Unanswered questions

AS I’ve proudly pointed out in the past, I’m no lawyer. So can someone please explain to me why a court would have granted a gagging order against the Haringey social worker, Nevres Kemal?

If she has something relevant and important to say, why is she being prevented from contributing to a public debate that is in full swing? The public are angry – and rightly so. Now is not the time to start preventing people from telling the truth. The political consequences for any local authority, or indeed any government, would be utterly incidental to the importance of getting to the truth about what happened to Baby P.

And I hope the courts will, later today, lift the injunction on naming Baby P’s “mother” and her partner. My understanding of the law, as far as it goes, is that such individuals’ names are withheld when there is a risk that a child might be identified. But when the child – these people’s innocent victim – has died, there is clearly no reason for them not to be named. And the least persuasive reason for not naming them would be “for their own protection”.

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22 Comments

Filed under Government, Society

22 responses to “Unanswered questions

  1. Brian

    They should probably consider giving the ex-social worker her job back; she clearly spotted the problems before the ‘high and mighty’; by about 2 years…

    From what I hear the lady in charge of Haringey childrens care still hasn’t admitted there was a problem and has been relieved of her post.

  2. Andrew

    Tom
    A quick google search found this page
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6950686.stm

    From the trial I guess – so much for court injunctions

  3. Chris' Wills

    Tom,
    From what I’ve read about the adults who murdered the child; they aren’t being named as they are likely to be charged with other offences and so the courts don’t wish to prejudice those upcoming trials.

    Who asked for the gagging order?
    That seems a more interesting question, who is trying to hide their culpability?

    Must be someone fairly powerful for the judge to grant such an order, especially as it cannot affect a trial that has already concluded.

    More worrying is the fact that the murderers weren’t charged with murder. Why not?

  4. Donkey Kong

    The names you refer to were leaked out by a Facebook group yesterday afternoon. They were on for a few hours before the authorities took them down. None-the-less, that hasn’t stopped me from being able to obtain them.

    I notice you still haven’t defended your Prime Minister when he accused Call Me Dave of trying to make “party political” points out of this. Can we take that to assume you’re just as embarrassed about Macavity’s remarks as everyone else is?

  5. Madasafish

    you can find the name of the child on the BBC website….

  6. Try Michael White on this topic. As is often the case, he’s rather calmer and more measured than most “instant experts” from the media or politics are. Certainly more so than most bloggers: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2008/nov/14/michael-white-baby-p

  7. Patchouli

    Going back to the original reporting in 2007, the injunction on naming the baby was to protect the identity of the siblings. UPDATE: photos of the baby are now being allowed on TV.

    Nevres Kemal accused the council of victimisation and racial discrimination at her employment tribunal – I suspect, though have no proof at the moment, that is the reason for the gagging.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article2246465.ece

  8. Isn’t the reason for witholding the names in order to protect Baby P’s sibbling(s)? (There was a mention of at least one in one of the media reports I saw.)

  9. Rapunzel

    I read somewhere that the charge of murder would be harder to prove as it would require evidence as to which of the accused actually dealt the ultimate blow. The lesser charge stands more chance of all being found guilty.

  10. Madasafish

    Kemal’s unfair dismissal case was I believe undefended by Haringey,,, (they claimed the papers were sent to the wrong address!).

    As for the gagging order, I suspect – and all the evidence suggests – that Harringey are more concerned with what people think .. and not about what they do…

    The BBC site has taken down the above linked page..!

    Put bluntly.. I would not like to be a social worker. Cleients are often very difficult. But the lack of common sense actions and management review ( surely any half rational internal manager would review the case and ring alarm bells… previous child battering etc should have been highlighted as a key at risk case) suggest the Social Department was manged on grounds which DID NOT put the interests of the children first.

    Given the past history, child welfare shoudl have been on the top of everyone’s list: especially the Leader.

    The Leader appeared more concerned about procedures being followed!

    So wrong priorities = wrong decisions.

    The fault lies clearly and demonstrably with the top of the Socail Services Department – from the lips of the Leader.

    People should come first, procedures fifth.
    Obviously and clearly and demonstrably not the case for the Head of Social Services.

    Makes me want to cry.

  11. Johnny Norfolk

    Thats an easy one Tom.

    Its called a Labour government. It does not want us to know what goes on.

  12. John Smith

    I can only imagine that the anonymity order is in place to protect the siblings in the case. Whether that is worth it or not, I’m not sure – I’d be inclined to say not, given the context – but it won’t last.

    The names, based even on just the comments on this post, are clearly out there and I would guess during the weekend a newspaper editor will have the stones to put them out there. And, of course, once one goes, everyone will.

    And so much the better: the people convicted of this crime do not deserve the anonymity currently granted to them.

    Kudos, by the way, to whoever ran the picture first: that probably breaches the injunction, even without the name. BBC are running the image with an ITV tag. If it was them, well done.

  13. henry george

    Another tragic case but i believe that the so called whistleblower has brought her case into the public domain to try and justify her industrial tribunal case against the council, which is currently being fought and is at the appeal stage and being opposed by the council . I think she may using this opportunity to help her case and make money and get her five minutes of fame via the tabloid press also it gives her a chance to seek revenge on her previous employers. if she was so concerned for the children she would have gone to the press before.

  14. Madasafish

    The whistleblower case happened before the child was killed. So it has no direct bearing per se…

    As I stated before, the council did not contest the tibunal award.

    And based on what is in the public domain I doubt they (the Council) will win an appeal

  15. Lu

    The charge of murder was not sought as it was not possible to determine who out of the three defendants caused the fatal injuries, apparently.

    I don’t think its fair to criticize the whistle blower in this case. Its not an easy thing to do – she contacted the authorities through her solicitor to bring the Coulncil’s failings to light. More than any of her colleagues did as far as we know.

  16. C Jones

    I thought I was a cynic Henry George, but you take the cake. Ms Kamal has not been able to work again, after being witch-hunted out of her job. She has said she would do the same thing again (Whistleblowing, that is). I, for one, think Ms Kamal is a very brave and principled woman. She lost her job for doing the right thing, whilst those who failed even refuse to say sorry.

  17. Bedd Gelert

    It is flipping annoying, but I think many ‘deals’ for taking redundancy / severance must have a clause about not revealing anything. I suppose in business it is to prevent disgruntled employees trashing the reputation of a company they’ve fallen out with.

    But in the case of ‘public service employees’ it should be subject to a ‘public interest’ defence, if indeed it is needed at all. I think it is scandalous that this woman is not allowed to share any and all information of potential relevance to any public or independent inquiry. But maybe she is only ‘gagged’ from speaking to the media ??

  18. anexsocialworker

    Is this genuine whistleblowing, or justify her accusations against a council. Is she a hero, who deserves to be feted, or somewhat different in reality to the picture painted in the mail, telegraph, etc. Some people have a habit of accusing others of victimising them, whenever it suits them, particularly when subject to accusations and complaints themselves. But who can come forward to attest to another’s character in these circumstances?

  19. Madasafish

    Harringey Social Services by their actions have proved that whistleblowing about their incompetence was 100% justified.
    And since Harringey’s Shoesmith investigated her own department (yes really!), and found it blameless (surprise) , any suggestion that Harringey took complaints seriously is for the birds.

    So to answer Tom’s question: the injuction looks like it was part of an organised coverup.

  20. james d

    The injunction suceeded because Nevres had earlier (as part of the settlement of her case with an industrial tribunal) been forced to agree not to contest. In the face of her apparent acquisance and a credible local authority, any judge would have decided it was not in the public interest to quash the injunction

  21. I have worked with children as a teacher), and deal with social workers, therapists etc.. I have a huge respect for this whistleblowers, the emphassis is more on management training, filing in forms etcc…. than it is on child welfare. The system is a communication breakdown, and arrogance, ( one person, one job), and never the twain shall meet.

    This will not be the last case, this will continue to go on, where children die at the hands of parents, etc..if it was not for Nevres Kemal, then this would not have reached the media.

    Henry George, anexsocialworker , cynical people ( not all social workers have experience of child protection), it is the worst area of social work, so high job turn overs. It is a crap job basically. – This women will never be hired again, any amount of money, she receives will not last long. Silence, is what allows this to continue.

    I have dealth with social workers, the empassis is the keep the child with the mother ( i do not agree with this) social workers basically are scared of removing a child as are terrified of the law suits etc…

    The blame with this system lies pure and simple with the management and the social workers, they do not need more funding – they need meeting to review cases and proper training.

    A social worker makes a submission, about a child at risk, it is assessed by a team, so the final decision, does NOT lie with the social worker, at all.

    Are people so stupid that they cannot see that the managers, have degrees in management etc…. comming out their ears, and literally no hands on. They are worried about targets, metrics and other bullshit.

    I no longer work with children, crap money, long hours, and NO RESPECT AT ALL.

    Funny, it is the good people that leave, all these people do, is send the message out DO NOT TRAIN AS A SOCIAL WORKER….. so even more staff shortages, there is a staffing problem, because why be a social worker, when you are blamed, when something goes wrong, it is the managers, and the draconian laws.

  22. Zoompad

    I am a survivor of the Staffordshire pindown children’s homes scandal. I was taken to court for 7 years by the man who raped me – he used the secret family courts to stalk me.

    The whole system is a disgrace. Our family was put under a microscope, and the verdict came back time after time, that I was a good mum, under a lot of pressure – from the court case!

    I was repeatedly told during the seven years that rapists have rights. I was told that it was a loophole because everyone expects rape victims to have an abortion! I was threatened with prison several times if I committed contempt of court – so basically, I’d been raped yet I was the one threatened with prison!

    The whole system is in a mess. How can it be in the best interests of any child to have their mother threatened and tormented and bullied into handing over her child to a rapist? It makes no sense at all.

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