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SolicitorRM, Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 4812
Experience:  Director and Principal Solicitor. UK
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This is half family law/ half criminal law question.

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Hi, this is half family law/ half criminal law question. Enquiring on behalf of someone else.
A family member is on the DBS Barred list (form working with children) due to being convicted of an "automatic barring offence." He was convicted of statutory rape in 2007 and sentenced to 20 months, 10 years on sex offender's register and was permanently barred from working with children. He received a very lenient sentence for the crime and i believe this was because the judge saw he genuinely believed the victim was 18 (or at least 16) as they met previously at a pub and had been texting. upon being arrested, he admitted to the crime believing he hadn't done anything wrong (he's not very bright/ no qualifications/ grew up in care due to mother being a heroin addict and was in care herself due to sexual abuse- just to give you an idea of why he thought he had done nothing wrong at the time!)He is no longer on the SO Register. He has 6 children of his own. 5 are with his ex and she stopped him seeing them after they split and he met his new partner (with whom he had child number 6!) He is a good father and longs to see his 5 other children. we did the c100 last year and he now has an interim CAO to see them supervised every fortnight. Mother has not alleged anything other than financial and emotional abuse upon herself (no allegations of physical or sexual abuse- i'm just pointing this out due to his prior conviction!) He has other things on his record but no other serious crimes (mainly theft or damage to property and the last one was over 3 years ago- the longest he has stayed out of trouble. he has truly grown up and settled with this new partner.)The DRA hearing is coming up and it has crossed my mind that he may never get unsupervised contact if he is on the Barred list from working with children. is that right? he does live with 2 other children (daughter and stepson) and ex was fully aware of his conviction- visited him in prison and was aware he was on the register for 10 years whilst they were together, so she hasn't used his conviction against him at all, but has tried everything else to stop him seeing the children.I would also add he was not on the birth certificates and has done the c63 form. i understand PR is usually granted but not in cases where you have a conviction against a child? is this right? he is on the birth certificate of his new baby daughter with new partner now, but none of the 5 with his ex.I understand you can appeal being on the barred register but for crimes like rape there is almost no point? we have sent in the EX107 form to try to see with the judge's notes from the 2007 trial are available but i am aware that it has been so long that we might find no evidence of his lenient sentence. i thought perhaps if we found this, we could use this to try and appeal the DBS bar? he doesn't want to work with children but would like to see his own kids without the ex monitoring him. perhaps new partner (much to ex's disagreeing i'm sure) would "support" the contact? he cannot afford to do supervised (contact centre) forever.thanks for your time

Good afternoon. Thank you for your contact. I sm sorry to hear of your family member's plight. He has a very challenging situation and your understanding is quite accurate. With his own children and if the mother does not oppose and he has not reoffended or committed other offences in a while he could apply to have unsupervised contact, it is not a guaranteed never in all circumstances, it will be considered and Cafcass will also be involved and if they form the view that he is able to try they will give thr recommendation.

Yes it is worth trying to get the court transcript for his trial and the sentencing but it has been a long time you are right he may not get anything on record.

Again on PR if the mother does not dispute that he is the father it is not accurate to say he will never get PR, he just needs to present his case as best as possible to show rehabilitation and that he is on the straight and narrow now and genuinely wants to be a parent to his children.

At the DRA yes he can propose current partner being of assistance however like you say if the children's parents oppose it it may not be accepted.

Bot***** *****ne is he must have a very good witness statement and provide as much evidence as he can of the change in character and what he understands about having PR and commitment to his children, it will be for the judge to exercise their discretion and what is in the children's best interests will prevail. Any clarification please do not hesitate to send your follow up question. All the best

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thank you. I was just going to help him write a position statement regarding what sort of contact he is seeking (in line with cafcass recommendations). Would you recommend also showing evidence of him being a good parent etc with this? The DRA is remote and has only been given 1 hour. And mother is very difficult so I assume we will go to a final hearing after this one? As he currently has an order for supervised fortnightly contact, would this just continue? Or could he seek an amended compromise order? Like supported at a centre? But then ask to go to a final hearing to try and get overnights etc. Or would you just have to stick with the current order and wait for final hearing? Supervised is good in some ways as the mother then behaves and isn’t nasty towards him, but ultimately it is very expensive for him.Re PR, she does not dispute paternity but if she understood this means he gets more rights then she would 100% oppose it. Good to know it’s possible that he could get PR. Not much would change if he did but would be nice that he is officially recognised as the father.Oddly, Cafcass has asked him how many rooms he has and about overnights so he is hopeful this way be possible one day. Perhaps he should ask court for this to be a gradual thing?Do you think it’s best to put in position statement the most contact possible, so mother can compromise and he gets something decent? I think whatever he asks for, she will refuse so best to ask for more to start with and have her bring it down to less?Finally, not sure if you do criminal law but would you say his sentence for incredibly lenient?
Thanks for you time

Hi, a position statement would be good and his current wife can also do a supporting witness statement. If he has not had the supervised contact for a significant period I would not recommend rushing applying for variation of the order as sufficient time under supervision will also give Cafcass a good view of how he is with and around his children. They will ask for how many rooms he has as they would not sanction any arrangements that would result in overcrowding and as such they will want to start looking at how it would work practically with the children's ages and sexes but he should not read too much into this request as ir is quite early days. 1 hour for the DRA is quite long, so used wisely they will be fine.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thank-you.But the DRA is not a final hearing? If they can’t agree, there would be another hearing? DRA says it’s just before a legal advisor.And Do you know anything about sentence lengths?

The DRA is pre final hearing and its for parties to try and resolve issues amicably to avoid the final hearing.

Sentence lengths for what in particular please? If purely criminal it may be best to log that element separately so that two areas of law are not intermingled on the one thread- for ease of reference.

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Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Ok thanks.If they can’t agree , which I think is likely, will we be waiting months? He can’t afford to keep paying for supervised for much longer. Hopefully the court will see that and list the final hearing sooner?