Mrs Justice Pauffley, this time it’s personal.

Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work, ideas or family because if I did, I would have no time left to campaign against the secrecy and cruelty of the secret family courts. However, in this instance, I am prepared to make an exception as this is a matter of both public interest and of relevance to supporters of Fathers 4 Justice who might be going through the court system.

The Honourable Mrs Justice Pauffley has recently made a judgement relating to my family. Of particular interest are the comments by the Judge made about Fathers 4 Justice. As the founder of a campaign to which I have committed a decade of my life, I feel duty bound to not only respond to those comments, but to the direct request that ‘we’ (meaning my wife and I and in turn you) give up campaigning.

I am not going to tackle the explosive nature of this case in detail because of various injunctions imposed by the court against my wife and I which prohibit us from disclosing the details of this case, however I think supporters have a right to know that their involvement in Fathers 4 Justice, can influence their cases. Sometimes positively, sometimes negatively.

Judges have long protested their impartiality and that our campaign has no influence whatsoever in cases involving F4J supporters. Now, court transcripts and judgements reveal that nothing could be further from the truth.

The courts, NYAS and CAFCASS are systematically COPYING information from our Facebook and You Tube pages to use as EVIDENCE, before using sections of their judgements to attack the (new) campaign by Fathers 4 Justice.

The question for the Honourable Mrs Justice Pauffley DBE, is this: what relevance does Fathers 4 Justice have to do with a profoundly abusive and brutal 9 year residency dispute?

Based on the evidence I am to lay out before you, I have concluded that the courts are terrified that Fathers 4 Justice will expose cases like this, using our marketing and PR capabilities to shine the light of publicity into the darkest corners of British justice where the secret family courts hide.

Both the courts, NYAS and CAFCASS have been unable to respond to our repeated and legitimate requests for evidence to support their claims that they ‘act in the child’s bests interests’. The grim reality is that there is NO evidence, because shamefully, nobody has bothered to keep any records on the outcomes for children.

Thus the ‘child’s bests interests’ mantra is a grotesque, fraudulent and meaningless claim deployed as a smokescreen to protect the courts from greater scrutiny and accountability. The political aristocracy and public who have no exposure to the machinations of the courts because they are secret, are then led to believe ‘how can they not be acting in the child’s interests?’ The grim answer is this; when they are acting in their own self-interests.

How we care and treat our children is the yardstick for how we are judged as a society. In this, as in the catalogue of chilling cases where we have failed this country’s children, the failure in our duty of care to them is both systemic and criminal.

Here is my letter to the Judge.

FAO: Barry Clark
Clerk to the Hon Mrs Justice Pauffley DBE
Royal Courts of Justice
London WC2A 2LL

To the Honourable Mrs Justice Pauffley,

I am writing to respond to your recent judgement in a case that involves my family. The judgement, which is in turn both patronising and offensive, contains deliberate misrepresentations and malicious falsehoods about Fathers 4 Justice. Given you had previously protested F4J had no relevance to this case, I am astonished to read the comments contained in your judgement. Your remarks raise serious questions about your impartiality and that of the courts.

I shall tackle the relevant comments on a point by point basis as you have listed them in your order:

The involvement of the child herself in the re-invigorated Fathers for Justice campaign does her no good at all…it is wrong, quite wrong that the child should have been allowed to feature in newspaper articles and most recently of all in a television programme.”

Why is it wrong?

Because you say so?

Because you find it uncomfortable to see the children whose lives you have trashed staring back at you in the media?

Because you are frightened that they will expose you?

For the record, the child concerned has posed in one family photograph and one family photograph with our local MP. In both pictures she appeared alongside my other children. At no point has she been named.

Further, my two eldest boys played a full role in the formation and evolution of Fathers 4 Justice. After we were interviewed for the Evening Standard in 2003, Sally Field at the then Lord Chancellor’s Department wrote to me saying pretty much the same thing as you, but threatening me with contempt. My response? I wrote back to her suggesting she rearrange a popular Anglo-Saxon phrase which when translated meant ‘go forth and multiply.’

Since then, the boys have appeared with me on the GMTV sofa, in countless media interviews, contributed to my first book, are contributing to my second book and the film that’s in development. Has it been distressing for them? Absolutely not. Are they a little bit embarrassed that they are currently studying Fathers 4 Justice on the National Curriculum at school this term? Probably given that it involves their dad, but it illustrates the legacy this campaign has already left in its wake.

So why is it Mrs Justice Pauffley that children shouldn’t be able to express what has happened to them in secret courts and the impact this has had on them and their families? After all, the courts and organisations like NYAS profess to give every child ‘a voice’ so what’s the problem? Sorry, I forgot. In this case, the child was given no voice as she was deprived by you of the solicitor who was representing her voice in court.

It is outrageous for you to demand in your judgement, that I divorce my children from the reality of a struggle we have shared together. I enjoy the full support of my entire family including my first wife and if I were to take advice on such matters I would take it from them, not a Judge cowering behind such feeble excuses and the closed doors of the family courts whilst threatening parents with injunctions to silence them from speaking out.

If you are correct however in claiming that this publicity is damaging, I’d be grateful if you could direct me to the empirical evidence you are relying on to make this claim (as a Judge I am sure you must rely on evidence, not your own personal prejudice or conjecture). What damage could be done to children in such circumstances, given that if we were to apply your theory logically to the great and the good, the children and families of anyone in the public eye would be banned from view or discussion? I can only guess the damage you are concerned with, is that to your reputation and in this instance, rightly so. As Bentham said, publicity is the very soul of justice and that is why you fear it.

“…the best means of defending the integrity and cohesion of their family unit has been to attack those who pose a threat.”

OK, you’ve got me here. Hands up, guilty as charged your honour. Let me make a heartfelt apology for defending my family from those who as you say in your own words ‘pose a threat’. Clearly the last decade of campaigning has been a misguided attempt by me to not only protect my family from the grotesque, abusive and secretive system of family law you defend, but also protect and serve the tens of thousands of other families trapped in the system.

Nobody has anything to fear do they? Not the girl who has spent 9 out of her 10 years on God’s earth trapped in the secret family courts, nor her family who have been brutally and cruelly traumatised, not knowing what was going to happen to her from one month to the next, or the case of 11 year old Tim Forder who had his bedroom door smashed down by court tipstaff because he wouldn’t follow a judges order, or the thousands of other cases where mothers, fathers and children have been cannibalised into ever smaller pieces of cannon fodder for the adversarial battlefield that feeds the family justice machine.

Mrs Justice Pauffley, nobody threatens the welfare of my family and especially that of my young son Archie, and gets away with it. When my family is attacked, I will defend them.

And when you imply this is a campaign borne out of my recent experiences I should point out that F4J was conceived in 2002 when your courts sought to separate me from my two boys, three whole years before I had met my wife. I had hoped I could go back to a normal life but you and the authorities wouldn’t let it go. As I know from my dealings with Scotland Yard, neither they nor you could let it go, let sleeping dogs lie. No, you had to keep prodding, goading, threatening the welfare of my family.

You cast the die and you and everyone at NYAS and CAFCASS can face with the consequences. Actor Dougray Scott recently said about the family courts, “I’d like to put the people who made this system up against the fucking wall and shoot them.” There are reservoirs of resentment and anger spilling over in households across this country because of your courts.

“The O’Connor’s histrionic, even hysterical behaviour at court played out in front of the child.”

I assume that by this remark, you are referring to the incident where the NYAS case worker assaulted the child after removing her from the care of her parents? Again I apologise if we over reacted to this assault on a child by a NYAS officer who was already on record as advocating the use of physical force on the girl concerned in the event she refused to comply with the court order.

In an age where failing children has become systemic (Victoria Climbie, Khyra Ishaq, Baby P, where the UK came bottom of a UNICEF league for child well being out of 21 industrialised countries and where even this weekend the Guardian lamented the treatment of our children this time in jail as ‘the state authorisation of instutionalised child abuse” what investigation was deemed to be necessary in this incident?


It was brushed under the carpet with an eventual admission from the NYAS officer that she ‘had stroked the child’s hair’. If that were true, that in itself would constitute inappropriate behaviour, but yet again the omnipresent cloak of secrecy smothered any chance of investigation or justice. Our behaviour was one of any normal, loving parent reacting to the disgraceful assault of a child by a so called child care professional.

This thuggery on children and families is not the exception, rather it is the rule. Your assaults on families and children, both physical and emotional is endemic in the system. Like a 21st century Charles Dickens novel, cruelty and abuse are your stock in trade and barely a day goes past without yet more scrutiny and outrage:

On 16th June, there was an intrusive and intentionally intimidating incursion into a NYAS fundraising event by F4J / Matt O Connor accompanied by a film crew. Now there is the threat of an escalating new campaign during the summer before a series of “major events this autumn”.

What does this have to do with this case? What business is it of yours what I do? Sorry, it has now dawned on me; you believe my business will put you out of business.

“It is profoundly inappropriate and distressing that the child has been paraded in the media and also an infringement of her right to privacy and respect for family life”.

Here, Pauffley, you have crossed the Rubicon.

Sickeningly, you seek to lecture us as parents about ‘family life’ when for ten years you have tried to destroy ours? Your perspective is as disfigured as the perversion of natural justice you represent. Respect for family life? What respect have you and your fellow abusers shown this child? That she has spent an entire childhood (nine years) in the abusive family justice system is a disgrace. You and your courts pitched parent against parent, advocated the use of physical force on the child when she refused to comply with your orders and then put a pillow over her face to suffocate her voice at the ‘final’ hearing and you then seek to lecture us about respect for family life in your judgement as if you had been absolved of any sin yourself? Pray you never cross my path ever again, and I will pray for your soul.

And who is it distressing for? Not the child. Thanks to the Herculean efforts of her mother and family, the child has excelled, protected from the ravages of the family courts by our ensuring the necessary safeguards were in place to protect her, such as 3rd party handovers which we pay for. CAFCASS had previously even had the decency to state that the mothers efforts in this regard were to the detriment of her own health and well-being. Even you, almost regretfully, concede this in your judgement. Despite everything you have thrown at this family, she enjoys a great relationship with both her parents as you have conceded, so who is distressed?

I shall tell you.

You are distressed. You are frightened because you know that I know, that when the walls come down as they will within the next few years, we will not rest until you and every Judge in the Family Division are not only removed, but held to account by a commission investigating what will be seen as the biggest child abuse scandal this country has ever uncovered.

And on that day, we shall be the judge and jury of you and your kind and your edifice will crumble away to reveal you for what you are; an old, cowardly woman, hiding like any abuser hides, cowering behind closed doors, terrified of being exposed.

And by then, the children of your abusive courts will be the parents seeking justice, walking in the footsteps of Fathers 4 Justice.

“This is the message you must understand…I should emphasise the detail of what I have directed.”

Then there is the matter of your basic level of competency. Your order is so devoid of detail and deficient and substandard in so many ways it is, like you, not for fit for purpose. On this evidence, you would fail to pass an interview for the position of trainee toilet cleaner in a McDonalds on the basis of the detail included in this judgement. Unlike the secret family courts where anything goes, at McDonalds they have basic standards of cleanliness and hygiene including times and dates of inspections by management and appropriate auditing. Your courts are divorced from any such reality, and hence so is your order. It is devoid of the necessary and essential detail to make it work such as the meeting places and times previous judges had declared were essential. A unique if unenviable achievement.

Finally, your crowning glory is that in 4 years you have managed to achieve what scientists have long thought impossible. Time Travel.

Like a legally bankrupt version of Life on Mars, we have travelled back not just days or months, but four whole years. The year is 2006. The order is the same apart from the dates. During these years, you have continued to use your weapons of family destruction against us to the point of oblivion. Why? For what purpose? Why couldn’t this case have been resolved then?

The child’s father had shared residency, was offered unlimited contact, had the assistance of leading lights within F4J, so what exactly was the problem? None of us are any the wiser unless of course there were other factors at play…would you use a nine-year-old girl to settle old scores in a perverse grudge match against me because I am the founder of Fathers 4 Justice and campaigned against the judiciary these last 10 years? There is plenty of as yet undisclosed evidence to suggest that the judiciary, consumed by prejudice and resentment, are far from impartial.

“…it is a violation of the orders made by His Honour Judge Meston QC in October 2008 and me as recently as 19th May 2010.”

Here you refer to the gagging orders placed on our family to silence us from speaking out. These gagging orders are indicative of a dying system that is now on par with the old Star Chamber. It makes the totalitarian regimes in Iran or North Korea look progressive. In the UK, terrorists have greater rights than parents – at least they are afforded the right to have their case heard in an open court of law.

However, given I do not recognise the authority of your secret courts, given I do not recognise your right to censor or suppress me or the truth, I will continue to speak out as I see fit.

“My expectation for the future is that when Mr and Mrs O’Connor have an opportunity to absorb the contents of the judgement, there will be an alteration in their methods of operation and a scaling back of their militant actions.”

So Pauffley, having made this order, there is this final request, or is it a caveat? Again, one wonders what relevance this has?

I was born and raised in the Labour Party, a party forged in the fires of civil disobedience. I was taught to stand up for our rights in the tradition of our forefathers. The key tenet of those traditions was freedom of speech, our right to open justice and a fair trial by jury.

None of these principles apply in the Family Courts.

F4J exists because injustice exists. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere especially in an age of broken promises and failed negotiations. What is ‘militant’ about peaceful non-violent direct action or satire, ridicule and subversion to shoot through the credibility and reputation of you and your colleagues? Wars are started for lesser causes than fighting to see your children. We send fathers off to fight phony wars in foreign lands to fight on behalf of a country that doesn’t even afford them the right to be a father.

Is that more acceptable than a father scaling a bridge because the only time his child might see him is when he is on TV hanging 100 feet above a river?

Our methodology entails creating a crisis and fostering a tension where the authorities have no alternative but to confront the issue. We will not secure a single gain whilst we cower like slaves in your courts. Authority never surrenders voluntarily. It requires determined, unrelenting pressure.

So what might be ‘militant’ to you because it is threatening your position of authority, is perfectly reasonable to the vast majority of the public.

As MLK said “Was not Jesus an extremist for love or Amos an extremist for justice? As Amos said ‘Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream’…so the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be.”

And finally, a thank you…

Thank you for inflicting all this pain and trauma on our family. Thank you for driving my wife to the edge of a breakdown which threatened the welfare of my children and family. Thank you for not letting her or her daughter know what was going to happen to them from one month to the next. Thank you for venting your prejudicial poison and administering it to us on a drip feed day by day, week by week, year by year. Thank you for lying through your back teeth about F4J. Thank you for your arrogance and ignorance. Thank you for your lack of compassion and inhumanity. Thank you for your careers and campaign advice. Thank you for letting me experience the obscenity of family law through ten years of personal experience and the experience of thousands of other mothers, fathers, grandparents and children and thank you for giving me the belief that we – not you – will create a fair, open and equitable system of justice for our children.

Your legacy will be one of hate and division. Ours will be one of hope and unity.

Your incompetence rivals that of BP in terms of scale and disaster management. The slick you have left behind is a festering, sticky mess of broken families and emotional effluent. At first it affected hundreds, then thousands, and now tens of thousands. It’s a numbers game Pauffley, and the numbers are on our side, not yours.

Mrs Justice Pauffley, you are a merchant in the body parts of the children you wickedly, deceitfully profess to serve. You carve up families according to your own prejudices, in secret, without relying on any evidence whatsoever. You sever the sacred bonds between parent and child, and when they dare to question you, you advocate the use of physical force and suffocation of that child so that their voice is but a desperate muffle behind the closed doors of the court.

The venality of this course of conduct is so horrific, the secret deals with NYAS & CAFCASS barristers on social networks and in the corridors of justice so repugnant, it requires the removal of ALL of the Family Division as part of any proposal to reform family law.

It follows that we intend to not only decapitate the credibility and reputation (what’s left of it) of the family justice system, but the flow of money to organisations and charities like NYAS and CAFCASS who use taxpayers money in the pursuit of unspeakable injustice.

The second stage of Fathers 4 Justice is going to make the first stage look like the Boys Brigade. I have already met with Scotland Yard to inform them of our plans to capitalise on the political momentum for change in the courts, which despite your best endeavours, remains very much on the political radar.

We are not the tragic unfortunates whose children you removed back in 2005 because they were judged to be too slow. Proof, if proof were needed of your despicable course of conduct over these last few years.

Fathers 4 Justice are communicators whose message will ring out in every court across this country.

And I will communicate what you seek to hide to the best of my ability. We will use PR, TV, film, advertising, social media, music and direct action – every conceivable weapon in my cannon in a firestorm of publicity to expose you for what you are.

I act for my children first, justice second and my country third.

And I will act alongside the thousands of other families seeking justice and your removal from ever having any contact or dealings with children ever again.

Matt O’Connor
Father and Founder, Fathers 4 Justice

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