Head of Family Law Gabbie Clasper describes two case studies relating to finding of fact hearings and allegations of domestic abuse and violence.
Case study two
Muhammed and Amra were married and lived with Muhammed’s parents and uncle in their home. Muhammed’s family had arranged his marriage to Amra, who was born in Pakistan. At the time of court proceedings, they had a daughter aged four. Muhammed went to work one day and upon his return, Amra and his daughter had disappeared. A neighbour reported that she had seen Amra and his daughter on the driveway with a large suitcase getting into a taxi.
Amra obtained a non-molestation injunction order against Muhammed alleging that Muhammed, his father and uncle had been violent towards her. Muhammed issued a court application to spend time with his daughter and contested the proceedings issued by Amra.
The CAFCASS officer reported to the Judge that Muhammed and Amra gave very different accounts of their marriage. Muhammed said that he and his family had done everything they could to support Amra. Amra had formed a relationship with another man which was adulterous and this was the reason why she had left. Muhammed accepted that Amra had not settled into the family well and was homesick on occasions to the extent that they had funded her visit back to Pakistan to stay with her family. Conversely, Amra said she was treated like a slave. She wasn’t permitted friends, she was only able to go out in public with her mother-in-law and she was punched, kicked and slapped by her father-in-law, uncle and Muhammed on an almost daily basis. Amra was not allowed to have any money of her own. Her father-in-law had encouraged Muhammed to beat her and lock her in the bedroom for bringing shame on the family. Amra had been told by Muhammed and his parents that they would all travel to Pakistan for a family wedding but they left her there for several months to punish her.
The Judge said there had to be a finding of fact hearing to decide which of the allegations made by Amra were true, if any. Muhammed’s uncle admitted that they had punished Amra for bringing shame on the family by leaving her in Pakistan. Muhammed accepted that he had traced his wife in breach of an injunction order which led to Amra and his daughter being re-housed again. His father denied encouraging Muhammed to beat Amra but admitted that if he had believed she was speaking to another man, she deserved to be beaten.
The Judge believed Amra’s account. The Judge wanted CAFCASS to recommend what safeguards should be put in place to make sure Amra and their daughter would be safe from further violence. CAFCASS felt that the risk to Amra of further abduction/domestic violence was significant because Muhammed and his family were unable to accept the Judge’s findings against Muhammed as being true and Muhammed had breached a Court Order, believing this to be unimportant. The Judge ordered that there should be no contact between Muhammed and his daughter other than via recorded video messaging a limited number of times a year.
To read more about finding of fact hearings, head over to our blog. Emsleys’ Family Law team does not have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency and cannot offer legal aid. For more information on any of the issues outlined above, please contact us on 0113 201 4900 for a free, initial consultation.Back to Blog