25 May 2017
Dear Madam / Sir,
FOR PUBLICATION IN SUNDAY / DAILY TELEGRAPH LETTERS SECTION
Christopher Booker writes that putting “a gifted child in a psychiatric unit is madness” (20 May 2017), and is unable to contemplate how such “madness” could be permissible within the principle of putting a child’s welfare first. If he had read the judgment in the case he was writing about, which describes the serious harm the child suffered at the hands of his parents, he might have been able to at least contemplate why tough decisions had to be taken on the child’s behalf. Mr Booker is, as ever, entitled to express his opinion – but this would be more likely to have a shred of credibility if it bore some relationship to the actual facts of the case, and if it were not dressed up as incontrovertible truth. It is irresponsible to worry parents with misleading half stories that some awful Kafka-eseque and inexplicable nightmare may befall their own family. If Mr Booker has confidence in his opinions he ought to be fearless in acknowledging and linking to the judgments in the cases he describes, so that readers can form their own opinion. The judgment in relation to last week’s column is called H (A Child), Re (Interim Care Order : fact finding)  EWHC 518 (Fam) and like many other Family Court judgments, it can be read for free by anyone at www.bailii.org. Either Mr Booker hasn’t bothered to check or he has chosen to ignore this judgment. Neither reflects well on him. A subsequent judgment post dates the article but covers the events described. Also freely available online is the IPSO Editors Code of Practice, on which Mr Booker might do well to refresh his memory; Section 1 imposes a duty not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information.
Lucy Reed, Sarah Phillimore, Dr Julie Doughty
Chair and trustees of The Transparency Project (Charity no 1161471).