After what my son and I went through, I support greater press access to the Court of Protection

Our writer's severely autistic son Steven was illegally deprived of his liberty. In this account of the ordeal, he explains why the press were instrumental

Share

I support calls for the press to be given more access to report more openly the cases that are heard in the Court of Protection.

In 2011 I was involved in the much reported case Neary vs Hillingdon. I originally approached the media for coverage of our case out of sheer desperation. At the time, my son Steven was under an unlawful deprivation of liberty authorisation and I had been unable to secure legal representation.

As the subsequent judgement of Justice Peter Jackson revealed, I was thwarted at every turn by Hillingdon in trying to challenge their authorisation, which I knew was inherently flawed. My approach to the press was never about publicity seeking; I was trying any means I could find to enable my son to return home.

Justice Jackson declared that because the case was already in the public domain it could be reported openly with a few minor exceptions. Subsequently, the case made the front pages of several newspapers.

I believe the media coverage has had absolutely no negative impact on Steven or me whatsoever. I had been warned of the dangers but have encountered nothing but total professionalism and enormous empathy in all my dealings with the press and media. I can only think of positives that have come from it.

Since the judgement was made public, I have been contacted by many people in similar situations who have said they were inspired to become more knowledgeable and stand up for their family member’s rights.

I have been invited to speak at numerous events and have been delighted to see what far reaching impact the judgement has had. For example, the judgement is now used on several social workers degrees as valuable learning. Best interest assessors – who monitor someone when they have been deprived of their liberty – use the guidance of Justice Jackson to improve their practice and supervisory bodies use the judgement to shape their policy. If this was an anonymous case I doubt it would have been so widely picked up.

My own belief is that by not being anonymised, the public and professionals have been engaged by the human story that Steven and I represent. This wouldn’t have happened without the skill of the writers who have presented our case.

I have worked hard to shield Steven from any intrusion to his day to day life, as being autistic, routines and stability are very important to him. I have encountered nothing but respect from the press in making this happen.

To conclude, I just wish to reiterate that the involvement of the press and media in our case has been overwhelmingly positive and has opened up very important issues for discussion that have had far reaching consequences to many people with learning disabilities and the people who care for them, both personally and professionally.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Read Next
Former N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos gives a statement outside Southwark Crown Court after her trial  

It would be wrong to compare brave Tulisa’s ordeal with phone hacking. It’s much worse than that

Matthew Norman
The Big Society Network was assessed as  

What became of Cameron's Big Society Network?

Oliver Wright
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn