Chief Magistrate Carolyn Huntsman, do you know the laws of the NSW Children's Court?

Over a month ago now, three children were removed from their loving mummy and daddy's care because an unregistered docs worker signed a piece of paper say the children were at Risk of Serious Harm.  Removing children without prior court proceedings and not giving parents to defend the hearsay of caseworkers is one of the most traumatic experiences a child can have.  Children who have been removed from their mothers at birth, are still known to suffer major anxiety and fears well into the child's seventh year, and after the child was returned - meaning they should not have been removed at all.

Children are seen suffering injuries in care because supervision is less than adequate, and crying on phone calls to parents and begging to come home is something no child should suffer at all - unless there are extremely serious reasons to do so.  Unfortunately child protection rules the roost these days, and the words accountability and transparency have long been lost to a government who spends more money covering it's ass than actually doing the right thing by its people.

So what does happen when children have been removed on Emergency Care and Protection Orders?

Well, the legal requirements firstly are that the department (child protection) must bring the matter to the attention of the courts within three working days.  [i]  However if you’re a department lawyer or Rob Hosking from Hosking Lawyers in Goulburn[ii], those rules don’t apply to you.

And secondly, the Emergency Order has a lifespan of fourteen days [iii] and may be renewed for a similar or lesser term on one occasion only. [iv] Unless of course you are the department ^^^.

What has happened in this case now, is Magistrate Carolyn Huntsman [v] who has been on the bench since 2013 has not only extended the ECPO (Emergency Care and Protection Order), she has extended it three times.  Law states you can have the ECPO granted one time and then final orders must be made.

Involved in the case now, there is the Independent Children’s Lawyer Alison Howarth, [vi] representing the children who are crying to go home, and the departments solicitor (mentioned above), who doesn’t have to follow the law, and the parents solicitor (Joanna Jasarevic) – who is supposed to be representing the parents.

Sadly for the children the ICL has never questioned the flaws in this case or the way in which it has been handled and now sees three children being unlawfully detained by the department – as there are no orders.

Why?  Because it is beneficial for these four entities to keep matters ongoing – as the state will continue to pay their way for as long as it takes the department to get what it wants.  That is of course, to the exclusion of the parents, because once their legal aid funding runs out – and the department bank on this – they will be left representing themselves.  This is extremely common in child protection proceedings.

As a young colleague once said, “we’re the department (docs), the law doesn’t apply to us – we can do what we want”.  He is absolutely correct.

So … three hearings later, no determination or even acknowledgement of the ECPO or its requirements and the departments lawyer and the magistrate are now telling the poor parents that “they” are dragging matters out – and as Magistrate Huntsman says “it’s taking a long time to get to establishment”.

WTF.  There is no establishment – the department have had three hearings – two more than they are actually allowed by law – and they haven’t proven their case (established).  The matter must be dismissed and the children returned immediately to the parents.

And all the bloodsucking government leeches need sacking, because if they don’t know the law by now or aren’t prepared to abide by it, then make room for other legal personnel who are going to.  This includes the magistrate.




[iv] s 46(3)



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