Essex: Council Wins Adoption Gag Ruling
4 December 2013, 17:14
A local authority has won a High Court order restricting reporting relating to the case of an Italian woman whose child was taken into care after she was forced to have her baby delivered by Caesarean section.
Mr Justice Charles, sitting in London, said "prospective adopters" had been found for 15-month-old Child P by Essex County Council social services.
The judge ordered that the child's identity and the identity of the potential adopters must not be revealed to prevent "damage" to the child.
He added that the Italian government had now instructed solicitors and might want to intervene in the case.
The 35-year-old Italian woman, who suffers from bipolar disorder, is reported to have come to Britain while pregnant to attend a training course with an airline at Stansted Airport in Essex.
After she stopped taking medication she had a panic attack and was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
The Court of Protection took the unusual step of giving a health trust permission for doctors to carry out a Caesarean section in August last year, and the newborn child was taken into care by Essex social services.
In February, Judge Newton, sitting at Chelmsford County Court, ruled that although the mother's condition had improved and she was "extremely well" when she gave evidence, adoption was the best way to provide "a permanent, predictable and stable home" for the baby. The council had argued adoption was "the only safe route".
The case has drawn wide publicity, even though it was heard in private.
The lawyer for the mother said earlier today that the decision to force the baby to be delivered by Caesarean section was "absolutely unreasonable". Stefano Oliva said the unnamed woman wanted a "second chance" to prove she could care for the baby girl with the support of her family.
Mr Oliva said the mother was permitted to see her baby once a week until the end of October, when she moved back to Italy to get support from her family.
After returning to her home country, she came back to Britain once a month to visit the child. This arrangement stood until May this year when social workers told her it would be the last time she would see her daughter, he said.
The president of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has ordered that any further applications relating to the baby, known only as P, must be transferred to the High Court.
Today he was not available, and Mr Justice Charles stepped in and allowed Essex Council's urgent application for reporting restrictions.
The judge said the order should remain in place until 4pm on Friday December 13th, but interested parties could seek to have it discharged or varied on giving no less than two hours' notice.