The Local Authority v Mothers and Others 2020 EWHC 1216

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Rebekah Wilson of the Garden Court Family Team appeared in the case of The Local Authority v Mother & Ors, led by Andrew Bagchi QC and instructed by Kate Hammond of Miles and Partners, acting for an intervener whose younger brother had allegedly been strangled at the age of 13.

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The case makes for a troubling read.

Lieven LJ found that,

“In my view, much the most likely scenario is that there was an argument, probably about William going out, someone lost their temper and in the ensuing fight (or perhaps restraint) William was strangled, possibly with a soft ligature. I make clear here that I am not making findings about this being what happened, for the reasons I have explained it is not possible to know. I merely posit this scenario to show why in my view it is significantly more likely that William was killed by the Father, Mother and/or Charles, than that he committed suicide. (Para 196)”

The troubling case was heard over 16 days in October 2019 and then February 2020.  The case having to be adjourned in October because it was discovered that the police had been exercising covert surveillance on the family at various dates whilst they were under investigation. The Police ‘s application for PII was refused and time was given to the parties to consider and digest the disclosed information. A large delay ensued and ultimately no weight was placed on the material by the court.

The case also involved ‘unusual’  architectural evidence about whether a curtain rail could hold a certain weight.

Ultimately the court did not feel it safe to take anyone out of the pool of perpetrators and the family, including the deceased brother were left in.

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