Father allowed to fight for access to his son

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A FATHER who has not seen his son for more than a year after storming out of a family court hearing has been given the go-ahead by top judges to resume his fight for contact.

The Sheffield man, who cannot be identified, ‘ranted at the injustice of the system’ before walking out of Sheffield County Court during a hearing about access to his nine-year-old son last year.

Judge Annabel Carr QC then went on to make an order banning him from making any further applications for contact with the child for two years.

But the decision has been overturned by judges sitting at the Court of Appeal, in London, who said the ban had been an overreaction.

The Appeal Court judges said the dad and son loved each other and it was a ‘tragedy’ it had taken over a year for the case to be resolved .

They added: “It doesn’t seem anyone has thought about the child’s position in all of this. Two years is a very long time to a boy of his age.”

The boy’s parents separated in 2007 and last year’s county court hearing followed a history of proceedings over access and parental rights.

At a previous hearing, Judge Carr allowed the father monthly supervised contact with the boy, saying she ‘fully accepted’ he loved his son, but there was evidence he may cause him ‘emotional harm’.

But, by the time of the next hearing early last year, a report before the court indicated there was ‘significant improvement’ in the father’s attitude.

The report also concluded the child was a ‘resilient, mature and intelligent’ boy, who clearly wanted to see his father and enjoyed the time he spends with him.

It said: “Both the father and child clearly love each other and are committed to having a relationship with each other and for this to be as positive as possible.

“It is recommended that, taking into account the boy’s emotional needs and welfare, direct contact be promoted between them.”

But the parties came to an impasse at the hearing, when the child’s guardian, and both the father and mother, said they could not afford to pay for supervision for the contact sessions.

The Appeal Court heard Judge Carr adjourned the case to see if agreement could be reached, but the father ‘lost his self control’ after returning to court the following day and ‘ranted at the injustice of the system’.

An order has been made for the case to be dealt with as soon as possible.