The parents of a teenage boy who ran away from a care facility have lost their appeal against convictions for contempt of court.
In Re R, the couple’s 13 year-old son had been taken into specialist care by the local authority. His mother and father visited him on separate occasions, and each gave him money while there. The boy then used this cash to run away from his care home. He was discovered and brought back, only to run away again. At that point, the court issued a ‘collection order’ against the parents, requiring them to hand the boy back to the local authority or tell the tipstaff (court officer) where he was.
The parents ignored the order and the court began committal proceedings for contempt of court.
At the subsequent hearing, the judge noted that the father had been strongly opposed to his son’s removal into care, concluding that both he and the mother almost certainly knew where the boy was and so were wilfully defying of the collection order. They were both found guilty of contempt and given prison sentences.
At the subsequent appeal hearing, they appeared before Lord Justices Ryder and Sullivan, along with Lady Justice Macur, but to no avail. The original judge’s conclusion that they knew the boy’s whereabouts had been entirely justified by the evidence available, the Justices declared. Their appeals were without merit.