Father drops committal proceedings in Minnock case

Family Law|June 24th 2015

The former partner of runaway mother Rebecca Minnock has dropped legal proceedings against her.

Minnock, 35, disappeared with her son Ethan on May 27 after a court that the boy should live with his father full time. She spent 17 days in hiding before surrendering to the authorities and has been allowed just one hour’s supervised contact with her son since.

Earlier this week, ex-partner Roger Williams applied for committal proceedings against her, asking the courts to rule on whether or not she should be jailed for contempt of court.

But a preliminary directions hearing in Bristol Family Court earlier today, Ms Minnock asked His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood:

“If I’m going to get sent to prison what emotional damage will that have on Ethan? That’s my biggest concern.”

Mr Williams then withdrew his application, The Guardian reports.

Barrister Rupert Chapman announced the decision to the court:

“He feels it is important that the mother understands any future breaches will be met by applications of this sort.”

But, he continued:

“In view of the fact that Ethan has been returned home to his care, he’s settled and happy at home … my client wishes to draw a line under the previous breaches.”

Minnock asked if she would allowed to talk to the press about the case or if she to be “gagged”, the paper reports. Judge Wildblood told her that the phrase was “singularly inappropriate”.

Rebecca Minnock’s mother and family friend Andrew Butt both served short jail terms for helping her to go into hiding. The case attracted national media attention.

Photo of the Bristol Civil Justice Centre by Robert Cutts via Flickr

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  1. russell armstrong says:

    I’m confused, if the mother has breached an order of the court and it comes under a contempt charge, why is the applicant of the contact order the one who has to decide whether or not to “prosecute” the breach?
    Why doesn’t the court make an order under its own motion? After all it is not the mother doing “something” against the father per se but against the court order itself.
    So why shouldn’t the court “make the running”?

  2. Dr. Nigel Miles says:

    I am speechless! Committal proceedings. short prison terms….how is this going to effect the reality of what society now are seeing as a debacle? But then maybe this case had to occur to cut out the horrors of the defragmentation of the Family Court situation in Private Law.

    Some researchers and professional carers are reiterating what CAB are promoting privately…For goodness sake change the legal position to understand that it takes two parents to make a child and their best interests are served when Mum and Dad share the responsibility of the child for its benefit….but based on legal precedent; responsibility of parity parenting! QED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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