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aruna
08-02-2015, 07:52 AM
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/james-rhodes-how-the-pianists-legal-battle-to-stop-the-injunction-of-his-memoirs-showed-him-how-the-law-can-punish-the-innocent-10273617.html

This story left me stunned. How can this be right? The book was commissioned by Cannongate and ready to go to print.



Further, in addition to pulling the book, there was to be a potentially indefinite gagging order imposed that would stop me from speaking or writing in any medium anywhere in the world about the following:
1. Graphic and detailed accounts of the sexual abuse I had suffered and the lasting harm it had caused me (physical, emotional and mental);
2. Accounts of my serious mental health issues as an adult (including periods of treatment as an in-patient);
3. Details of my treatment for those mental health issues;
4. Accounts of my self-harming;
5. Accounts of my suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.
It was made clear that my past history of sexual abuse and mental illness was so abhorrent, shameful and “toxic” (their word) that it should never be talked about except privately with close friends; and that, as far as the world at large was concerned, my past should in effect cease to exist.


Luckily there was a happy end for the book ... but what a hassle, and what an expense, for nothing! And for the author, the end wasn't so happy:

Before all this started, I was happier than I had been in years. I was engaged to the woman of my dreams, fulfilled in my career and friendships. I smiled at people on the Tube, and woke up excited at life. By the time of the final court hearing, I was on anti-schizophrenic medication, with a shot immune system and an adrenal system on its knees. My Twitter and Facebook feeds were being monitored round the clock and anything the opposing lawyers felt was inappropriate (a generic tweet about free speech after the Charlie Hebdo atrocity, for example) led to instant threatening letters demanding their deletion.

Roxxsmom
08-02-2015, 07:58 AM
This does seem bizarre. I can see a gag order being imposed on behalf of the accused molester, if there had been some kind of settlement where that was part of the deal, or if the case was still pending. I can see family members maybe being able to do this if they themselves were involved, and if the case is still pending or unsubstantiated, at least with regards to naming names (libel and slander laws).

But how can someone completely uninvolved in the case (an ex wife) who didn't even know this man when he was victimized bring a case on behalf of a person who didn't even exist (his son) when he was victimized? That makes no sense at all and seems a violation of free speech at the very least. The precedent is appalling--members of families that don't believe in public discussion of painful matters can restrict a person's speech about a traumatic event or mental illness, even if they themselves were completely uninvolved.

I don't think this ruling could happen in the US, but clearly the UK doesn't have the same laws as we do in this regard.

Bolero
08-02-2015, 03:21 PM
UK law is complex, involves a lot of precedent and there is no underlying overarching constitution like there is in the US. If you read the full article, you can see that the initial ruling against him was finally over-ruled. But sometimes it seems to be a game of finding old laws and applying them in a new way - which is what it looks like was done here. Cases like this can finish in front of the law lords - and they rule on points of law. As I understand it from documentaries, it is not about whether it is fair or right, but what the law says. And there is a massive amount of it going back centuries. I think that the law lords and senior judges can also make comments about their judgement - along the lines of we have to rule this way because it is the law but.....
Also, in cases like this, when a new precedent may be established to the detriment of many, you get bodies with an interest joining in, helping with the cost (as happened).
And new laws can be passed and old laws struck off the books - takes a bit of doing but where laws are clearly out of date, big loop holes, considerable unfairness, things do get changed. Not immediately but it does happen.

I'm no expert, mostly know things from documentaries and seeing the news, so someone may be along shortly to give a better comment.

Once!
08-02-2015, 06:27 PM
We do tend to like to cast people as either heroes or villains, don't we? There doesn't seem to be room for anything in between. It's black or white, good guy or bad guy, saint or sinner.

I think (hope) we would all agree that the author has rights. He has rights to tell his story within the legal definition of freedom of speech. Although it's a moot point now, he should have had a right not to have been abused in the first place.

But the people around him also have rights. His ex-wife believed that she had a right to protect their son from material in his book. We can't really comment on that without having read the book, or knowing the background. But in principle she might have a point. The UK does not have an unlimited freedom of speech - we also have laws to protect people from the impact of other people's freedom of speech.

This is an instance where one person's rights appear to overlap and contradict someone else's. And that is what we have a legal system for - to listen to both sides fairly and impartially and to come to a reasoned judgment.

The ex wife took the case to court, as she has every right to do. She sought an appeal against the original judgment - again as she has every right to do. While the case was proceeding, this author was not allowed to release information about the case, which is a perfectly understandable and reasonable thing for the court to do.

So where is the scandal? Two differing points of view were considered by the legal system and a decision made. We can't possibly comment on the rights and wrongs because we haven't heard the evidence or read the book.

What I dislike about this story (and many like it) is that people are so quick to form a judgment about right and wrong when they don't understand the full facts of the case.

A terrible thing happened to this author as a child and he is asserting his right to tell the world about it. But it is a little disquieting that his arguments are all about his rights and the inconvenience and pain he is suffering. I don't detect much thought about what his son might be going through, or why his ex-wife brought the action in the first place.

The law is simply doing what the law is there to do - weighing up two opposing views and coming to a decision.

Pony.
08-02-2015, 07:06 PM
One thing i noticed reading the article he mentioned that opposing lawyers had contacted him directly, over here thats something of a no-no. If he had representation communication should have gone through them. Over here he could have a case for undue and intentional emotional distress and harm. Plaintiff lawyers have no standing to police his actions. If they notice something questionable they should have alerted the court and then defense lawyers and the court should enforce the injunction.

shadowwalker
08-02-2015, 07:06 PM
As sympathetic as I am to the author, I have to agree with Once! in general. The problem was not the legal system; it did exactly what it was meant to do - heard both sides and made a decision. And unfortunately, ridiculous and retaliatory lawsuits are pursued in the US as well, and obscure and outdated (but still on the books) laws are also used in the US to further one's cause. As I read through the article, I kept watching for the outrageous actions of the government or courts, to see how on earth they could stop this book - and then got to the end to find out that the system had indeed done its job and the book was published. I can understand his reaction and frustrations (stress and mental illnesses do not work well together) but the system worked.

Bolero
08-02-2015, 09:10 PM
Thank you to Once! and Shadowwalker - very clear statements with which on reflection I completely agree.

Jamesaritchie
08-02-2015, 09:12 PM
As sympathetic as I am to the author, I have to agree with Once! in general. The problem was not the legal system; it did exactly what it was meant to do - heard both sides and made a decision. And unfortunately, ridiculous and retaliatory lawsuits are pursued in the US as well, and obscure and outdated (but still on the books) laws are also used in the US to further one's cause. As I read through the article, I kept watching for the outrageous actions of the government or courts, to see how on earth they could stop this book - and then got to the end to find out that the system had indeed done its job and the book was published. I can understand his reaction and frustrations (stress and mental illnesses do not work well together) but the system worked.

If the system worked, none of this would have happened. When the system abuses an individual, when a system costs them thousands of dollars, plus a lot of time, it is not working just because it eventually reaches the right decision. Thinking that it does work is why we have so many abuses of power. For a system to work, it must leave the innocent alone, and reach the right decision before abusing anyone. This is not difficult. It is, unfortunately, certain to mean a lot of people won't make any money off the abuses.

Underdawg47
08-02-2015, 10:37 PM
I hate censorship of any kind. If a person had been abused as a child, he should have the right to tell the world in detail what he had to endure. Being told that you can't tell anyone is just more abuse for the victim. If his ex wife doesn't want her son to read the book, then that is her responsibility to keep it from his eyes. If the son wants, he can read the book once he becomes an adult. I don't see a problem here. The world is full of evil and ugly to hear about, but hiding the truth is not the answer.

shadowwalker
08-02-2015, 10:55 PM
If the system worked, none of this would have happened. When the system abuses an individual, when a system costs them thousands of dollars, plus a lot of time, it is not working just because it eventually reaches the right decision. Thinking that it does work is why we have so many abuses of power. For a system to work, it must leave the innocent alone, and reach the right decision before abusing anyone. This is not difficult. It is, unfortunately, certain to mean a lot of people won't make any money off the abuses.

You seem to be thinking that it was "The System" that tried to prevent publication. It was not. It was his ex-wife. The courts cannot decide who can bring a suit - only if the suit has merit (which in this case, it was decided at the very beginning it did not). Once that obscure law was brought into play by the ex-wife's attorneys, the courts had to hear their arguments and make a new determination - which they did.

For the system to work, it must hear both sides of the story and then determine who "the innocent" party is. That's what makes it so difficult for many to understand - there is no pre-determination as to who the innocent are, regardless of blogs or headlines.

Ravioli
08-02-2015, 10:57 PM
I can't believe a person is stopped by the high court from telling their story, because someone uninvolved - who as such should have no rights to the matter other than having an opinion - is feeling butthurt. Boohoo sensitivities, it ain't her story.

THAT is the scandal. That I cannot tell my story because someone thinks their uninvolved ass should have a say in my biography, and that the high court agrees with said uninvolved ass. If the kid can't deal with it, boohoo again. None of anyone's business but the author's and the perpetrator's. Now victims can't speak freely about what happened to them anymore? Wonderful. Let's shut down half the internet because people whose business it ain't, might get uncomfy.

Lillith1991
08-02-2015, 11:25 PM
I can't believe a person is stopped by the high court from telling their story, because someone uninvolved - who as such should have no rights to the matter other than having an opinion - is feeling butthurt. Boohoo sensitivities, it ain't her story.

THAT is the scandal. That I cannot tell my story because someone thinks their uninvolved ass should have a say in my biography, and that the high court agrees with said uninvolved ass. If the kid can't deal with it, boohoo again. None of anyone's business but the author's and the perpetrator's. Now victims can't speak freely about what happened to them anymore? Wonderful. Let's shut down half the internet because people whose business it ain't, might get uncomfy.

Uh, they ruled in the guy's favor the first time. Of course they're going to say the book can't be published during the time they're actually hearing the case, because the book is the issue in question. The ex-wife executed a legal but assholish right, and it was their duty to determine whether she had legal standing to do so. It ain't their fault her and her lawyer tried for a second time and used an obscure law to back themselves up.

Ravioli
08-03-2015, 12:06 AM
Uh, they ruled in the guy's favor the first time. Of course they're going to say the book can't be published during the time they're actually hearing the case, because the book is the issue in question. The ex-wife executed a legal but assholish right, and it was their duty to determine whether she had legal standing to do so. It ain't their fault her and her lawyer tried for a second time and used an obscure law to back themselves up.
Okay I admit I find the article very confusing. What right was it again that the ex-wife executed? Because I've never heard anyone being able to put a lid on other peoples' stories.

Lillith1991
08-03-2015, 12:49 AM
Okay I admit I find the article very confusing. What right was it again that the ex-wife executed? Because I've never heard anyone being able to put a lid on other peoples' stories.

The right to protect her child of course. A parent in Brittain can apparently bring a case against someone if they feel something the person is doing will bring harm to their child or has harmed their child. Since the author in question is the child's father and had already spoke extensively about his experience prior to getting the book deal, the mother was able to say that the book on top of everything else would in some way harm him.

Let me make this very clear. Much as I feel for him and all the stress this has caused him. The ex-wife has the right to do this. It is an asshole thing for her to do, but she has the right. Kids of parents famous for being victims of the kind of thing this guy is the victim of or of murder, there's no way to sheild them completely from all the asses in the world who would use what happened to their parent to harm them. We don't know if his son was already being asked questions or threatened in regards to things involving his father, and we can only speculate on what prompted the insane reaction by the ex-wife. But we do know that the court felt it had enough merit to be heard, and part of that merit was him being the boys dad. The case wouldn't have made it to the hearing stage otherwise.

And in the end, the man won both times and the court was seemingly disgusted by what the ex was trying to do.

shadowwalker
08-03-2015, 01:10 AM
Because I've never heard anyone being able to put a lid on other peoples' stories.

Well, actually, they do it all the time in cases of libel. This wasn't the case here, of course, but you've lived a very sheltered life if you'd never heard of it. And, again, they were not able to put a lid on it, except during the time it was being adjudicated. ie, not prevented, only postponed.

Once!
08-03-2015, 11:05 AM
Okay I admit I find the article very confusing. What right was it again that the ex-wife executed? Because I've never heard anyone being able to put a lid on other peoples' stories.

The trick, as usual, is to try to see both sides of the story. We don't yet know the full details as we have only heard his side. The ex-wife's account hasn't yet come out, and may never come out. So can we construct an explanation for the ex-wife's point of view where we might have some sympathy for her?

What if the book is especially graphic, it is being published under the man's real name and his son is very young, let's say of school age? The ex-wife could be worried that the son would be teased at school, for example. Or that he might read things about his father which could upset him. For all we know, the author might use his story to talk about his relationship with his son and/or ex-wife. They may be characters in this story. And we all have rights not to be libeled or slandered. We also have a right to be protected from harm.

I don't know. None of us do. We are just guessing. All we have seen is a very angry blog post from the author who seems to have difficulty in seeing the other side of the argument.

Once!
08-03-2015, 11:10 AM
If the system worked, none of this would have happened. When the system abuses an individual, when a system costs them thousands of dollars, plus a lot of time, it is not working just because it eventually reaches the right decision. Thinking that it does work is why we have so many abuses of power. For a system to work, it must leave the innocent alone, and reach the right decision before abusing anyone. This is not difficult. It is, unfortunately, certain to mean a lot of people won't make any money off the abuses.

And how does the legal system know who is innocent without hearing evidence? That evidence unfortunately costs money to collect and present to a court, but that's how the legal system works. Individuals are allowed to bring actions against each other.

The system hasn't abused anyone. It has done what it is supposed to do.

Emily Winslow
08-03-2015, 02:08 PM
What if the book is especially graphic, it is being published under the man's real name and his son is very young, let's say of school age? The ex-wife could be worried that the son would be teased at school, for example. Or that he might read things about his father which could upset him.

I don't follow this at all. You might as well be saying that no parent should be allowed to be a public figure in case their kids might be teased or made uncomfortable. So... no parent can run for office? No parent can become famous acting in a film or on TV? Protest something? Keep a blog? Give me a break. "Your kid might be teased because of your public life" is not in any way legitimate legal grounds. We are all allowed to embarrass ourselves. Having a kid does not require someone to pretend to be neutral and inoffensive. If something is legal for a childless person, it's legal for a parent. Parents are still, first and foremost, their own people.

I understand that the court eventually agreed, but I'm shocked that the suit was even allowed to get that far.


For all we know, the author might use his story to talk about his relationship with his son and/or ex-wife. They may be characters in this story. And we all have rights not to be libeled or slandered. We also have a right to be protected from harm.

That is the only reason they should have any grounds at all. If that's what's going on, I wish it were more specifically described in the media, because that's an interesting point. What makes a story belong to one person over someone else?

I have now found more information:
https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2014-0251-judgment.pdf

From the supreme court judgment linked above:

A first draft of the book was sent to the publishers in December 2013. In
February 2014 it was leaked to the mother and some changes were made as a result,
including the use of pseudonyms for mother and child. The mother did not consider
that those changes had gone far enough....The causes of action alleged were misuse of private information,negligence and the intentional infliction of harm.

Later, the first two, misuse of private information and negligence, were negated by the court, leaving only intentional infliction of harm:


The child’s appeal was heard in August 2014 and judgment given in October:[2014] EWCA Civ 1277. The Court of Appeal held that there was no claim in misuseof private information or in negligence, but that the claim for intentionally causingharm should go for trial.

And the crux of that claim:


The mother has filed a report from Dr Christine Tizzard, a consultant child
psychologist who interviewed the child in June 2014. Her opinion was that he “is
likely to suffer severe emotional distress and psychological harm in the event that
he is exposed to the material in the publication”....In her view, the information
in the book would be inappropriate for any 11 year old child to read and have access
to, but it would be even more devastating for this child, because of his difficulties in
processing information.

Of course an 11 year old shouldn't be reading books with graphic depictions of rape, his father's or anyone else's. Was the mother planning to give him a copy? Is she claiming that the mere fact of its publication makes him reading it inevitable? When he's an adult he may well choose to read it, but I don't understand how an eleven year old would, supposedly inevitably, find himself reading this book in the first place.

Might he? Of course. Should we burn all adult books because a child *might* read them?

Many authors of, for example, erotic novels have children. E L James (Fifty Shades of Grey) has two teenaged sons. My crime novels are not appropriate for my nine-year-old to read. Should all parents of minor children be prevented from publishing anything but children's books?

Ah, here they agree that it is unlikely for him to read it:


Both parties accept that it is most unlikely that the child will come intopossession of the book itself. The publishers plan to publish it in hard copy in theUK and much of the rest of the English-speaking world, and to retail it in shops andon-line, but there are no plans at present to publish it in the USA.

(That's a shame about the USA. There is a detailed description of the structure of the book and it sounds really interesting, especially as it relates to music and his musical career.)


The father accepts that knowing what happened to him would upset andembarrass the child, but not that it will be harmful if dealt with in the right way andat the right time.

Agreed.


The mother is concerned that the child whois proud of his father, has “googled” him in the past. If he did so in future he wouldbe likely to come across reviews and references to the book.

So here we see pretty clearly that it's the content of the story, the revelation of the abuse itself, that is her main concern, not specific instances of the son being mentioned in the book.

And more here showing the same:


i) The book contained graphic descriptions of the abuse which theappellant had suffered and his incidents of self-harm.

ii) Those passages were likely to be quoted by reviewers or newspaperswho serialised the book.

iii) On the uncontradicted expert evidence those passages were likely tocause psychological harm to the claimant.

iv) The book was dedicated to the claimant and partly addressed to him.

v) The appellant knew of the risks posed to the claimant because of hisvulnerabilities and had for that reason subscribed to Recital K.

And the court response:



The book is for a wide audience and the question of justification has to beconsidered accordingly, not in relation to the claimant in isolation. In point of fact,the father’s case is that although the book is dedicated to the claimant, he would notexpect him to see it until he is much older. Arden LJ said that the father could notbe heard to say that he did not intend the book to reach the child, since it wasdedicated to him and some parts of it are addressed to him. We have only found onepassage addressed to him, which is in the acknowledgments, but morefundamentally we do not understand why the appellant may not be heard to say that the book is not intended for his eyes at this stage of his life.

Agree!

In sum:


Freedom to report the truth is a basic right to which the law gives a very highlevel of protection....It is difficult to envisage any circumstances inwhich speech which is not deceptive, threatening or possibly abusive, could giverise to liability in tort for wilful infringement of another’s right to personal safety.The right to report the truth is justification in itself. That is not to say that the rightof disclosure is absolute, for a person may owe a duty to treat information as privateor confidential. But there is no general law prohibiting the publication of facts whichwill cause distress to another.

Criticising the interim injunction:


The Court of Appeal recognised that the appellant had a right to tell his story,but they held for the purposes of an interlocutory injunction that it was arguablyunjustifiable for him to do so in graphic language. The injunction permitspublication of the book only in a bowdlerised version. This presents problems bothas a matter of principle and in the form of the injunction. As to the former, the book’srevelation of what it meant to the appellant to undergo his experience of abuse as achild, and how it has continued to affect him throughout his life, is communicatedthrough the brutal language which he uses. His writing contains dark descriptions ofemotional hell, self-hatred and rage, as can be seen in the extracts which we haveset out. The reader gains an insight into his pain but also his resilience andachievements. To lighten the darkness would reduce its effect. The court has taken editorial control over the manner in which the appellant’s story is expressed. A rightto convey information to the public carries with it a right to choose the language inwhich it is expressed in order to convey the information most effectively.

Even more emphatic:


The facts of this case are fully set out by Lady Hale and Lord Toulson inparas 1-30 above. I agree that the interlocutory injunction granted by the Court ofAppeal was flawed for two reasons. First, there should have been no injunction atall, because the claimant’s claim to restrain publication of the defendant’s book hadno prospects of success. Secondly, the terms of the injunction were flawed bothconceptually and procedurally.

I do think that it is morally important for authors to consider who will be affected by the publication of memoirs and the like. Consideration of these things, however, does not mean that someone else's potential distress automatically trumps everything else. It sounds like this author had considered his son, and considered him as a whole person who will one day be an adult.

The mother's view continues to confound me. According to the court documents, her main concern seems to be google results. Surely initiating this case has increased those results a hundredfold.

Sheryl Nantus
08-03-2015, 03:46 PM
The mother's view continues to confound me. According to the court documents, her main concern seems to be google results. Surely initiating this case has increased those results a hundredfold.

There might be a very good reason why she's the ex-wife.

As we've seen over the years, there's plenty of vindictive, angry ex-spouses that will do anything to manipulate the children and/or make the other spouse's life a living hell for no other reason other than the fact there *is* a divorce.

Sometimes there's no logic to these things at all.

Weirdmage
08-04-2015, 03:58 AM
Like Once! has said, we do not knpw the full story here. Yet people are blaming a vindictive ex-wife for what has happened...I find that a bit uncomfortable.
I have read a bit about the cycle of abuse, were those that have been abused themselves become abusers. What if the book contains this man writing about how he had the urge to abuse his son at when he reached the age he himself was abused? What if that was the reason his wife divorced him, to protect the son?

The justice system has done its job. Perhaps we should try not to judge when we do not have the evidence that means we can do so from a position of knowledge...

Liosse de Velishaf
08-04-2015, 05:04 AM
Like Once! has said, we do not knpw the full story here. Yet people are blaming a vindictive ex-wife for what has happened...I find that a bit uncomfortable.
I have read a bit about the cycle of abuse, were those that have been abused themselves become abusers. What if the book contains this man writing about how he had the urge to abuse his son at when he reached the age he himself was abused? What if that was the reason his wife divorced him, to protect the son?

The justice system has done its job. Perhaps we should try not to judge when we do not have the evidence that means we can do so from a position of knowledge...

I feel like that would have been a major feature of the article if true, though.

Perhaps attacking the wife is untoward, but her suit seems pretty silly to me, legally. I can't imagine any suit of that sort being pursued successfully. Although the apparent dedication to the son did strike me as rather odd.

raelwv
08-04-2015, 06:22 AM
I feel like that would have been a major feature of the article if true, though.

To be hyper technical I wouldn't call this an "article." Rather, it's a feature piece written by one of the parties involved. In other words, it's not written by a third party who would have a responsibility to examine both sides.

Just something to keep in mind.

T Robinson
08-04-2015, 07:41 AM
True Raelwv, but I think Emily did more research and did an excellent analysis of the case. I agree it may have started as a frivolous lawsuit and should have been resolved sooner. Citing a law from the 1800's for further appeal is a little much.

Emily Winslow
08-04-2015, 09:29 AM
Like Once! has said, we do not knpw the full story here. Yet people are blaming a vindictive ex-wife for what has happened...I find that a bit uncomfortable.
I have read a bit about the cycle of abuse, were those that have been abused themselves become abusers. What if the book contains this man writing about how he had the urge to abuse his son at when he reached the age he himself was abused? What if that was the reason his wife divorced him, to protect the son?

The justice system has done its job. Perhaps we should try not to judge when we do not have the evidence that means we can do so from a position of knowledge...

Actually, the link I provided contains a very detailed account of the content of the book (as summarised by the court), which is not in dispute. In it, "he is kind about his wife...and hard upon himself" and expresses worry that his son may experience difficulty in life, as he had a difficult life. There is nothing in the suit alleging that he was going to hurt his son or describes anything of that nature. He describes his own suffering as a child and self-harm as an adult.

Here, I'll repeat this quote from above:


i) The book contained graphic descriptions of the abuse which theappellant had suffered and his incidents of self-harm.

ii) Those passages were likely to be quoted by reviewers or newspaperswho serialised the book.


iii) On the uncontradicted expert evidence those passages were likely tocause psychological harm to the claimant.


Her concern is clearly over descriptions of the author's childhood abuse and adult self-harm, not over any descriptions of the child himself.

Raelwv, while the original article was indeed not neutral, the court document is, and long too! I'm disconcerted that this conversation is flowing forward as if I'd never shared it. I have no problem with disagreement; I'm just befuddled by the claims that there is no information. There's actually lots.

Thanks, T Robinson, for noticing that my contribution exists...

Once!
08-04-2015, 11:21 AM
I don't follow this at all.

...

I understand that the court eventually agreed, but I'm shocked that the suit was even allowed to get that far.

The mother's view continues to confound me. According to the court documents, her main concern seems to be google results. Surely initiating this case has increased those results a hundredfold.

The answers you are looking for are in the court judgement that you linked to. You now need to read that judgement seeing both sides of the story and not just picking out the bits that you agree with.

The mother brought this action to prevent what she saw as harm being done to a boy of 11 or 12. She didn't want to stop publication of the book. She wanted to remove her name and her son's name (which has been done) and to remove or tone down some passages. The court heard evidence about the potential harm that the book could do:


The mother has filed a report from Dr Christine Tizzard, a consultant childpsychologist who interviewed the child in June 2014. Her opinion was that he “islikely to suffer severe emotional distress and psychological harm in the event thathe is exposed to the material in the publication”

Their divorce included this agreement:


“And upon the parties agreeing to use their best endeavours to protectthe child from any information concerning the past previous history ofeither parent which would have a detrimental effect upon the child’swell-being”

So we are starting to get an appreciation of why the mother thinks the way she does. She is trying to protect a vulnerable 12 year old (now - he was 11 when she started the proceedings). Still confounded?

And yes the publicity around the case has increased, but not of her doing. She clearly felt that she had to bring the court case. The father has chosen to blog about it. One of the arguments was that the boy would not be able to find the book. I have to say I am unconvinced by that. Resourceful teenagers can usually get hold of things they are looking for. And it's not as if the book is the only thing that the child needs to be protected from. The father is already blogging about this - including the court case.

As to the legality, the judgement makes clear that this is not a straight-forward case. There is no unlimited right to free speech in UK Law. So the Supreme Court looked at case law and precedent. They decided that publication should be allowed. The key issue seems to be that the author had no intention of causing harm to his own son. It looks to be a good and thorough judgement - worth reading with open eyes.

When we look at the case in the round, surely we can find enough compassion in us to see all sides of the story? With the exception of the original abuser, we can feel some sympathy for everyone here.

Someone who has been abused wants to tell their story. He doesn't want his abuser to "win".

A mother wants to protect her child.

The law looks at all the evidence, weighs it against case law and precedent, and reaches a balanced and reasoned judgement. This judgement will itself form part of case law if similar actions are brought in the future.

There are two parts of this story that worry me and where I feel less sympathy. First, the father seems to be preoccupied with his own issues and does not seem to be taking account of the damage that could be done to his own son. Secondly, there a number of people who aren't seeing both sides of the story. They seem to want to have black and white heroes and villains.

This isn't a scandal. It isn't an instance where the "system" has failed us. It isn't an affront against freedom of speech - or a victory for freedom of speech. It's a sad little human tragedy where everyone gets hurt.

And I can't help feeling sorry that they weren't able to solve this through mediation rather than the courts. I would have hoped that a compassionate father could have negotiated suitable changes to the book or maybe to delay its publication until the child is older.

And that having won his court action, the father wouldn't write such an angry blog drawing attention to it.

Helix
08-04-2015, 11:36 AM
I bet Carter-Ruck* is involved in this.


*Not what Private Eye calls them.

Emily Winslow
08-04-2015, 12:13 PM
I appreciated the distinction between "distress" and "harm" that was discussed in the court papers.

It was agreed that learning this information about his father's experiences would "distress" the child. The mother felt that such distress was equivalent to harm. The father felt--and I happen to agree with him (and with the court)--that harm is something else altogether, and does not necessarily follow here.

In my opinion, learning that his father suffered something difficult and has found solace in music could be ultimately inspiring to him.


The answers you are looking for are in the court judgement that you linked to. You now need to read that judgement seeing both sides of the story and not just picking out the bits that you agree with.

I do see both sides. I happen to think that one side is wrong. By all means, let's discuss our differing points of view, but please don't accuse me of ignorance because I disagree with you. Thank you.

WeaselFire
08-05-2015, 01:30 AM
Keep in mind that this is in Britain, and they don't have a bill of rights. Also keep in kind that this isn't the entire story, just the part that works to get readers.

Jeff

KTC
08-05-2015, 03:46 AM
I hate censorship of any kind. If a person had been abused as a child, he should have the right to tell the world in detail what he had to endure. Being told that you can't tell anyone is just more abuse for the victim. If his ex wife doesn't want her son to read the book, then that is her responsibility to keep it from his eyes. If the son wants, he can read the book once he becomes an adult. I don't see a problem here. The world is full of evil and ugly to hear about, but hiding the truth is not the answer.

This times a thousand.

After hiding my own childhood sexual abuse for 33yrs, I refuse to be silent about it now. That woman is a total bitch in my opinion. I'm fact, that's not strong enough a word for me. But you know, I've experienced time and again the revictimizing of the victim. If she wanted her son to not read the book, that makes perfect sense. It should have ended there. Everyone can say the courts did what they should have... They followed procedures, laws, what have you. The laws are set up to repeatedly assault victims of childhood sexual abuse. I know... I've been there. I almost lost faith in humanity when a man in his sixties repeatedly raped me when I was eleven. But I didn't. I lost my faith in humanity five years ago when I tried to finally deal with it. Everything is wrong with all courts everywhere where pedophiles and sexual abuse are concerned.

That woman can rot in hell.

KTC
08-05-2015, 03:53 AM
Like Once! has said, we do not knpw the full story here. Yet people are blaming a vindictive ex-wife for what has happened...I find that a bit uncomfortable.
I have read a bit about the cycle of abuse, were those that have been abused themselves become abusers. What if the book contains this man writing about how he had the urge to abuse his son at when he reached the age he himself was abused? What if that was the reason his wife divorced him, to protect the son?

The justice system has done its job. Perhaps we should try not to judge when we do not have the evidence that means we can do so from a position of knowledge...

The vampire syndrome is another thing us victims have to live with. Thanks for bringing it up! For fuck fuck fuck sake. Jesus


I have to leave this thread now.

Liosse de Velishaf
08-05-2015, 04:13 AM
I don't think we should be restricting the rights of parents. Any parent could have similar circumstances as far as being abused? Should we let the fact that they have children hinder them from talking about their abuse? No. People get abused all the time. We can't just refuse to talk about it because it might cause someone distress. Do I think the mother is a bitch? No. I just think she's wrong in this case. The father is not a bad person because he wanted to tell his story, the whole of his story. Again we are claiming that victims have less rights than any other class. Already the law in most countries gives those accused of a crime more rights than the victims. Now we want to add the victim's relatives? That's a very dangerous precedent to set.

Plus, if you really did read the reports, surely you read the conclusion that there should not have been an injunction. I think the man has the right to complain that the previous judgement abridged his rights.

Weirdmage
08-05-2015, 04:40 AM
I don't think we should be restricting the rights of parents. Any parent could have similar circumstances as far as being abused? Should we let the fact that they have children hinder them from talking about their abuse? No. People get abused all the time. We can't just refuse to talk about it because it might cause someone distress. Do I think the mother is a bitch? No. I just think she's wrong in this case. The father is not a bad person because he wanted to tell his story, the whole of his story. Again we are claiming that victims have less rights than any other class. Already the law in most countries gives those accused of a crime more rights than the victims. Now we want to add the victim's relatives? That's a very dangerous precedent to set.

Plus, if you really did read the reports, surely you read the conclusion that there should not have been an injunction. I think the man has the right to complain that the previous judgement abridged his rights.

I think he has a right to tell his story. But, he has no right to name his ex-wife or his son. They have the right of privacy, the right to not be forced to be a part of his story.-It's two peoples's rights against one person's rights, he loses in that case.

aruna
08-05-2015, 06:35 AM
I haven't read the book but I don't see where her privacy, or the son's, is an issue. The reason given for the injunction was not "privacy" but "hurt".

shadowwalker
08-05-2015, 10:21 AM
I don't think the wife was given "more rights". I think she was given her day in court, and the end result was the right for the book to be published. Courts can't decide on emotions; they have to decide based on law. They have to be impartial - at least until the decision is handed down.

Ravioli
08-05-2015, 02:36 PM
My memoir contains things others would deem shameful. If my future kids get their hands on it and complain, I'll tell them, "Well my sweet honey badgers, mommy had a life before you, deal with it and finish your goddamn peas". Anyone bully them? I'll bully their parents. Anyone threaten them? War. But every chapter of my life is an achievement for the sheer number of times it could have ended, so I'm gonna wave that around like a trophy belt, f*ck all. My life isn't a dirty secret, it's tremendous story telling material and I'll be damned if I let all that grief go to waste.

Liosse de Velishaf
08-05-2015, 06:11 PM
I mean, I don't think they have a right not to be named, although it would be courteous of him to involve them as little as possible if that's what they want. However, that did not seem to be the point of the suit. The point of the suit seemed to be sections of the book having nothing to do with the wife or the son. If I'm wrong, please correct me, but otherwise don't make stuff up to argue against my point.

Ravioli
08-06-2015, 02:26 AM
I mean, I don't think they have a right not to be named, although it would be courteous of him to involve them as little as possible if that's what they want. However, that did not seem to be the point of the suit. The point of the suit seemed to be sections of the book having nothing to do with the wife or the son. If I'm wrong, please correct me, but otherwise don't make stuff up to argue against my point.
That's the thing, it seems to be all about icky parts of the book potentially traumatizing or otherwise scarring the kid. I do think people who haven't done anything to deserve being named, should have a right to be scrapped in such sensitive material.

aruna
08-06-2015, 07:35 AM
That's the thing, it seems to be all about icky parts of the book potentially traumatizing or otherwise scarring the kid. I do think people who haven't done anything to deserve being named, should have a right to be scrapped in such sensitive material.

Well, none of us have read the book so it's hard to judge... but the point is, the boy wasn't even born at the time of the abuse so how could he be named?
There is so much stuff out there that is potentially traumatizing or potentially scarring -- should we just ban everything that could harm the kids of the perpetrators or the victims? I mean, modern life on earth really is a walk through fire. Horrible things take place. I really do think about the kids (both of perpetrators and victims) when I hear, for instance, or horrible murders, or people who have been beheaded, or public figures exposed as being pedophiles/child abusers. I always think, how horrible for their families, especially the kids, and feel bad for them.

But isn't that just life? Can we really protect kids from knowing of these matters, or being damaged by them, in the internet age? I appreciate the protective instincts of the mother, but this is an adult book, and I don't see why she couldn't keep it out of his hands until he is older.

Weirdmage
08-07-2015, 03:51 AM
I mean, I don't think they have a right not to be named
Of course they have. Everyone has a right not to be named in someone else's story. Unless you are a public person you have the right to privacy. -I find that a fundamental principle, and I don't really agree with the UK policy of naming, and giving the location of, anyone suspected of a crime. (A policy that is different from what I'm used to from Norway, where you rarely see names before it's clear there will be a trial.)

Liosse de Velishaf
08-07-2015, 08:07 AM
Of course they have. Everyone has a right not to be named in someone else's story. Unless you are a public person you have the right to privacy. -I find that a fundamental principle, and I don't really agree with the UK policy of naming, and giving the location of, anyone suspected of a crime. (A policy that is different from what I'm used to from Norway, where you rarely see names before it's clear there will be a trial.)

Do you have some legal precedents for that?

Emily Winslow
08-07-2015, 09:50 AM
Do you have some legal precedents for that?

I don't know the legal precedents, but FYI I think in the legal doc it said that the names of the wife and son have been changed. (The abuse took place before the son was born; the author's self-harm I think after.)

Here it is: "the book...uses pseudonyms for both the mother and the child"

Ravioli
08-07-2015, 09:51 AM
Well, none of us have read the book so it's hard to judge... but the point is, the boy wasn't even born at the time of the abuse so how could he be named?

But how about the time of the writing, like "Today I look at my son Gaylord and realize everything happens for a reason, as my wife Ludmilla likes to say".


There is so much stuff out there that is potentially traumatizing or potentially scarring -- should we just ban everything that couldharm the kids of the perpetrators or the victims? I mean, modern life on earth really is a walk through fire. Horrible things take place. I really do think about the kids (both of perpetrators and victims) when I hear, for instance, or horrible murders, or people who have been beheaded, or public figures exposed as being pedophiles/child abusers. I always think, how horrible for their families, especially the kids, and feel bad for them.
I agree it's a cruel world, and nothing should be censored for pointless sheltering. I'm also in favor of publishing this particular book. But there's still a difference between looking at your father as an overt rape victim, and being aware of the general reality of rape. No details, but having a living rapist whom you're supposed to love and respect, in the family, I find more scarring than walking through an active war zone. Done both.


But isn't that just life? Can we really protect kids from knowing of these matters, or being damaged by them, in the internet age? I appreciate the protective instincts of the mother, but this is an adult book, and I don't see why she couldn't keep it out of his hands until he is older.
Yeah I wonder if it really matters at what age you get exposed to the filth of the world. I got exposed to the crush fetish at age 20+ and it took years to digest. I don't even think children are able to grasp the full depth and extent of things that happen to others. Take the Lion King for example. Kid: "Oh no, his daddy dies and his uncle is mean". Adult: "Oh shit, his dad was murdered, this uncle nearly murdered a helpless child, and instead made him believe he is to blame for his beloved daddy's death and will be hated even by his mom. He sets hyenas on him, but even though Simba survives, he will live with years of internal torment and guilt for killing daddy and making mommy sad."
I do think things that happen to the kid himself would be more intense and harder to get over.

Liosse de Velishaf
08-07-2015, 06:36 PM
I don't know the legal precedents, but FYI I think in the legal doc it said that the names of the wife and son have been changed. (The abuse took place before the son was born; the author's self-harm I think after.)

Here it is: "the book...uses pseudonyms for both the mother and the child"

Well, solves that problem, then.

Lillith1991
08-08-2015, 02:28 AM
Well, solves that problem, then.

Hardly. They were changed only after the mother kicked up a fuss about them during the first action brought against the book. The fact that the ex and the former couple's minor child were named directly in the book is what gave her the ability to go ahead with things the first time. It seems unlikely any reasonable person would've given her a chance if she hadn't been able to point out their names. Once the first case was done and the mother still didn't feel appeased, the guy was screwed just as badly as if he'd been assaulted again.

Weirdmage
08-08-2015, 04:56 AM
Do you have some legal precedents for that?

The UK Data Protection Act is one law that prevents giving out someone's personal information to anyone without approval of the person whose information it is.. Lots of other countries have similar protection.
I've worked in customer service for a utilities company in the UK. Because of the DPA we couldn't tell a spouse anything about their partner's account unless they were named. And that includes even confirming that they have an account. (Just gotten divorced, and is not on the utilities bill where you now live alone?, you need to send written evidence before we can do anything. )

It may be debateable whether or not this breaches laws like that, but I have seen enough examples that I think they do.
Another thing here is that it's a situation where one person's desires (to tell his story) goes against two other people's wish (the mother being the guardian speaks for the son legally) to not be mentioned. -For me it's a no-brainer that two people > more than one person when it comes to rights.

Ther is no absolute freedom of speech anywhere in the world. -I honestly find it fascinating that debates like this often descend into outrage against a perceived attack on that non-existent right.

Weirdmage
08-08-2015, 05:04 AM
Hardly. Once the first case was done and the mother still didn't feel appeased, the guy was screwed just as badly as if he'd been assaulted again.
You're equating child abuse with not being able to name people against their will... That is a "bit" of a stretch.

Lillith1991
08-08-2015, 06:06 AM
You're equating child abuse with not being able to name people against their will... That is a "bit" of a stretch.

No I'm not. I'm saying that the guy felt as if he was being assaulted again, which is clear by the level of emotion and the language he uses.

Also, note that I said "after the first case was done." If the woman had been truly concerned about the naming, she would've likely just left it at that. Going beyond the naming issue after she had gotten what she presumably wanted is more than a little vindictive.

Which is why I maintain as I said earlier in the thread, she has the right to protect her child and bring a suit in his name. She doesn't have the right to surpress the book entirely and she was going for nothing less than complete supression of the book in the second suit.

aruna
08-08-2015, 07:45 AM
That seems like a fair assessment of the case.

Liosse de Velishaf
08-08-2015, 08:35 AM
No, I meant once he removes their real names, I consider her argument no longer worth bringing further successful suit. I suppose she can keep applying to the courts if she wants, but I don't see what possible argument she could have once he removes her name.