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Sunday 8 December 2013

Christopher Booker – Trousers Still Alight

The row over the Italian woman sectioned under the Mental Health Act whose baby was then delivered by Caesarean Section and taken into care continues, stoked by another column of careful fact selection and blatant dishonesty from Christopher Booker, still given a platform for his rantings by the Sunday Telegraph, despite his being proved so wrong on so many occasions.
Just as trustworthy as he ever was

And the first thing that comes clear from Booker’s latest article is that, far from showing any regret at being shown to have lied and misled last week, he carries on as if he was in the right, and that none of the criticism happened. “Judge must unravel saga of baby snatched from womb” he announces grandly. Lord Justice Munby “must” do no such thing. He doesn’t work for the Barclay Brothers.

As with other Booker social worker bashing cases, we hear only from the mother of the child, who was, at the time, seriously unwell, something upon which Booker chooses not to dwell. Nor does he make it clear that Essex County Council was not the body which applied for the enforced Caesarean, something that it cannot in any case request. This was done by the NHS Trust treating the mother.

Then comes fresh dissembly: a report suggesting “the mother should be given ‘a fair chance’ of being treated for her condition in a mother-and-baby unit, allowing her child to stay with her. This point was not even considered by the court”. Judge Newton made this observation earlier this year: “It might have been in the mother's interests but I think the mother, today, would understand that it would not have been in [the child’s] interests for that to have occurred”.

Booker says that the mother “was escorted by two hospital managers back to Italy” Judge Newton doesn’t quite see it that way: “I am critical of the doctors because it appears to me that she was despatched (indeed escorted) from the UK with undue haste simply because she wished to go back to Italy”. It was her choice.

Booker makes light of the possibility that the mother may not take her medication in future. Judge Newton: “There had been proceedings in Italy and they were continuing in 2012, the documents show, and the situation when the mother has not taken her medication is that she has had a number of very intrusive paranoid delusions”. There is previous here that Booker is not telling his readers about.

And that isn’t all Booker isn’t telling. Judge Newton again: “The mother ... has had problems with her mental health. There have been admissions to psychiatric hospitals in Italy and of the three admissions of which I am aware one was voluntary and two were enforced”. Her two other children were cared for by her parents, not voluntarily, but after court orders in Italy. Readers don’t get that information, either.

Christopher Booker is still a disgrace to his profession. No change there, then.

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