It was November 2019 when the Social Services took away my sister's 3-year old girl and placed her into the care of her paternal grandmother. Between that moment and the present one, not a day has gone by without feeling my heart sink at the thought of my sister's anguish and how confused/lost/scared/abandoned my young niece must be feeling.
(Image sourced on pixabay)
On Wednesday 19th August 2020, over 10-months since she was taken away, the family court concluded it's final hearings.
The final week's fact-finding hearings have seen My sister, my mum , and my dad cross-examined in the witness box. So too has the child's father, his brother, and the paternal grandmother. I always reassured my sister that once the father and his mother were cross-examined their pack of lies would unfold and they would hang themselves. Inevitably, this is exactly what has happened and there is now a strong possibility that my sister and her daughter will be reunited. Due to the corruption we have witnessed during this horrible ordeal, we are all holding back and until we hear it from the judges mouth we can not raise our hopes too high.
During these final hearings we have witnessed just how devious the Social Services are willing to be. A prime example of this is one where they actually edited a photo taken by my sister of a bloodied tissue. In the original photo, there was very little blood but when the 1st pediatrician commented on the photo, saying how surprised she was at the amount of blood, my sister became suspicious. After making some inquiries, my sister discovered that the pediatrician had been shown an edited version of the original picture she had taken. In the edited version, the colours had been darkened and what was once brown poo was now dark red blood. My sister contacted the judge immediately and made sure that the original photo was placed into the evidence bundle. Unfortunately, this wouldn't change the fact that the Local Authority had used this darkened image to cast suspicions on my sister, suggesting that if there was this much blood the injury would have been inflicted very recently, thus taking the father out of the timeline and placing my sister, and/or my mum, directly in the firing line. By the time the 2nd pediatrician took to the stand to give evidence, the solicitors on each side had agreed to have both photos presented as evidence. How this was allowed to happen is anyone's guess and I'm 100% sure this should have been seen as evidence that has been tampered with, resulting in the removal of the edited photo(not to mention criminal charges against whoever edited it!) Shamefully when the 2nd pediatrician gave evidence and commented on how many photos there were, she was bluntly instructed by the solicitor representing the Local Authority to "concentrate on the darker photo". Now, I am no legal expert but is that not leading the witness?? Whether it is or isn't, fades into insignificance against the fact that this expert is being shown an image that does not represent the truth. Subsequently, anything decided or suggested on the back of this lie can only be wrong. Fact.
Fortunately, my niece has a lioness for a mother and after going behind the back of her own solicitor, who'd decided not to raise any of this with the judge, she made her voice heard and highlighted why it was so important that he understand the implications of this edited photo. This wasn't the first time my sister had to go directly to the judge and on every occasion she was scalded by her solicitors for doing so. Why this is I do not know but what I do know is that if she had not done so things would have turned out for the worse.
In the family courts, you get what you pay for, and being on legal aid means you get the bare minimum of legal representation. Please remember this if you ever find yourself having to deal with these leeches. £25,000 worth of legal aid only gets you limited time and effort, the rest you must do for yourself.
All the evidence has now been heard and we must wait while the judge reviews it all and makes his decision. During the fact-finding, numerous theories and accusations have been thrown at the wall by the local authorities and the father's legal team in the hope that one would stick. They have accused my sister of being overprotective and paranoid, while in the next breath they have accused her of being negligent. They have accused my sister of inflicting the abuse, while also accusing my father, myself, and my mother. As I said, they have thrown anything and everything at the wall and whichever theory seemed like it would stick they ran with it until my sister proved them wrong.
Up until recently, when everyone got to view the police interview of my niece explaining what her father had done, they had all made excuses for the father. Now this evidence has finally been released by the police the tune has changed and it appears the Local Authority is finally ready to listen to what my niece said over a year ago to her mother.
The judge is the only person who has not yet seen the police interview, but he will be doing so while reviewing the evidence this week. Hopefully, this will be the turning point and it will be the moment when he realizes what a mistake it was to remove this poor child from her mum and what an even bigger mistake it was to allow the father access to his child after he had been accused.
The damage has already been done but I know that these wounds can be healed if the right decision is made. After that and once the dust has settled justice can be dealt to all those who deserve it.
My sister has been through hell and she has stood toe-to-toe with the devil. I've never been more worried about her and at the same time, I have never admired someone so much. At the very least she deserves to have her daughter back and I pray that day is coming soon.
Just for the record, this has all happened because my sister believed in "The system" and thought by going to the authorities she was protecting her daughter. The truth is that the exact opposite is our reality and not only did they not protect my sister and her daughter, they actually caused much more harm and appear to have used the situation to force another child into the care system. The Social Services lied and even went as far as to tamper with evidence. The police have abandoned my sister and even tried to tell her the abuse never happened, even after medical examinations had proven otherwise. Like my cousin told us, "Unless they see the abuse taking place in front of their eyes, the police will never stick their neck out for you". She was correct and this is exactly what they did. Shame on each and every one of them.
I would like to thank @familyprotection for giving me this platform. My whole family has been silenced by the courts and if I were to post this on Facebook I would be facing court fines and maybe even jail. Such is the nature of our secretive Family Courts, who use this cloak to undermine justice and honesty. If it was not for the anonymity I have on Hive I would not be able to write this post and you who are reading this would never know about the horrors countless families have to endure in the name of "Child Welfare".
As for my guardianship appeal, I hope it will no longer be required. My girlfriend and I attended court on the 17th only to be told by the judge that he would consider our appeal after he has made his decision. Nonetheless, I thank each and every one of you who helped raise funds for this appeal. If our appeal isn't needed I can assure you that the money we raised will go directly to my sister who has been falling into debt ever since this trial began. Or I could just hire a hit-man...