A mother has been banned from speaking to the press about a judge’s decision to put her baby into the care of her father and his partner.
The court order preventing the mother from speaking out about the decision, which has been reported on the front page of today’s Daily Mail, has been described as “totally disproportionate”.
The newspaper quotes Liberal Democrat candidate John Hemming as saying: “How will it benefit the child to gag the mother? It benefits the court because it stops her from criticising the court.
“For people to understand and trust the workings of the courts they need to know what is going on.”
Judge Alison Russell ruled in the family division of the High Court that the mother should not be allowed to keep the child after an alleged surrogacy deal with the two gay men – one of whom was the biological father – broke down, according to the Mail. Russell described the mother as “homophobic”.
The ruling was made public yesterday, the Mail reports, but Russell made an order banning the woman from speaking about the case.
Conservative candidate Dominic Raab said: “It is a cardinal principle of British justice that justice is not just done but seen to be done. In this case the reporting restrictions are totally disproportionate.”
A friend of the mother, who asked to be known as Tom, told the Mail they were willing to face prison for contempt of court by speaking to the paper.
They are quoted as saying: “She is frustrated by the fact that she can’t speak out. She told me that if I speak out I could go to prison and I said ‘so be it’. If you don’t stand up against this kind of thing it will get worse and worse and worse.
“I think Ms Justice Russell wants to make a name for herself, and say ‘oh look, a gay couple are just as valid as parents as a heterosexual couple and that it is better for the child to be with a gay couple than a single mother’ – and she wants to have her name attached to that.
“The judge does not want the press to know, she wants to gag the mother. But luckily for her she has friends like me.”