Judge ordered teenage mother, 16, to give up her baby for adoption after just one court hearing with only THIRTEEN minutes of evidence By STEVE DOUGHTY SOCIAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL
- A judge ordered a 16-year-old mother to give up her baby after a single hearing
- Judge Helen Black listened to evidence for 13 minutes before making a decision
- Appeal Court judges have now delivered a stinging rebuke to Judge Black and called for the case to be re-run under a new judge
A judge ordered a 16-year-old mother to give up her baby after a single hearing that lasted under an hour, an Appeal Court ruling has revealed.
Judge Helen Black listened to evidence for 13 minutes before deciding the girl had failed to show she knew ‘what being a parent is about’.
Judge Black then told the teenager she must surrender her child for adoption in a judgment that was just 360 words long.
Appeal Court judges have now delivered a stinging rebuke to Judge Black and called for the case to be re-run under a new judge.
They declared she had ‘conspicuously failed’ to give a proper judgment and had made up her mind ‘that she did not think the mother had a chance of keeping her child’.
Lord Justice Baker, sitting with two other judges, added that Judge Black had sent the 16-year-old’s lawyer out of the court in Portsmouth to put ‘undue pressure’ on the girl to give up the baby.
The appeal hearing in the case was held in July, at a time when the baby had already been living with new adoptive parents for six months, but has only now been made public.
Although Lord Justice Baker and his colleagues said the case should be re-heard within a week of their ruling, no information has been released on whether the baby remains with the couple.
He was born in May last year to a mother whose family had been under the observation of social workers for some years. The father is a ‘young person from a difficult family background’.
None of those involved in the case may be named, and even the council whose social workers took the baby into care and organised his adoption has not been identified.
The mother and baby were sent to live with foster families while social workers decided whether she was capable of bringing up the child.
Lord Justice Baker said: ‘Judge Black is a highly respected and very experienced family judge who is well aware of the need to ensure that the line between robustness and unfairness is not crossed.
‘I regret to say however that I am in no doubt that the line was crossed in this case.’