Committal for Contempt of Court in Open Court at the County Court sitting at Scunthorpe

|Contempt of Court

Case No SC15P50001

In The Family Court at Scunthorpe
Scunthorpe Court Centre
Laneham Street

24th April 2015


District Judge Stephenson

M – (Applicant)


Shaun Cooper – (Respondent)


Approved Judgment

For the Applicant: IN PERSON
For the Respondent: NOT REPRESENTED

Transcribed from an audio recording by
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M -v- Shaun Cooper

24th April 2015


 District Judge Stephenson:

  1. In this case M is a litigant in person who has made an application with regard to the children of herself and the respondent, Shaun Cooper. Mr Cooper has persistently failed to engage with the proceedings. He has not attended court on the previous occasion and therefore when the matter was before the court on 10th April 2015 I made an order that there should be another hearing at which Mr Cooper should attend and an order that he must attend this hearing today, on 24th April, complete with a penal notice. I actually excused Miss M from attending, unless she wished, and I ordered bailiff service on Mr Cooper.
  2. I have received a statement of service from the bailiff, which is on the court file, which states that he served the notice of today’s hearing by hand on the defendant, Shaun Cooper, and he identified himself to the bailiff at 17.45 on 15th April at 57 Jackson Road, Scunthorpe. The notice of today’s hearing is contained within the order, the order is on a document called a C21 and that C21 is indicated on the bailiff’s statement of service as having been served and it is that C21 that ordered Mr Cooper to attend with a penal notice upon it.
  3. If it were not sufficient to have that statement of service, I have heard Miss M briefly on oath. It will be recalled that I had actually excused her attendance unless she wanted to attend today. The reason she came to court today is according to her that Mr Cooper indicated that he was coming to court today and they both intended to appear together, he appeared fully aware of the order and even commented that he was aware that she had been excused attending if she did not wish to attend. He would not have known that if it had not been for the order with the penal notice in form C21 having been served upon him. Miss M has told me that she has tried to telephone him on a number of occasions this morning but his phone appears to have been switched off.
  4. I have to be satisfied on the criminal burden of proof, which is beyond reasonable doubt, that Mr Cooper has disobeyed the order of the court. The order of the court is that he must attend and the penal notice is clearly set out. It could not be clearer that it says that he will be guilty of contempt of court and may be sent to prison or fined in the circumstances.
  5. There has been no message that I have received indicating that Mr Cooper has had a problem getting here, it is a repetition of the disengagement. Accordingly, I find, on the criminal burden of proof, beyond reasonable doubt, that Mr Cooper has failed to obey this order in Family proceedings that he must attend and I find him guilty of contempt of court on that basis and in the circumstances I order that he be sent to prison for fourteen days but that prison sentence be suspended on the basis that he attends future court hearings.
  6. I will be making an order setting out that he should attend a further hearing and that there will be a further penal notice against him and that the bailiff will serve him and Miss M will be excused from attendance on that occasion. That is the end of my judgment.