Forensic Analysis

UK Deported American Mother to adopt her American / Irish Son

In Prison from December 2011 until September 2013 – without Contact between them

Judgement Published by John Hemming MP[1]

American Mother and Son born in Ireland

Melissa Laird was born in Northridge, County Los Angeles on 14th November 1969. She came to the UK as a student in 1994 and overstayed, before she moved to Ireland in 2004, in search of her biological Irish father Daniel Carver. On 30th August 2007 she gave birth to her son Sebastian.

For emotional reasons regarding her family roots, she also used other names. Coming back to the UK as Marilyn Carver, Barnet Social Services were alerted by a Jewish agency and carried out various assessments, claiming that the mother did not have sufficient parenting skills. They recommended care and adoption. Barnet County Court also issued an eviction order for 16 May 2011 – supposedly for rent arrears – even though the Council were paying rent. To prevent eviction and losing her son, Ms Laird relocated to Spain on 15 May 2011 and thus terminated her status as overstayer again.

Not to be Disclosed to the Mother

On 16 May 2011 a Court hearing took place in her absence. Barnet Court does not disclose this document because it has the direction “Not to be disclosed to the mother. Used for her relocation.”

Arrest in Spain

When taking her son to hospital in December 2011, she was arrested by the Spanish Police, accused of having abducted a child. This was based on a Prohibitive Steps Order that was put in place in December 2011 following a Care Order that does not appear to be genuine. It seems to be intended to create the impression that the child was in the care of the Local Authority which was not the case.

After Melissa was tricked into signing an extradition order – in Spanish – Barnet Council placed the then 4-year old boy into care with foster parents, while she was remanded in HMP Holloway after 12 days in a Spanish prison.

Guilty of ‘Abducting a Child’

By denying her identity, she hoped to regain access to her child, for which she obviously holds parental responsibility. But her lawyer advised her to plead ‘guilty’ and she served her sentence by 30th June 2012. Thus she became a ‘foreign national criminal’, to be deported by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). UKBA held her on ‘immigration issues’ until Sept 2013. Two bail applications were refused and she never saw her son – contrary to all international and national laws.

Suffering from arthritis, Melissa relied on a wheelchair and had keyhole operations whilst in HMP Holloway. But eventually she was deported without ‘reception and rehabilitation.’

The Immigration Lawyer Nigel Leskin of Birnberg Peirce[1] withdrew her appeal against the order of deportation and told Melissa 5 minutes before the hearing there would be no prospect of success.

The Family Court refused an appeal because it was out of time, but the court had lost the application that was faxed from prison. Having had permission to appeal the ‘placement order – the prerequisite for adoption – she filed an application to ‘Restore the Appeal’. She has also filed an ‘Application for Contact’ with her son in another Court, which has not yet been responded to.

The Prison lawyer Aneesha Bhunjun of Wainwright Cummins & Co[1] has been talking about lodging a Judicial Review since January 2013, without doing it.

Finding a Family Lawyer has been extremely difficult and unsuccessful.

At the US Embassy, an official has proven to be most helpful and supportive after initial difficulties, but he was replaced.

Australia’s scandal of forced adoptions is happening here in Britain[1] describes the context in which Melissa’’s case is taking place. It is the article in The Telegraph on 23rd March 2013 about the apology of the Australian Prime Minister to mothers, children and families.

The treatment of Melissa Laird as a mother who has been separated from her child is contrary to

In summary:

Barnet Council is guilty of

  • assuming jurisdiction over an American citizen and her American / Irish boy after they had left the UK
  • using an European Arrest Warrant based on a seemingly not valid Prohibitive Steps Order
  • keeping a child and making him available for adoption against the mother’s explicit will.

They have also violated

The Family Court is responsible for sanctioning the separation by

  • having violated the Human Rights Act 1998: Article 6, the right to a fair trial;
    • she filed an Application for Contact with her son at Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court but the Court can’t trace it;
    • she filed an Application to Restore her Appeal against a Placement Order after her first appeal got lost by the Court.

UK Border Agency is responsible for:

  1. Keeping her for ‘excessive detention’ and not having moved her to a ‘detention centre
    1. She could have found appropriate legal representation.
    2. She could have dealt with her family case appropriately.
    3. Her deportation order was carried out in a way that needs to be addressed in a hearing scheduled for 05 December 2013. This hearing is the result of:
      1. An Application for Judicial Review by Barrister Tom Bahja which was refused
      2. Three Notices of Renewal by the Association of McKenzie Friends.

HMP Holloway is guilty of having violated

  • the Human Rights Act 1998: Article 3, the prohibition of torture. As examples for extremely cruel treatments of her and other mothers:
  1. I saw bruises on her wrists, after she was ‘dragged like a dog’ in her chains.
  2. On the way to the hospital, she was told: ”there is nothing wrong with you” and “I pity your mother, you should never have been born.”
  3. She had to go on a 62-day hunger strike to get an apology from the Governor for not having produced her in court.

It is well known and documented that the separation of children from their mothers is a serious trauma and nearly all adopted children not only suffer from their adoption, but also look for their biological parents. This is leaving aside the high likelihood of children being abused in care.
See Pound Pup Legacy[1].

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