An Iranian man who had previously been deported from the country has been awarded sole care of his youngest son by the Leeds Family Court.
In Leeds City Council v LZ & Ors, the father first arrived in the UK back in 2000, via Turkey and Holland. While here, he met the mother, who was 16 years old at the time. Seven months into their relationship, she fell pregnant.
During the mother’s first pregnancy, the father was deported because his application for asylum had been rejected.
The father returned to the country illegally and tried to avoid contact with government agencies. Although he was in the UK with “no permission to remain”, he and the mother had three children.
The first two were taken from them by the local council after their eldest son sustained “significant physical harm”. A judge ruled that the child’s injuries were not accidental and were likely caused by one of the parents. The children were successfully adopted shortly afterwards.
When the mother became pregnant for a third time, Leeds City Council began preparing measures to protect the child. One such safeguard was to have the parents supervised by a team of nurses once he was born.
It later transpired that the mother had been lying about the injuries her first son suffered and which led to his adoption. She finally admitted that she had caused them.
The father was “clearly distressed” at the revelation and said he did not think his relationship with the mother could work any longer. Soon afterwards, he applied to be named the sole carer for his youngest son.
An individual assessment of the father by a social worker found that he would be “able to provide appropriate parenting and safeguarding” for his son. Sitting at the Leeds Family Court, Mr Recorder Howe QC made a child arrangements order on the condition that the boy lives with his father. He also ruled granted the council’s request for a supervision order. This would allow them to monitor the child’s wellbeing.
The mother was allowed to have some contact with the child but only under the supervision of the local authority.
The judge added that the case was an example of “what can happen if one parent does not participate in Family Court proceedings”. Due to the father’s fear of deportation he had not been involved in the care proceedings which put his first two children up for adoption. The result had been that the mother “let her children be placed for adoption and away from their father, who [she] knew had done nothing to cause them harm”.
To read the full judgment, click here.
Photo of Leeds by Vaidotas Mišeikis via Flickr