Part of this article in The Telegraph – May 2010
Mother in court over a birthday card
Next Wednesday, Maureen Spalek, a spirited and loving mother, will be in Runcorn magistrates’ court to face a criminal charge of having sent a birthday card to her eight-year-old son – having already been arrested and held in a prison cell for 24 hours for the same offence.
Mrs Spalek is charged with breaking a court order forbidding her to have any contact with her three children, even though she has an order from another judge explicitly permitting her to send them birthday and Christmas cards. Yet a few days after she sent her younger son the card, on April 15, she was visited by two police officers who threatened to beat down her door unless she gave them entry. She was then taken to one of Runcorn’s 30 police cells where she was held in very unpleasant conditions for 24 hours.
Mrs Spalek, the former wife of a naval officer, lost her children some years ago after one of her sons was taken to hospital with a broken leg from a bicycle accident. When she complained about the attitude of a doctor who was treating her son, social workers were called in. When she then, in turn, complained about the “hostile” attitude they had shown to her, the affair escalated to the point where her three children were taken away, on the grounds that she had “problems working with professionals” – even though it was agreed in court that she was an “excellent mother”, that the children were well-behaved and well-looked-after and that they had suffered no physical or emotional abuse. Two were adopted, one lives with their father.
One of the many serious issues not raised in the recent election campaign, because all three parties have agreed not to discuss it, is the growing scandal of the abduction by social workers of children from responsible and loving parents. In too many instances, this gives the impression of a tightly closed system, in which the social workers, who have in the recent past been set “adoption targets” by central government, are aided and abetted by the police, by certain family court judges and even by those lawyers supposedly acting on behalf of the parents. I shall return to this very disturbing issue after Mrs Spalek’s case this week.
This case illustrates a colossal loophole in the family court “secrecy and gagging system” ! Any parent that like Maureen commits a minor criminal offence (usually breaking an injunction thus committing contempt of court !)
If that parent pleads not guilty and represents him/herself the whole lot can come out in court with no reporting resrictions and can be debated openly!
It takes guts to do this but look at the publicity and public outrage that Maureen garnered to help her get contact with her state stolen children!
Mark Harris waved to his daughter; he was handcuffed and jailed!
Maureen Spalek sent a birthday card to her son; she was handcuffed and jailed!
Sarah White sent an email to her children; she was handcuffed and jailed!
For these so called “serious offences” defying the family courts, three parents were jailed, but was justice really served?