RJ v CM, Court of Appeal - Family Division, July 24, 2018, [2018] EWHC 2509 (Fam)

Resolution Date:July 24, 2018
Issuing Organization:Family Division
Actores:RJ v CM
 
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This judgment was delivered in public but it is ordered that in any published version of the judgment no person other than the advocates or the solicitors instructing them and other persons named in this version of the judgment shall be identified by name or location and that in particular the anonymity of the child and members of her family must be strictly preserved.

No. 2018/0006

Neutral Citation Number: [2018] EWHC 2509 (Fam)

IN THE ROYAL COURT OF JUSTICE

FAMILY DIVISION

On appeal from the Family Court at Bristol

HH Judge Harington

IN THE MATTER OF THE CHILDREN ACT 1989

AND IN THE MATTER OF M (A CHILD)

Royal Courts of Justice

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Before:

MR. JUSTICE BAKER

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B E T W E E N :

RJ Appellant

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CM Respondent

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**This transcript has been approved by the Judge (subject to Judge's approval)**

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YASMINE EL NAZER (instructed by Powells Law) appeared on behalf of the Applicant.

PHILIP BAGGLEY (instructed by EPO Lawyers) appeared on behalf of the Respondent.

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J U D G M E N TThis Transcript is Crown Copyright. It may not be reproduced in whole or in part other than in accordance with relevant licence or with the express consent of the Authority. All rights are reserved.

MR. JUSTICE BAKER:

1 By a notice of appeal dated 4 January 2008, a mother sought permission to appeal against a decision by His Honour Judge Harington dated 8 December 2017 in private law proceedings brought against the father of the child under the Children Act, 1989. The child is concerned is a little girl whom I shall refer to as, "M", born 12 March 2016 and therefore now aged two years four months and following the hearing before Judge Harington was aged twenty-one months.

2 The application for permission to appeal was considered on paper by Williams J who refused part of the application which he declared to be totally without merit but allowed permission to appeal on the other part of the appeal. The appeal under the second part of the application was listed before a full hearing before me today.

3 The background of the case is as follows. The parties met in 2012 but as I understand it never married. They have one child, M, born 12 March 2016. The relationship between the parties broke down in April 2017 and it seems that thereafter the mother left the family home with M who was then aged just one.

4 In June 2017, the father applied for a child arrangements order. On 29 June, the mother filed her response in Form C1A making allegations of domestic abuse. The matter came for a first hearing dispute resolution appointment before the magistrates on 12 July, at which the appellant was directed to file a Scott Schedule setting out details of her applications by 3 August with the respondent to apply by 11 August. A fact-finding hearing was listed before the magistrates on 16 August.

5 The mother filed her first Scott Schedule on 2 August. At the hearing on 16 August, the magistrates decided to reallocate the case to a circuit judge and thus it was listed before His Honour Judge Rutherford on 15 September. Disclosure from the police and the Local Authority was ordered. At the hearing before Judge Rutherford on 15 September, however, the orders for disclosure were varied and the mother was directed to file a further Scott Schedule or an amended Scott Schedule by 6 October with the respondent to file a reply by 27 October and the further hearing was listed thereafter. The mother's second Scott Schedule was filed on 12 October with the father's response on 26 October.

6 It is convenient at this point to set out what the allegations were and the responses thereto.

  1. The first allegation was of controlling behaviour. It was said that the father pinched the mother's nipples during intimacy causing pain to the mother. The mother made it clear to the father that she did not consent to this and did not enjoy it. The father continued to manipulate the situation to carry on his behaviour. The father's response to this was that he denied the controlling behaviour. He accepted that the pinched the mother's nipples during intimacy but ceased this behaviour when she told him she did not like it.

  2. The second allegation was controlling behaviour on an animal, in particular the mother's dog. That allegation was denied by the father who asserted that he treated the dog as a family pet and looked after him.

  3. The third allegation concerned aggressive and intimidating behaviour towards the mother. It was alleged that the father would have explosive outbursts, sometimes punching the wall during arguments and on one occasion hurt his hand in the process. There was also a pattern of passive-aggressive behaviour, silent treatment, rolling his eyes, derogatory comments, sulking, blaming, stonewalling and causing emotional distress to the mother. The father's response was that he accepted that he had punched the wall in frustration but denied any aggressive or intimidating behaviour towards the mother. He asserted that the behaviour which the mother had alleged against him had in fact been carried out by her.

  4. The fourth allegation was that the father had demonstrated aggressive behaviour around M about four times a week when he was...

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