(Family Division, Michael Keehan QC, sitting as a deputy judge of the High Court, 25 April 2013)
When the parents of the 5-year-old child separated the mother lived women's refuges before finding accommodation of her own. In proceedings to determine the father's contact with the child, the mother made a number of allegations of domestic violence against the father and sexual abuse against the paternal uncle who had a conviction for kissing a girl in public under the age of 13 and was on the Register of Sex Offenders.
The mother had recorded conversations with the child which the judge found to be potentially harmful for the child due to the mother's ill-informed, unregulated and aggressive questioning of what the uncle may have done to him.
The father was found to be a credible and reliable witness while the mother was emotional, anxious and all too ready to assume and interpret the events with the worst possible connotation. The mother was an unreliable historian who exaggerated events to bolster her attempts to stop or limit the father's contact. The mother's actions were not borne out of acting in the child's best interests but were part of a concerted and long-standing campaign against the father.