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Fathers 'powerless against vengeful mothers'
Decent fathers are left powerless to see their estranged children if vengeful mothers are determined to prevent access, a senior judge has admitted.
Lord Justice Ward attacked child access law after presiding over a case that saw a “vicious” mother falsely accuse her ex-husband of sexually abusing their child.
He spoke out after telling the father that there was nothing he could do to help him re-establish contact with his daughter after his ex-wife turned her against him.
The man’s 14-year-old daughter, who cannot been identified, had been influenced by a “drip, drip, drip of venom” from his ex-wife, who wanted to deny him his paternal rights.
Lord Justice Ward said the case was bordering on the scandalous but the court was compelled to act in the interests of the child.
Because of her mother’s “viciously corrupting” influence, it would cause the teenager too much distress if she spent time with her father, he said.
In London’s Civil Appeal Court, Lord Justice Ward said: “The father complains bitterly, passionately, and with every justification, that the law is sterile, impotent and utterly useless.
”But the question is 'what can this court do?’ The answer is nothing.”
The parents were briefly married in the 1990s and their daughter was a baby when they parted.
Lord Justice Ward said it was “impossible” that the girl could remember being abused and it was obvious it was something she had been told and believed.
In 1997 a judge ruled that allegations of sexual abuse were “wholly unfounded”.
The malignant influence of the mother, who lives in the Lincoln area, came to a head when the girl wrote to her father when she was nine.
The letter read: “This is what I really think about you. I hate you and you frighten me. You made my life miserable and stressful. I wish you would die. Leave me alone.”
In 2004 the father went to Lincoln County Court in an attempt to gain access. He was allowed to see her, but only under the supervision of a priest.
The contact was an unhappy experience for the daughter and the arrangement ceased. At a later court hearing, the father virtually admitted that further meetings would distress her.
At the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Ward refused the father permission to appeal his decision. The father is considering taking a case to the European Court of Human Rights.
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