2013 08 Children

Sunday 1 September 2013

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R v L; R v HVN; R v T; R v THN [2013] EWCA Crim 991 (LCJ Judge, Moses LJ, Thirwall J): The Court of Appeal Criminal Division heard 4 unrelated but linked appeals against conviction brought by four victims of trafficking, three of whom were children at the time of the conviction. The Court of Appeal allowed all four appeals, quashing the convictions and set out important guidelines on the approach the criminal court ought to take to identifying victims of trafficking whose criminal liability is a manifestation of their trafficking circumstances. The guidelines also set out the correct approach the criminal court should take in handling defendants who are age disputed. Click here for judgment.

Henry Blaxland Q.C. and Michelle Brewer of Garden Court Chambers represented one of the appellants, THN.

Stephen Knafler Q.C. and Shu Shin Luh of Garden Court Chambers intervened on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Nadine Finch of Garden Court Chambers intervened on behalf of the Children's Commission for England.

Re A (A Child) (Vulnerable Witness) [2013] EWHC 1694 (Fam) (Pauffley J): The court decided that a vulnerable witness, who by the time of the hearing was no longer a child, longer should participate in a hearing to detemrine the truth of allegations made by her against a father in the course of contact proceedings invovling a 10 year old girl. The court held that an intermediary service should be instructed to prepare a report to confirm the feasibility of requiring the witness to give oral evidence and to advise on special measures. Click here for judgment.

Other matters:

  • LGO Complaint 12 001 646 against Kent County Council.

Kent failed to help a 16-year old with both his housing and welfare needs after he became homeless and failed to assess him as a 'looked after' child which meant he missed out on his entitlement to services due to all looked after children (before age 18 and when leaving care). The boy approached the council for welfare and housing help after parents abandoned him and he became homeless. The council offered a foster placement but did not offer other alternatives. They provided no support to the young man under the Children Act 1989. He sofa-surfed for some time but became homeless on turning 18. He was found not to be in priority need by the housing department. He complained about the failure of Kent to recognise a duty under s20, Children Act 1989 toward him, depriving him of being 'looked after' and therefore acquiring status as a former relevant child on turning 18. The Ombudsman found maladministration causing injustice. Click here for complaint report.

  • Appeal by Essex was dismissed in KA v Essex County Council [2013] EWHC 43 (Admin) (permission having been granted for the appeal). It is understood dismissal was based on the case being academic on the facts. n.b. The case of MN and ors v LB of Hackney [2013] EWHC 1205 (Admin) is currently on appeal, permission decision pending.

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