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Compare and contrast

Two judgements - one good, one bad

I was moved to read Hadley & Pock this morning and what an excellent, well-written, wise judgement from Roberts FM. It contrasts markedly with the atrocious self-justifying swill put out by Harman FM in Patino & Griego.

Just a very simple example, of many in the two judgements is on the subject of credit

Roberts FM says this, in regard to credit of the mother

  • In his closing submissions, counsel for the father urged me to find that the mother was simply not a credible witness, and that where her evidence conflicted with that of the father, I should prefer his evidence.During the hearing the mother said that she had exaggerated on numerous occasions when she was giving information to her own psychologist. on a number of those occasions the exaggerated information related to the levels of prescription drugs that she had taken during suicide attempts. When she was asked why she would exaggerate in that way, she said it was attention seeking behaviour.When she was cross-examined about an occasion when she had told her psychologist that she was worried about being pregnant, she said that she had been testing her psychologist to see what her reactions were like.When it was put to her that she enjoyed playing games with her psychologist and enjoyed lying to her to see what her response was, she answered: Thats right. Further, when she was asked if she enjoyed exaggerating to her psychologist, she made the somewhat silly comment: Yes. Thats part of the counsellor/client relationship.[13]There was also an occasion when the mother was quite happy to be un-truthful in the information that she provided to DHS about where she was living, because it clearly suited her purpose at the time.When I take these matters into account, I cannot help but come to the conclusion that the mother was prepared to resort to fabrication if it suited her case. one example of such fabrication relates to the altercation that precipitated the parties separation. The mother said much later that the father was threatening her with a knife on that occasion yet, somewhat strangely, she had not mentioned a knife to the police at the time. I can only conclude that the father was the victim in that incident, and not the aggressor as the mother subsequently claimed. I am quite satisfied that he was not holding a knife (and although it is not particularly important, I am also satisfied that he did not tear his own shirt).Consequently, I have little hesitation in accepting the submission put to me by counsel for the father that, where the parties differ in their evidence, I should prefer the evidence of the father.

In contrast, Harman FM says this about the credit of the father

53.    Overall, and whilst matters of credit are not the sole basis for my decision in this case, one is left with little else in some respects, particularly as the primary issue, the focus of the proceedings, is one of character and personality as regards behaviour, conduct and violence.
54.    on one occasion, when Mr Patino was cross-examined in relation to the reason for his being dismissed from [omitted] employment.
Mr Patino insisted for a time that he had been made redundant.
Mr Patino was challenged that he had been dismissed as he had been verbally aggressive towards a female member of staff, to the point of reducing her to tears.  Mr Patino smiled and held that smile whilst answering, No, as though some degree of enjoyment was derived from recalling the experience.
55.    The other aspects of Mr Patinos evidence cause me, overall, some concern that the evidence he gave was given, in large part, in a fashion that was glib, overly self assured and at times, smug. Accordingly, when in conflict with other aspects of the evidence, including those to which I have already referred, Mr Patinos evidence is not to be preferred.

What a difference. The other difference is in the orders made. In Hadley & Pock, the mother  had a history of significant mental illness and had been hospitalised several times for mental health issues, including several suicide attempts. Her behaviour had already lad to her being estranged from one of them. DHS had been significantly involved with the family over her behaviour toward the children.

In Patino & Griego, the father had a good relationship with the children, and they wanted to be with him. The only substantive concern raised by any professional in respect to their relationship was that the father may not be "consistent", with no concerns raised by anyone that he may be violent toward the children.

Despite this, Patino was declared unfit to have any contact with his children, while Pock was deemed to be safe to have unsupervised contact.

Does anybody think this is an acceptably "consistent" interpretation of the Law by judicial officers?
@Craigo..

I don't get where u are coming.

You can't make comparisons between the judgements in Patino & Griego and Hadley & Pock. Completely different cases, based on completely different facts.

The father's case in the matter of Patino & Griego was deficient in some key areas.

For example, given that the father knew his time at the contact centre was drawing to an end - he should have proposed alternative supervised contact arrangements. He failed to do this and it was his responsibility to propose such arrangement. The fathers failure to offer an alternative gave the FM very few options.

The father in the Patino & Griego matter made some errors of judgement and mishandled the situation.

For some reason you seem to think that the the father in the Patino & Griego was a 'victim' of 'the system' or the FM.

4MYDAUGHTER
4mydaughter said
@Craigo..

I don't get where u are coming.

You can't make comparisons between the judgements in Patino & Griego and Hadley & Pock. Completely different cases, based on completely different facts.

Yes, the facts are different, but the essential aspects of the case are the same. On the Patino case, there was evidence that the father "may" have a personality disorder (or may just have an unpleasant personality, according to the psychiatrist), while in the Pock case, the mother has a diagnosed personality disorder, possible bipolar disease and is a serial suicide attempter. In the Patino case, the father made some clumsy attempts to whitewash the circunstances of a dismissal, while in the Pock case, the mother has a history of telling lies and playing games with everyone from the Court to her psychiatrists.

In the Patino case there was evidence brought that the father had accepted responsibilty for and the wrongness of his assault on his ex and that he became "confrontingly assertive" in response to perceived aggression while in the Pock case there was evidence that the mother had an on-going history of verbal assaults on the children and on the father and that she initiated such attacks as a matter of course.

In the Patino case, the only reason given for the father being kept from any contact with his children at all was that they might not be treated "consistently", while in the Pock case, the mother was not capable of consistency in any way.

Yes, I do think Patimo was hard done by, in comparison to the madwoman in Pock. If PAtino "mishandled" his case, what do you reckon Pock did" Why the discrepancy in outcomes? Is it really true that a diagnosed mentally-ill mother is a fit parent while a "confrontingly assertive" man is not? How does that work in your view?
In the Patino case there was evidence brought that the father had accepted responsibilty for and the wrongness of his assault on his ex and that he became "confrontingly assertive" in response to perceived aggression

Whilst I reading the judgement and the reported quotes of the father therein I didn't get the impression that the father had accepted personal responsibility for his actions at all - or at least - not fully. And he seemed very resistant to any suggestions that he need to change.

A 'personality disorder' is not classified as 'mental illness'.

You're comparing the two cases - but are the two sets of parenting applications the same?



4MYDAUGHTER
4mydaughter said
Whilst I reading the judgement and the reported quotes of the father therein I didn't get the impression that the father had accepted personal responsibility for his actions at all - or at least - not fully. And he seemed very resistant to any suggestions that he need to change.

A 'personality disorder' is not classified as 'mental illness'.

You're comparing the two cases - but are the two sets of parenting applications the same?
 
Could the father have a justifiable reason for not accepting his responsibility "fully"? Could the mother's "rigid" demands be partly responsible in that they created conflict where it needed not to exist at all, meaning the father then had to exercise greater self-control? Why should she be exempted from having any responsibility for escalating behaviours? The rest of the fatther's so-called "violence" is either not violent at all (the g/f had "ibaggage") or was in the context of an already stressful situation - the FL proceedings and multiple DV cases. Yes, he shpuld have acted differently, but did the behaviour he displayed warrant complete removal from his kids? I say absolutely not. Would an "aggressive" mother be treated in a similar way? The Polk case says not.

The only saving grace is that Harman did mention that no application was received for family-supervised contact with the father, leaving the door open for such an application in future.

In the Pock case the mother was also suggested to have bi-polar disorder and possibly schizophrenia. These are mental illnesses. If Polk had been the father, do you think the outcome would have been the same? I suggest to you that the best a father presenting with similar issues could expect would be supervised, infrequent contact. Do you have any cases that contradict this hypothesis?

I actually think that the decision in Polk was a good one, balancing the need of the children for their mother with the likely demands of her illness. Harman FM would do well to learn from Roberts FM, in my view.
Craigo said
Could the father have a justifiable reason for not accepting his responsibility "fully"?

No. Not when it comes to DV. When it comes to DV, the courts need to hear a person taking full responsibility and demonstrate contrition. Especially in the current political environment. Harman FM discussed this in his judgement.

By not putting forward an alternative supervised contact proposal the father stuffed up big-time. And I'm not confident that the father could easily make another application in the future, given the Rice & Aspland hurdle.

The father was legally represented, yes? The father's solicitor probably needs to share blame for the outcome as well. Having said that, the solicitors acting on instructions.

4MYDAUGHTER
4mydaughter said
Craigo said
Could the father have a justifiable reason for not accepting his responsibility "fully"?
  No. Not when it comes to DV. When it comes to DV, the courts need to hear a person taking full responsibility and demonstrate contrition. Especially in the current political environment. Harman FM discussed this in his judgement.

By not putting forward an alternative supervised contact proposal the father stuffed up big-time. And I'm not confident that the father could easily make another application in the future, given the Rice & Aspland hurdle.

The father was legally represented, yes? The father's solicitor probably needs to share blame for the outcome as well. Having said that, the solicitors acting on instructions.
 
I understand all that, but I disagree with it. I also disagree that Harman made DV the central point of his judgement. He made it clear that the father's personality was a principal reason for the judgement, saying:"53.    Overall, and whilst matters of credit are not the sole basis for my decision in this case, one is left with little else in some respects particularly as the primary issue, the focus of the proceedings, is one of character and personality as regards behaviour, conduct and violence. "

In other words, he made his finding based essentially on personality and character, rather than any verified risk of violence to the children. He had it open to him to make orders that allowed for secure changeovers, such as were made in Pock, that woudl have prevented the possibility of the parents coming together and hence the risk of an altercation. Instead, he severed this father from his children completely. You may think that's wonderful judgement, but I reckon it's weak and a disgrace. Possession of a less than perfect personality and character do not disqualify one from parenthood.

Furthermore, your statement "in the current political climate" is very worrying. Judges are not political in the Westminster system - that's an American invention. judges are appointed to administer the law in a fair and impartial manner having regard to all the circumstances that apply and the laws that are germane. The political climate is irrelevant and only the most venal and pusillanimous of judicial officers would say otherwise.

However, I do agree he stuffed up by not putting forward an alternative. I wonder why that happened?
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