Arrest warrant issued for man who harassed social worker after son taken into care

Family court chief rules the man breached court order and subjected Cafcass guardian to ‘psychological intimidation and harassment’

Picture: tashatuvango/Fotolia

A man who harassed a social worker after his son was placed for adoption could face jail for defying orders designed to protect the boy’s identity.

The chief of the family courts, Sir James Munby, issued an arrest warrant after he found the man was in contempt of court and had breached an injunction that banned him from publishing details of his son online or harassing staff from Gloucestershire children’s services and Cafcass.

Munby made the ruling after analysing evidence submitted by Gloucestershire Cafcass and Gloucestershire council, including a post the man made to a ‘name and shame social workers’ site.

‘Threatening’ email

Cafcass submitted an email the man sent to the boy’s Cafcass guardian, a social worker, which included a screenshot of her name and private address.

Munby said the inclusion of the address “served no legitimate or proper purpose”, adding: “In my judgment this was psychological intimidation and harassment. It was sending the message that ‘I know where you live’, with all the threatening and worrying implications it was no doubt intended to convey. This was, in my judgment, a plain and bad breach of…the order.”

The man also sent two emails to Cafcass managers in which he said he would “not allow” the guardian into court for separate proceedings involving the man, and threatened to “remove her from court” if she was not replaced.

Munby said these emails went beyond “bluster”, with their tone “menacing and the message intimidatory”.

“This, in my judgment, was harassment of the guardian. The fact that the guardian would no doubt have done her duty and not bent before this intimidation is neither here nor there,” he said.

“Those who attend our courts, whether for personal or professional reasons, are entitled to do so without being threatened, harassed or intimidated for their pains.”

‘Name and shame’ site

Gloucestershire council submitted evidence that the man posted details of two social workers involved in the adoption case on a “name and shame social workers” site during the period the injunction was in force.

The post listed the child’s name, which Munby found breached the injunction. He refused to rule on whether the post constituted harassment of the social workers, as this allegation was not included in the council’s original application to the court.

Munby also considered two other emails submitted by Cafcass in which the man said he was submitting a fitness to practice complaint to the HCPC about the guardian and called for her to be replaced.

The judge said both messages were “no doubt” part of the man’s “campaign” but did not constitute harassment.

“Merely calling for the removal of a guardian or threatening a report to a professional body or regulator is not, without more ado, harassment, even if the relevant emails form part of a larger body of emails some of which are, or may be, on the ‘wrong side of the line’.”

The man’s son was the subject of a family court case two years ago when a judge ruled he should be taken into care and placed for adoption.

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3 Responses to Arrest warrant issued for man who harassed social worker after son taken into care

  1. LongtimeSW April 28, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    Just asking – if it was a magistrate, solicitor, police officer or usher that was threatened in this way on a name and shame site?

    This after the bullets at a Ch Serv office in M’cester?

    Where is the HCPC on this?

    Not acceptable under any circumstances

    • Michael Wilman May 3, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

      The HCPC is stood in the shadows waiting for the social worker to act out of line in self defence when the courts let them down, in order to,drag them down kicking and screaming through the disciplinary process. I still cannot and will not ever accept that I am paying for a quango whose sole purpose is to police and persecute me within my profession. A bit like the condemned paying the executioner at the gallows prior to being ended.

      • Mike Cox May 22, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

        It’s a regulatory body, not your trade union.