Nick Goodwin KC in Nottingham City Council v AZ & Ors [2023] EWHC 3513 (Fam)

2nd May 2024 | Cases

Nick Goodwin KC, instructed by Jackson Quinn solicitors, led Stephen Williams of St Mary’s Chambers in Nottingham City Council v AZ & Ors [2023] EWHC 3513 (Fam); a fact-finding in care proceedings concerning in allegations that a father abused his daughter. Nick appeared for the Second Respondent father.

On 31 October 2022, the Second Respondent’s 16 year old daughter (DZ), reported to the police that she had been beaten by her father with a belt and systematically raped by him since the age of 10. A subsequent medical examination found past injuries to the hymen that ‘were consistent with the history given’. The father made no admissions and was arrested. The mother admitted that DZ had told her about the rapes but later retracted this. On 2 November DZ was placed in to foster care at her own request because she feared that her mother could not protect her. 

After being subjected to pressure from her family, DZ retracted all allegations, claiming that she lied because she was angry because her father was too strict. DZ later admitted to her foster carer that her allegations were in fact true.

Against this muddled history of admissions and retractions the court had to decide which version of events was most likely. Although certain aspects of DZ’s allegations seemed unlikely, namely, that the father had been able to rape her over many years while living in a small, cramped property without arousing the suspicions of either the mother or teenage brother, the court found the alternative version of events offered by DZ; that she met a boy at her school gates who gave her a sex toy so that she could damage herself and then blame her father, verged on the ‘ridiculous’. Allegations found to be true. 

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