The case of M (Children) concerned a number of conclusions reached by Judge Hilary Watson in October last year during a hearing at Coventry County Court. The parents of the girl and boy, aged six and seven, had separated in 2009 and were in the process of divorcing. Legal proceedings to establish the amount of contact the father should have with the children had been continuing since the previous January.
After carefully considering evidence from both the mother and the father, Judge Watson concluded that the father had assaulted and raped the mother on different occasions; that he had smacked his son; that he made sexual comments regarding his daughter and that the mother’s claim to that effect was made not made maliciously; and that he had interfered with the mother’s Facebook account, sending a message to her brother.
The father’s solicitor argued that the mother was not credible, that she had exaggerated and embellished her evidence and Judge Watson had therefore been wrong to conclude that she was “for the most part a truthful witness”.
The mother’s solicitor, meanwhile, admitted that the mother’s evidence had contained elements of embellishment but insisted that there was a firm core of truth behind her claims. He also drew attention to the father’s own inconsistencies and contradictions.
Lord Justice Ryder concluded that Judge Watson had “analysed the evidence relating to each allegation separately and with care. She looked at the allegations in the overall context of her view of credibility of both mother and father, and gave very careful reasons for her decisions. I would allow the judge’s findings to stand, and accordingly I would dismiss this appeal.”
Photo by Kaihsu Tai via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence