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Saturday 13 June 2015

The Mail And Rebecca Minnock

The extent to which the press is prepared to insert itself into the legal process in the shameless pursuit of More And Bigger Paycheques For Itself Personally Now has been highlighted by the case of Rebecca Minnock, who had gone “on the run” with her three-year-old son after a court ruled that the child should live with his father. Now, Ms Minnock has handed herself in - not to the Police, but the Daily Mail.
Well, that’s not the form of words being used by Mail Online right now - the headline is “Mother on the run with her toddler son dramatically hands herself in after the Mail persuades her to contact the police and tearfully says: 'It wasn't fair to Ethan. He just had to go home’” - but it is what the front page of the print edition says. You think I jest? Here’s the shtick as available at your local newsagent.

IT’S OVER … Mum-on-the-run hands herself in to the Mail and says: I had to surrender for my little boy’s sake”. The names on the by-line, Emine Sinmaz and Stephen Wright, are identical on print and online edition. And the article goes to extraordinary lengths to suggest that the courts should overturn their decision - and allow the child to remain with his mother. So is the Mail interfering in the legal process?

Consider this: “a group of Mr Williams’s [child’s father] neighbours yesterday called for Miss Minnock to be given custody of Ethan. They made a series of allegations against Mr Williams and his conduct during the time he was with her and their split. In an open letter, the seven residents criticised the ‘unfair’ custody battle”. There’s more.

A close friend of Rebecca, who wished to remain anonymous said: ‘She’s a lovely girl and Ethan was always happy. She’s been let down. A mother takes care of their child from the moment they are born. Rebecca did nothing wrong as a mother or partner and the child should stay with her’”. Only as an afterthought are readers given the full picture.

As the BBC has reported, “In February, a district judge found [Ms Minnock] had fabricated allegations against Mr Williams in order to ‘frustrate contact’ between him and Ethan … A social worker reported that Ethan was not ‘emotionally safe’ with his mother”. Since she went on the run, her mother and on-off partner have both been jailed for lying in court about the pair’s disappearance.

The Daily Mail has form for sticking its bugle into child custody cases: Zelo Street regulars will recall the case of the Italian woman who was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and had her baby given up for adoption by a couple in the UK. With the assistance of the appalling fraud Christopher Booker, the paper produced a selective and highly creative picture of the woman’s circumstances in order to demonise the authorities.

By the Mail’s own admission, they were first contacted on Thursday by Ms Minnock, but kept their catch away from the Police while they milked the story. One can only wonder what the courts will make of that.


rob said...

Rather reminiscent of the NOTW getting involved with a missing schoolgirl and prefering their own detective work to that of the police and getting in the way.

Another case of the "press" thinking they are above the law or more probably the law doesn't apply to them unless they are journalists requiring the protection of Human Rights legislation?

Anonymous said...

Very similar to the 'child taken from parents who smoked' story a couple of weeks ago. Its all Grade A BS which keeps the demand for blood pressure medication up.

Anyone who has been through a child custody battle will know what a grim process it can be. If this had been the father running away I bet he would have been an'evil abductor'.

Arnold said...

"She took off after it was ruled she was obstructing access to her son after she made ‘false’ allegations about his father."
Note the quote marks. Who needs courts when we have the Daily Mail?

SteveB said...

meanwhile, no sign of Dacre in the Honours List. And he wonders why.....

Brian Higgy said...

It looks as though the Mail has been played. This from the Guardian:-
"Judge Stephen Wildblood QC said Minnock, who handed herself in to police on Friday, had attempted to manipulate the media by going into hiding and allowing details of her bitter custody battle to be made public."