Sarah Memmi, instructed by Jemma Webster of FMW Law part of GT Stewart Solicitors & Advocates, represented a mother ‘M’ in proceedings brought by the father ‘F’ for contact with their child ‘C’. The parties separated in early 2018 and F had frequent, unfettered contact with C for some months. A number of arguments took place, some of which involved the police, including an incident in February 2019 during which F started a campaign of harassment against M. The police and social services were involved and all shared concerns about F’s mental health and alcohol consumption. F made an application for a Child Arrangements Order in the summer of 2019, leading to a schedule of allegations containing 5 incidents spanning from 2013 to 2018. M responded with 3 counter allegations which occurred between 2015 and 2019, all of which had been reported to various professionals prior to disputes over contact arising. Due to the pandemic, the matter was only listed for an effective fact-finding hearing in February 2021, originally for 2 days, eventually culminating into a four-day fact-finding hearing.
Sarah Memmi cross-examined F over the course of two days, for a total of 5 hours, described as a “careful” and “rigorous” cross-examination by the Judge. The court also heard evidence from F’s sister for F, as well as M, M’s mother and two of F’s own cousins giving evidence for M, following which a number of findings were made over the course of a three-hour judgment. The Judge found that:
- F’s 5 allegations were not proved;
- M’s 3 allegations were proved.
The Judge further made a variety of findings mirroring submissions made by Sarah Memmi on behalf of M.
Jemma Webster was instructed by M after she had been self-representing throughout the majority of the proceedings. Following a thorough review of the papers available and court directions, Jemma was able to ensure that M’s lack of previous representation in litigation caused her no prejudice at the fact-finding hearing.