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Judge brands runaway mum “utterly irresponsible”

The mother who went into hiding with her son has been called “utterly irresponsible” by a Family Court judge.

In a judgment published shortly after Rebecca Minnock turned herself in, His Honour Judge Wildblood also condemned the woman’s family for their attempts to “manipulate the press to their advantage”.

This story has been the focus of much media scrutiny, but the reports have primarily focused on the mother. As the judge explained, this is because the father “has not at any time embarked on anything like the publicity stunt in which the mother’s family has engaged”.

Despite the media focus on the mother, it is important that we not forget how this has affected the father. They have been dragged into this mess by the selfish actions of the mother. As the judge explained, the father launched proceedings because “it was necessary for him to assert his right to a relationship with his child”.

In response, the mother made some very serious allegations against him in an attempt to deny him that relationship. Every single one of those allegations turned out to be untrue. The ensuing mess put both father and son under a spotlight that neither of them asked for.

Judge Wildblood quite rightly said that it was “simply unfair for a party to attempt to use the press in an attempt to deny another person justice”. Not only that, he added that it was “absurd for anyone to try to ‘play the press’ in that way, because that inevitably backfires”. I think it is safe to say that has happened. While I am sure the mother still has some support among the public, most people recognise her actions for what they were: a “publicity stunt”.

Judge Wildblood asked the press and the public not to speculate about what would happen to the child now he and his mother have emerged from hiding. It would be “thoroughly irresponsible and incorrect” to suggest that Ms Minnock will be limited to either supervised or “indirect contact”, he said. Indirect contact would mean that the mother cannot have any face to face time with her son and would be limited to letters, phone calls and other forms of communication such as Skype.

In family law, the best interests of children are the paramount concern. The judge said that the best interests of this child cannot be established “until the case has been heard fully and properly”.

Now that all the parties are accounted for, a decision can be made as to what will happen to the mother and more importantly, to the child and this whole sorry state of affairs can come to a conclusion. Personally, I think the sooner this is resolved, privately, the better it will be for everyone. Especially the boy. He has gone through an ordeal which no child should, so it is my profound wish that he is able to get back to some semblance of normalcy as privately and quickly as possible. Hopefully now with strict supervision from a senior judge and a higher court, the media glare will fade as fast as it began.

To read the full judgment, click here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Luke says:

    ” It would be “thoroughly irresponsible and incorrect” to suggest that Ms Minnock will be limited to either supervised or “indirect contact”
    Judge Wildblood has done well here and fought back strongly against the mother’s manipulation of the media – but whatever he may say he is under pressure because he IS dealing with a mother. There is no way he would have to make such a statement if the perpetrator of the abduction was a father – to completely rule out supervised contact (at least initially) after such an event is extraordinarily lenient when the facts that we know about the case are considered.

  2. JamesB says:

    The moral of the story, don’t be silly I suppose. Keeping up to date with this is a bit like a freak show or a slow motion car crash.

  3. JamesB says:

    Which I suppose is why the papers got involved. I hope this sort of thing and behaviour doesn’t touch me or my family or come near us again. It has done in the past and don’t want it to again as it is unpleasant and painful for all concerned. Time would be better off spent doing better things like reading a good book or something, many many most things are a lot better than engaging in this sort of behaviour.

  4. Gary Martin says:

    I would hope that this case sends the strongest possible signal to anyone (Katie Hopkins included) that breaching court orders is not on. There is a lot of misleading information on why she did it and only the court know the true facts.

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