Sent To Prison for Talking to a Lawyer

An article about a terrifying judgement of the Court of Protection in which a man’s daughter was imprisoned for contempt for taking him to see a lawyer to challenge his placement in a care home by the local authority. And for witchcraft. Yes really, witchcraft.

If your local council places you in a care home and you or your family object can you talk to them about it? Can you talk to a lawyer? Or would that be contempt of Court punishable by imprisonment? What if your family helps you? Would they be in contempt?

Most reasonable people would say a resounding “No” to the question of Contempt. Step forward HHJ Cardinal – the circuit judge with the courage to say “Yes!”

The case of SCC v JM, and ors is reported on Mental Health Law Online and is an anonymised public judgement. The Witchfinder publishes no information other than what is already in the public domain. The document has been missed by the national media so far, which is a shame as it is a horrifying and clear cut scandal. The case concerns an elderly man, JM, who suffers from Alzheimer’s syndrome and has been placed in a care home. There is apparently some form of dispute about his residence, which has led to litigation in the Court of Protection.

JM has three children who disagree with the local authority. This is not uncommon. Your humble correspondent the Witchfinder is a law student who often advises such people pro-bono. About 75-90% of the time the local authority is right. Roughly 25-10% of the time there is something to be said for the other side. About 10-5% of the time it is a horror story.

The disturbing thing about this case is that, according to the judgement, an order was made by Judge Owen on 19/05/2012 that prohibited the respondents (the old man’s children) from helping the vulnerable elderly man challenge the placement – “the respondents should not encourage JM to leave or to ask to leave his placement, or discuss with him the possibility of moving back home, or remove him from the jurisdiction of the court.”

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The Hardest Road

The Witchfinder reacts positively to news that Megan Phelps-Roper has left vile hate group Westboro Baptist Church.

The Witchfinder, contrary to obvious expectations, rarely comments on matters of religious doctrine, considering others to be far better qualified. Nevertheless I feel comfortable explaining to the reader the heresies associated with the so-called Westboro Baptist Church (WBC).

For those unfamiliar with this obnoxious religious group, WBC is a so-called church led by Pastor Fred Waldron Phelps that believes, in essence, that everyone in America will burn in hell because of the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality and fornication. It expresses its subtle and understated message using the slogan ‘God Hates Fags’ through its website of the same name. The group has gained controversy for its less-than-charming habit of picketing funerals – including the funerals of US Soldiers who died in service – explaining to all and sundry their view that –

  1. The dead person is burning in hell
  2. The death is part of God’s judgement on America

Unsurprisingly, this has led to controversy as well has violent attacks on the group by enraged members of bereaved military families. Within Christianity there are essentially two views on WBC. There is Fred Phelps’s view that the activities of his church are in accordance with Biblical teaching and on the other hand there is every other strand of the Christian faith for the last 2,000 years.

Most Christian groups are against sex outside marriage to some degree but not one, not in the history of the faith, has ever preached in favour of picketing military funerals even in the darkest days of the medieval inquisition. WBC has been disowned by the Baptists internationally, condemned by leftist Michael Moore, sued by grieving families (rightwing news host Bill O’Reilly paid the legal fees of a family whose soldier son’s funeral was protested by WBC) and targeted for destruction by the Activist Group Anonymous. In short, no one likes WBC.

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