Prison terms in family proceedings

Date: January 3rd, 2014 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

Father jailed again for non-return of child…

Mr Justice Holman has again jailed a father for contempt arising from his refusal to return his small daughter to the United Kingdom. During a family holiday in Egypt in December 2011 he put his daughter in the care of family members there. He returned to England, and the child’s mother took proceedings against him, which led to the father being imprisoned for 21 months. He was due to be released in November 2013 but Mr Justice Holman imposed a further term of another 6 months for his continued refusal to obey the Court’s Orders in bringing the child back to England. In his remarks on sentencing Mr Justice Holman called the father’s evidence “shifty, evasive and plainly dishonest.” This case confirms the growing tendency of the English Courts to impose substantial prison terms for contempt of Court Orders.

More information on this case can be found in the Yorkshire Evening Post relating to the case of the Salama Family.

The case of Mr Scott Young…

In the celebrated and long running case of Mr Scott Young, he too was sentenced for contempt of Disclosure Orders. In his case there was a long delay before in fact the imprisonment began. Initially the Court suspended the sentence for a period of time on condition Mr Scott Young did provide answers and documents, and then extended that deadline by reason of ill-health. Finally in January 2013 he claimed to have complied with the Order, but having considered his efforts Mr Justice Moor concluded that he was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Scott Young had in fact failed to do so – primarily because he had still failed to settle the vital issue of where his legal funding had been coming from. Mr Justice Moor found Mr Young’s explanation that his friends were willing to give generous donations but not provide documentary proof of them to be “absurd”, and he concluded that there had been “a flagrant and deliberate contempt over a very long period.”

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