Welcome to another week.
A father was given a suspended prison sentence in secret in the family courts, for trying repeatedly to contact his sons, breaching a court order in place for the family.
The anonymisation of the judgment was criticised by former MP, John Hemming, who said the decision to sentence the father in secret was disgraceful and would undermine open justice and public confidence in the law.
Hemming campaigned prolifically in the early 200’s to open up the family courts and make them more transparent.
Current rules in such cases say that judges should never hand down prison or suspended terms without naming the individual who has been charged.
The judgment, handed down by Judge Gillian Matthews QC, follows an earlier nine-month prison term imposed on the father in December 2019 for taking the three boys from their mother.
While the father was named in the criminal proceedings, Judge Matthews delivered her judgment without naming the father and in private, and said that ‘the anonymity of the children and members of their family must be strictly preserved’.
Our question this week then, is just this: do you think these kinds of judgments should be delivered in private and without publishing the names of the offenders?