Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Judgement Day

I was tipped off that there would be a judgement today in an extraordinary Manx court case. Extraordinary for one thing in that a Manx judge finally broke ranks and admitted the Manx legal system was itself capable of nasty, illegal acts against someone who went to it hoping for justice.
I don’t know the full history of this case – due to it progressing in such a way that it couldn’t be publicised for one thing. What I do gather is that an order from a Lancashire court preventing a Manx resident seeing his kids was upheld by a Manx court – even though there is no equivalent law over here and so the Manx court had no power to make such an order. I also gather much of that was because some in the legal profession passed judgement before anyone entered the court, and seem to have thought like redneck preachers rather than trained lawyers.
It’s been suggested to me there’s some similarity between the way this case went and the sorry way Andy Kershaw was told by a Manx judge not to speak to his kids even if they met by accident in the street. In both cases you have an assumption that a guy who takes a broken relationship hard and maybe initially overreacts is an animal, gets driven into a corner by the legal system, inevitably hits back in sheer frustration and is clobbered with the full weight of the law – in the process losing all hope of a future relationship with kids he loves.
It’s also been suggested to me that much of this fundamentalist Manx attitude is because godbotherers are gaining power in the social services. The problem dates back to the 1980’s, when many local authorities privatised training of social workers to cut costs. The most ‘cost effective’ mickey mouse courses were offered by US evangelicals – the kind who tell students in all seriousness that wearing black T shirts is evidence of Satanism. As the Manx government hates to bear the costs of training anyone locally, it was only a matter of time before these semi-literate kneejerkers started moving over here for a quieter life… and so it goes.
I always thought the job of family courts was to find a middle road for troubled couples, something that gives kids a chance to know two parents and leaves the door open for all in case, with time, the old wounds heal. So even if the family doesn’t get back together at least everyone’s talking.
OK, that’s never going to be easy, but if you have a situation where not only social workers but, over here, even legal officers see everything in Old Testament terms where one protagonist is good and the other evil it’s not going to happen. Period.
The guy at the centre seems to have lost so much faith in Manx barristers that he fought the case himself – which put up the backs of their mates and stacked things even more against him. Good to see that not only did he not give up, but that eventually at least one Manx judge was willing to give him a proper hearing.
The judgement is at http://www.judgments.im/content/J906.htm .
Bear in mind this is our so-called legal profession talking about themselves, so they’re not likely to speak plainly in a place where even us oiks can discover it. Still, if you can plough your way through the legalese you may well worry that our courts are a mess and Manx justice mighty thin on the ground.

No comments: