FOR THE FINAL HEARING 5-22/08/14
IN THE NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE COUNTY COURT CASE NO: UY13C90005 IN THE MATTER OF THE CHILDREN ACT 1989
IN THE MATTER OF KRISHNA GOURI PORTUGAL(AKA DA COSTA) AND IN THE MATTER OF KALINDI ROBSON DA COSTA(03.08.2012) BETWEEN
NORTH TYNESIDE COUNCIL
LUCI VEIRA DA COSTA
KRISHNA AND KALINDI DA COSTA
(BY THEIR GUARDIAN MS L GRUNDY)
STATEMENT OF THE FIRST RESPONDENT MOTHER
I Ms Luci Veira Da Costa of 50 Vicarage Street, North Shields NE29 65J make this statement knowing its contents to be true and that it will be used in evidence.
1. I make this statement further to the Court Order of
2.I Fully Contest that the 5.31 Threshold for making the ordens to remove my children into care was met. I maintain that the Threshold was not met. This is in relation to subsection 8 of the report "Your Family Matter" sent to me by my Solicitor on 29.05.2014.
3.I contend that I have always endeavoured to the best of my ability to meet my children’s needs and requirements, emotionally, physically and spiritually and that I have always ensured that both my children have had full contact and support from all health
professionals throughout their lives and that apart from one instance which was out of absolute necessity, where my baby was left with my 12 year old daughter, there has never been another occasion where I have left my children alone. 1 have always supported my children, with as much love, physical and emotional support as 1 could provide
4.My children have never been offered drugs nor given drugs, nor have they
ever partaken in any activities related to drugs.
5.My eldest daughter has engaged in a wide variety of activities, Drama, Kung Fu, Piano class. She attends the Krishna Temple and
has many friends in school, she is a bright, active intellectually intelligent girl, who has no educational problems.
Indeed Mr Flynn, her head of year, wrote in a Child Protection conference 5.37, that:- "There is no concern in relation to Krishna's
academic ability. Krishna was described as bright and talented. Outside of school Krishna is involved in activities including Kung Fu and music lessons."
6.Professionals have submitted statements and are willing to come into court to testify to my daughter's abilities and talents.
7.I also wish to contest statements made in subsection 9 of the document, which comes under the heading of: "THE KEY ISSUES IN THIS CASE ARE". In this subsection there a list of concerns listed from A - I. I wish to address each of their concerns on an individual basis:
A. Mother's Mental Health
This is now subject to a formal complaint. The statement below is a short excerpt from that complaint and not one but two psychologists
and one Social Worker have stated that I have no mental health problems whatsoever.
I regard the statement made by the Local Authority which promotes
the idea that I have mental issues as slanderous, with intent to conspire to pervert the course of justice.
I have stated in the formal complaint, made to the County Council that, In several reports written by Social Workers including a recent one, North Tyneside Social Services have stated that, the Mother's mental health, is a key issue in their ongoing case against me which is being held in Newcastle County Court, which was under the jurisdiction of District Judge Loomba. In that complaint, I fully contest that the issue of my mental health, which has been persistently and consistently raised by North Tyneside Social Services, is purely in keeping with an intent to conspire to pervert the course of justice,
thereby achieving a case outcome favourable to them. There is absolutely no foundation to their allegations.
Indeed the basis for the complaint, comes from a report written by Dr
Stephanie Hill, Consultant in Forensic and Clinical Psychology, which is dated 24th February 2014. This report clearly states that "Ms Da Costa does not demonstrate problems with mental illness" and then it goes onto say, "that there is no evidence of psychosis".
There is neither evidence nor any proof to support the stance of the County Council on this issue.
B. Home Conditions
I would like to confirm that I have moved to a new house which has both adequate provision for two children and offers a secure environment for the children, it is also within easy reach of Krishna's School.
As such my present home conditions do not present an issue any longer and therefore should not be taken into consideration by the court, unless it is in a positive and supportive aspect. However, I will add that at no time has North Tyneside Social Services ever been to visit, or evaluate my new house.
C. Lack Of Supervision By First Respondent
I have already acknowledged this was a problem, however as a single mother I was in need of a new house, so therefore on one occasion only, I left Kalindi in charge of my 12 gear old daughter Krishna. I fully believed that Krishna was mature enough to look after her for a short while, as she is an intelligent, mature, articulate, academic girl, (unlike how the representative of Social Services tried to portray her in court). At this time I went to the library, in order to find a new home and make enough money to fund the deposit for it. The deposit required was £1,000, which l did not have at the time. This was a desperate situation and would not happen again. However, I would point out that my baby Kalindi was never left alone, nor neglected as such, but was asleep in her cot.
I was expecting my ex-partner to arrive very shortly and indeed it was he, the father of Kalindi, who called the police. If he were there, as I was expecting him to be anyway, it rather beggars the question as to why he did not take care of Kalindi himself. However as above, I acknowledge that this should not have happened.
D. Inability to meet child's emotional needs
This accusation has no foundation and as evidence, I refer to the statements of my then Social Worker and Health Visitors who said, in reports made that:- In the initial assessment By Joanna Dean 28th August 2013, she states on:- Page 6 "that Kalindi presents as having a loving bond and attachment with her mother and older sister." Page 7 - "There are no concerns regarding the presentation of either child, both were wearing clean and tidy clothing." "There does not appear to be any concerns with regard to Luci's Ability to promote an appropriate sense of Identity." "Kalindi is a baby who will need all of her basic care needs to be met by her mother. There are no concerns with regards to Luci's ability to do this and meet her needs". "That there are no concerns with regard to Luci's abilities to meet the needs of the children in this area of assessment."sw Parent/carer loves the child unconditionally YES"
Joana Pearson, Health Visitor: "no concerns in relation to Kalindi's development. Ms Da Costa is continuing to breast feed Kalindi although she does provide solid food for Kalindi." "During home visits, Kalindi has always been clean and appropriately dressed for the wheather. Health visitors have ovserved a warm, loving emotional bond between Luci and both her children, Kalindi's face light up when she is interacting with her Mum.(...)"I light of the reports created and written by my own health visitors who knew both me and my children well, I cite that Social Services have purely created this out of speculatory reports, which have no evidential basis or foundation.
E. Drug related offending behaviour of both M and F
Firstly, it was me who called the police because of Craig's Cannabis farm and secondly, I have never used drugs, nor was I tested at the time for the use of Cannabis. I ought to also mention at this point that my Hindu religion forbids the use of drugs anyway and I take my faith very seriously. Therefore, since I have never used any drugs, which could have had a detrimental effect on my behaviour, it is untrue to argue or promulgate, that there has ever been any time whereby my behaviour could be linked to any drug related offending behaviour. This is an unsupported allegation.
F. Inability to work consistently openly and honestly with professionals.
This is unfair, those who call themselves professionals, have, at least in my opinion, lied, engineered, procured and promulgated false information; have engaged in defamation of character, denied my 12 year old daughter, who is bright articulate and intelligent the right to speak in court, the then solicitor stated that Krishna was immature and incapable of knowing what she wants for her life, which is completely untrue. I was also made the victim of mental health accusations which had no foundation whatsoever, conversations were twisted and used against me in court, which had no foundation and there have being many instances of false and inaccurate testimonies made against me. I will give three examples of these here, the first:- For instance, in one report it is stated that "There are significant concerns regarding Luci's mental health that is based on information shared by other professionals, accessing departmental records, observations of my own and concerns reported by Craig (...) " There are concerns regarding Luci's mental health, which did deteriorate post natal following Kalindi's birth.(...)"
This statement though is contradicted in another report in a statement written by Dr. Dan Armstrong which said that I Luci "presented without any evidence of mental health difficulties." This was also repeated in a statement written by Dr Stephane HM, where she writes that "Ms Da Costa does not demonstrate problems with mental illness" and "that there is no evidence of psychosis", as stated above.
The second example comes from a strategy meeting report, where Social Worker Alison Dodds, described how she saw Luci (me) sitting on the ground outside the launderette and Kalindi was crawling around. Whilst in yet another statement, the same social worker, Alison Dodds, wrote that " One occasion the Health Visitor observed Kalindi with her mother sitting outside a local launderette on the floor, where Kalindi was crawling dose to the road.
This was yet another version of the same event, though differently portrayed. However, the truth is that my health visitor, Joanne Pearson, saw me with my baby "in the pushchair" outside the launderette and will testify to this fact. Kalindi was never crawling on the ground by the launderette, nor was she ever crawling in the road. The statement made by Alison Dodds, in my opinion, represents a clear attempt to distort the truth and mislead the court, which is in keeping with a seemingly ongoing attempt to prejudice my hearing.
I also believe that North Tyneside Social Services have engaged in a campaign of religious and racial discrimination against me. This has also been the subject of a formal complaint, a copy of which will be obtainable upon request by the court. Indeed, there have been over
50 inaccurate statements and reports which have been written and submitted to the court by North Tyneside Social Services, also check boxes have been incorrectly filled in. This has obviously increased the difficulties I have had in working with the professionals" of my Local Authority, as they simply cannot be trusted in terms of their honesty. Indeed they have lied, conspired, written and provided inaccurate statements and changed and altered verbal conversations at will. In my opinion at least two Social Workers have conspired to pervert the course of justice and it appears that North Tyneside Social Services have seemingly engaged in a diverse and what could be described as a preplanned conspiracy to remove and give my children for adoption and fostering.
If this is not the case, why go to such lengths to provide inaccurate information? I might add that this also amounts to gross professional negligence. In my opinion, they also on at least two occasions had deliberately set out to upset Kalindi, which in turn also upset me.
G. History of D.V.
There was only one occasion where I threw plates at Craig, however I was afraid at that time because he had become violent and threatening to me. In fact on one occasion he had punched me in the face, this happened when Kalindi was two months old. However, in my defence, I had no idea that previous to my involvement with Craig, that he had already been in a relationship which had involved violence or that on a previous occasion he had been violent towards another partner. My children have never, ever been subject to any kind of violence from me, violence is something I do not tolerate, nor is it tolerated by my religion. However, even in this age, it is still difficult to extricate oneself from a relationship which is violent. As soon as I realised this was how my partner was going to behave, I separated for the sake of my children and I might add, myself.
I would also like to state, that the relationship has now ended, that I am in a new Nome and that this subsection is no longer a matter for concern. Any further contact by Craig, in relation to myself, (subject to court requirement in relation to my children), will be subject to the police being contacted and a court injunction will be sought.
H. M's repeated threats to remove the children from the jurisdiction
Before Social Services were involved, Craig had been violent towards me, therefore I wished that I and my two children could leave the country. However, Craig refused to sign for the passport. I admit that Craig's threatening behaviour still caused me deep concern, even after my children were taken into care. Furthermore, I also became deeply concerned that I may not receive a fair or impartial hearing from the family court and I also knew that distorted and untrue evident was been presented in my case, which I felt I could do nothing about.
Many, many lies were being told, (for further information, the court will be provided with a list which I am preparing to be an addendum to this letter) -I was therefore deeply afraid for the safety of my children. Whilst I admit, this was completely the wrong approach, I had no one to talk to, no one to offer me advice or support and my children had been taken from my care through what I believe to be the direct abuse of section 20.
I was denied legal advice before I signed section 20 and the Social worker concerned used the threat of the police, in order to force me to obey her request, in other words the threat of the police was used to intimidate me into signing. Had I known what was involved, I would not have signed section 20.
I believed even at that time, that legal and Human Rights were been violated and abused, by North Tyneside Social Services. However, worse than this, there was then submitted (as stated above) a mass of false and inaccurate information to the court.
I would like to stress that I am no longer of this mind thanks to the help and assistance of family support and I would also like to thank the court for allowing my sister to be assessed for parenting my children. I could never have envisaged this, in what I consider now to be the darker days of my case. Therefore, I hope the court will accept my full apology for this line of thinking. I will not deny the truth that I felt this, but would like to add, that there were many deeply distressing factors which played a role in my way of thinking. Factors which caused fear, anxiety and deep concern. No one knows what it feels like to lose children, until they have to go through it themselves.
I would describe the action as inhuman, but to compound that with a mass of contrivance and lies, is worse than inhuman and it should be illegal. Once again I apologise to the court.
I. Long Term Placement of the children
I believe very firmly that the long term placement of the children should be with me, their mother. There was no justification to remove them in the way which Social Services did, nor was there any reason for Social Services to act in such an aggressive and thoroughly dishonest manner towards me. I care very much for the wellbeing of both my children physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Yes, I have been through a difficult relationship, however that is now in the past. I now have a new home, which is more than adequate for the provision of my children and will meet their needs adequately. As I love and care for both my children and have always met their needs, I do not see how there can be any legal justification to keep them from my care, especially since my environment has now completely changed. Indeed both my first Social Worker and my Health Visitors have stated, in their professional capacity, that I was and am perfectly capable of meeting my children's needs and I would like to assure Chis court that I am perfectly capable of caring for both my children now and in the future. Therefore, I request that the court make the consideration to return the children into my care, In order that I may continue my life, with my family.
I am happy for a supervision order to be in place if the children are returned to me.
If the court decides not to return either or both of my children to me I would ask that Kalindi be placed with my sister in Brazil and Krishna in long term foster care. it is Krishna's wish that she remain in the UK to be near myself, her friends and to remain living in the same area.