(Family Division, Newton J, 1 July 2016)
Public law children – Radicalisation – Fact finding – Mother caught attempting to take children to Syria – Extreme beliefs
Findings were made in relation to the mother who had attempted to take her children to Syria to join Islamic State activities.
The four children aged between 13 and 5 were taken by their mother to Europe and detained by police in Turkey attempting to cross the border to Syria. When they returned to this jurisdiction the mother was arrested and the children were placed in foster care having been made wards of court.
The father claimed that he had no knowledge of the mother’s intentions and that he was unaware of her radical and extreme views.
The local authority sought extensive findings of fact in relation to the mother’s activities with ISIL and her trip to Turkey with the associated risk of harm to the children of travelling to and intending to live in a war zone.
The mother’s evidence in relation to the trip was inconsistent and unreliable. The judge was not convinced that the father was unaware of the mother’s radical views but found that he was responsible by association in knowing of the mother’s extreme beliefs but allowing her unchallenged to make all of the educational decisions relating to the children.
The majority of the local authority’s allegations were made out on the balance of probabilities.