Notable Cases

Listed below are a few of the more notable cases handled by Venters Solicitors and Ms June Venters QC.

A (A CHILD) [2018] EWCA 2381 Civ

Appeal of Child Abduction proceedings, when child returns to member state, against UK order.

D (A child : parental alienation) [2018] EWFC B64 (19 October 2018)

This private law Children Act application relates to a teenage boy, D. D is aged 13. On 23rd November 2016 his mother applied to the court to vary a residence order, originally made in 2008, and for a child arrangements order providing that D should live with her. The father immediately responded by issuing an application for a specific issue order seeking the return of D to his care. D is a party to these proceedings and a children’s guardian (‘the guardian’) has been appointed for him. The applications come before me now for a finding of fact hearing. This is my judgment relating to fact finding issues. In the light of those ‘typical behaviours’ displayed by D, I am satisfied on the simple balance of probability that D has become alienated from his father.

R (Children) [2018] EWCA Civ 198

On 16th February the Court of Appeal handed down R (Children) [2018] EWCA Civ 198 a judgment arising out of an appeal hearing heard on 6th December 2017. The father appealed against numerous findings made against him at a fact finding hearing including that he had "used unreasonable force and unlawfully killed the mother". By the time the fact-finding hearing took place, the father had been acquitted of murder in the Criminal Courts. The judgment deals with the issue of the extent to which, if at all, the Family Court should use elements of criminal law in fact finding hearings within Care Proceedings. The judgment also deals with Article 6 'right to a fair trial'. The Court of Appeal set aside the lower court's judgment in its entirety and the matter was ordered to be re-tried by a different High Court Judge.

Re: R [Central Criminal Court] 2017

Successfully representing a young man charged with numerous sexual offences and achieving an acquittal

Re P and Q (Children: Care Proceedings: [2015] EWFC 26 (Fam)

June Venters Q C represented the Father in a case in the High Court where the Judge found the Mother and her Partner had conducted horrific physical and psychological abuse of two young children, in the Hampstead area of North London. Father was entirely exonerated and children were subsequently placed in his long term care.

Re: B Crown Court 2014

Representing celebrity's brother in a high profile sexual offences case and achieving acquittal

Guildford Crown Court 2012

A young man of good character faced almost a year of waiting for his trial to come before the Crown Court for an alleged assault on a taxi driver. As a result of instructing June Venters QC, and following representations which she made to the Crown Prosecution Service they were faced with no alternative but to drop all charges not only against him but his co-defendants too. Not only had this young man not committed the offences charged but the charges should never have been brought.

Re N (Placement Order: Alternative option to Adoption) Court of Appeal 25.03.13

The Court of Appeal set aside a Placement Order in care proceedings which had been made pursuant to Section 52(1)(b) Adoption and Children Act 2002 because the Judge had failed to consider whether the welfare throughout the child's life required adoption at a time when the court was aware the maternal grandmother wished to care for the child which necessitated further investigation.

Re: F 2013 Derby Family Court

June Venters QC successfully represented a Mother who was on the verge of being sent to prison for failing to comply with a contact order. The Mother's case was that the Father was violent and a risk to the children but her difficulty had been when represented previously by a different legal team she had agreed not to pursue a fact finding hearing against the Father and, therefore, no court had ever determined the issue of his violence. June Venters QC managed to persuade the court to re-open the previous proceedings [albeit they were some 4 years earlier]. A Fact Finding hearing was held and the Mother was completed vindicated. The Father was found to be violent and a risk to his children and the children were no longer compelled to see him. Achieved a costs order on behalf of the Mother.

T v T [2010] EWCA Civ 136

Appellants sought the substitution of a joint residence order in their favour with contact to the father.

In considering the appeal the court of appeal considered the hypothetical situation of the mother's death. It was agreed, that in such a situation, there would be nothing to prevent the father asserting that the children should come to live with him full time. In these circumstances, the judge considered that a residence order in favour of all three adults would serve the children's interests better, although she noted she would not have reached this conclusion had the father not indicated his agreement to this solution prior to the hearing.

Re: P (Sevenoaks Magistrates Court 2018)

A young father and victim of domestic violence was charged with assault of having acted in self-defence against a violent ex-partner. The client faced the inability to have contact with his child until the conclusion of the case. As a result of instructing Anthony Clarke, and following preparation of defence case, the Crown Prosecution Service they were faced with no alternative but to drop the charges.

Re: R-W (Westminster Youth Court 2018)

Juvenile charged with possession of an offensive weapon having been found with a bag of bolt cutters and gloves with a group of college friends. The client faced a potential custodial sentence if unsuccessful after trial. The client after representations in court received a referral order and a nominal fine.

Re W (Shared Residence Order) [2009] EWCA Civ 370

Appeal by the mother of two children and her civil partner against a shared residence order made in favour of the mother and the children's father.
Whilst sitting as a Recorder, decision upheld on appeal for a shared residence order:

"Such an order emphasises the fact that both parents are equal in the eyes of the law and that they have equal duties and responsibilities as parents. The order can have the additional advantage of conveying the court's message that neither parent is in control and that the court expects parents to co-operate with each other for the benefit of their children."

Non-accidental injury care proceedings

  • Representing parents in non-accidental injury care proceedings involving their 5 day old baby. Achieving a re-opening of a finding against them and following a re-trial proceedings dismissed. Parents both exonerated.
  • Representing a soldier who had just returned from Afghanistan and who was then accused of having deliberately injured his baby. Following a trial, Father was exonerated
  • Representing Mother who was accused of having seriously injured her new born baby whilst in hospital following his birth. During the course of the trial and after successfully applying to join a fellow patient as an intervener, mother was entirely exonerated and the “intervenor patient” was found to have injured the baby as a result of jealously. She had three children and lived in a tenement block and she and her family were financially struggling whereas this mother was financially secure with a happy family.
  • Representing parents whose twin babies were suspected of having suffered non- accidental injuries when their Mother took them to see the family GP because she was worried about a rash that had appeared. Because of the opinion of a senior hospital doctor the police and social services subjected the parents to interrogation and investigation. With the careful guidance of June Venters QC throughout, care proceedings and criminal proceedings were avoided and the twins were never removed from their parents’ care. A complaint in relation to the hospital’s handling of this case was pursued and lessons were learned
  • Mother entirely exonerated of having caused her baby to suffer a broken arm and which the authorities believed to have been non-accidental. An innocent explanation as to how the baby’s arm had been broken accidentally only emerged during the course of the trial as a result of June Venters QC expertly cross examining the medical witnesses. Mother reported her experience of being accused and investigated by social services and the police to the press and the case was reported.
  • Representing Mother who deliberately cut the medical lines that provided her daghter’s intravenous medical treatment. Despite the seriousness of her actions, avoiding imprisonment by June Venters QC establishing the need for her to receive mental health support

In addition to above, June regularly represents clients and children involved in numerous care proceedings involving non-accidental injuries, factitious illness by proxy and other aspects of physical and sexual abuse, as well as emotional harm and neglect

Care proceedings

All parties in care proceedings represented

  • Successfully retaining child at home, thereafter achieving Special Guardianship Order for step-son. During Proceedings protecting the children and our client with Non Molestation Orders and Transfer of Tenancy.
  • Achieving children remaining in our client father's care where concerns were in respect of the mother’s drug and alcohol use, mother and father’s mental health, neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse and the father’s substantial health concerns.

Child abduction

Regularly representing child abduction cases in the High Court

  • Achieving the return for a mother of a very young child from Afghanistan who had been taken there unlawfully by his Father. To do so, involved the arrest of members of Father’s family domiciled in the UK and which secured the co-operation of the Father to return the child
  • Successfully opposing the return of a child to Australia on the grounds of mother’s psychological fear of father arising from domestic violence and which had caused her to return to the UK

Forced Marriage

  • Successfully representing child in care proceedings whose parents had sought to return her to Pakistan for the purposes of an arranged marriage
  • Representing Mother accused of securing her son’s unlawful detention in Nigeria for the purposes of an arranged marriage due to her son having “come out” as gay whilst living in UK

Examples of historic “high profile” cases:

Victoria Climbié

Representing the social worker and achieving complete vindication of her. Her failings were found to have been directly attributable to a lack of appropriate supervision and being required to manage an excessive caseload beyond her ability and experience

Damilola Taylor

Achieving acquittal of one defendant wrongly accused of the murder

Dome Robbery

Representing a defendant charged with what was described as “the largest and most audacious attempted robbery ever committed within the UK”

Euston Murder

Representing one of two defendants charged with murder and achieving a verdict of manslaughter

Historical sexual allegations

Representing relative of a celebrity and successfully achieving an acquittal of allegations which were historical in nature by some 20 years

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