (via @loveandgarbage)

  7. nobby-Lobby

    RT @libcon: Was this the super-injunction John Hemming wanted to break? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  8. Dave John

    Yes, it must be. “@libcon: Was this the super-injunction John Hemming wanted to break? http://t.co/WKtFFAk”

  9. nobby-Lobby

    RT @sunny_hundal: Was this the super-injunction John Hemming wanted to break? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa (via @loveandgarbage)

  10. Kate!

    RT @sunny_hundal: Was this the super-injunction John Hemming wanted to break? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa (via @loveandgarbage)

  11. The Small Places

    RT @sunny_hundal: Was this the super-injunction John Hemming wanted to break? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa (via @loveandgarbage)

  12. sunny hundal

    Update! John Hemming MP says he's broken the super-injunction and identified the council and the claimant http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  13. sunny hundal

    Did Doncaster Council spend taxpayers money to take out a super-injunction? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  14. Guy Adams

    Your tax dollars at work! RT @sunny_hundal: Did Doncaster Council spend taxpayers money to take out a super-injunction? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  15. Lis Gibbs

    This is why superinjunctions are dangerous – they hide more than men who can't keep it in their pants. RT @sunny_hundal http://t.co/z9mWv9g

  16. HullRePublic

    Doncaster Council? The super-injunction Hemming was to break? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/psl3w7G

  17. Lauren Smith

    RT @sunny_hundal: Did Doncaster Council spend taxpayers money to take out a super-injunction? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  18. Faisal Azam Qureshi

    RT @sunny_hundal: Did Doncaster Council spend taxpayers money to take out a super-injunction? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  19. Kim Blake

    RT @sunny_hundal: Did Doncaster Council spend taxpayers money to take out a super-injunction? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  20. Scott Duffy

    More reasons to be proud RT @sunny_hundal: Did Doncaster Council spend taxpayers money to take out a super-injunction? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  21. Marie Kinsey

    RT @sunny_hundal: Did Doncaster Council spend taxpayers money to take out a super-injunction? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  22. Adam

    RT @sunny_hundal Did Doncaster Council spend taxpayers money to take out a super-injunction? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa @drevanharris

  23. Adam

    RT @sunny_hundal Did Doncaster Council spend taxpayers money to take out a super-injunction? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa @drevanharris

  24. Emily Davis

    RT @sunny_hundal: Did Doncaster Council spend taxpayers money to take out a super-injunction? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  25. Emily Davis

    RT @sunny_hundal: Did Doncaster Council spend taxpayers money to take out a super-injunction? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  26. Del Shukum

    RT @sunny_hundal: Did Doncaster Council spend taxpayers money to take out a super-injunction? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  27. Captain Awesome

    The super-injunction Hemming was to break? http://zite.to/dEwuxT via @Ziteapp

  28. Fraser Fulton

    RT @The_CaptAwesome: The super-injunction Hemming was to break? http://zite.to/dEwuxT via @Ziteapp

  29. Rich

    Councils taking out super injunctions is some sick shit. http://j.mp/fXDlOC

  30. Alex

    RT @libcon: Was this the super-injunction John Hemming wanted to break? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  31. Rich

    RT @sunny_hundal: Did Doncaster Council spend taxpayers money to take out a super-injunction? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa

  32. Tentacle Sixteen

    RT @sunny_hundal: Was this the super-injunction John Hemming wanted to break? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa (via @loveandgarbage)

  33. Gearon

    RT @sunny_hundal: Was this the super-injunction John Hemming wanted to break? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa (via @loveandgarbage)

  34. Vegan Panda

    RT @sunny_hundal: Was this the super-injunction John Hemming wanted to break? http://bit.ly/gZWcqa (via @loveandgarbage)

  35. Doncaster Council – Any chance of getting it right soon? « Lynnelibglamtwin’s Weblog

    […] priorities any clearer? Cabinet and Council – hang your heads in shame. See here – The Super-Injunction Hemming was to break and here Gag Removed – Job […]

  36. John Hemming, sub judice and the public interest: “no abuse of parliamentary procedure”? | Head of Legal

    […] I commented at LibCon yesterday, asking John Hemming questions including these: Normally, shouldn’t an MP wanting to discuss a current court case ask the Speaker, privately, to exercise his discretion in favour of allowing the case to be debated – and wait for that ruling before raising the case in the House? Let me know if I’ve got that wrong, or if I’ve misunderstood where things are up to in your discussion of the case with the Speaker. […]

  37. Grant Dain

    another #superinjunction revealed http://goo.gl/mRNHj : Not celeb but Doncater council trying to gag someone..





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.