Re T (A child: murdered parent) [2011] EWHC B4 (Fam)

B killed his girlfriend, then spent four years as a restricted hospital order patient and a year as a conditionally-discharged patient (with exclusion-zone and no-contact conditions); he now applied for a contact order in respect of their daughter T. (1) There is no presumption that a parent who has murdered the other parent should have no contact with their child; however, having regard to the welfare checklist and other factors, there should be no contact of any kind between B and T. (2) An order under s91(14) Children Act 1989 (preventing further applications by B without leave) was made until T reaches 16 years of age. (3) The family court has no power to vary the conditions of a conditional discharge; however, the court is not constrained by the conditions when making orders; if the order would put the patient in breach of conditions then it should invite the Secretary of State to indicate to what extent he is prepared to vary them. (4) Since the only sanction for breach of conditions is recall to hospital (which is discretionary and dependent upon further medical evidence) the protection provided by the two conditions was illusory; orders of the court were required to enable the matter to be brought before the court in the event of breach: (a) the no-contact condition was made the subject of a non-molestation aorder pursuant to s42 Family Law Act 1996; (b) the exclusion-zone condition could amount to an occupation order (for which MS did not qualify); however, applying a broad meaning of 'molestation' it could also be a non-molestation order; if that were wrong then there is power to make the order under the High Court's inherent jurisdiction for the protection of children and/or under s37 Senior Courts Act 1981. (5) The LSC had discharged B's public funding certificate mid-proceedings following pressure from the special guardian; in the circumstances of this case it should not have done so.

Citations

Case no: MK10PO0693

Other

Judgment: 8/3/11

Before: HHJ Clifford Bellamy, sitting as a judge of the High Court

The father appeared in person

Mrs Mary Kaye, solicitor, for the Special Guardian

Mr Andrew Willetts for the guardian ad litem, NYAS

External link

Bailii