Trinity Family Barrister Successfully Defends High Court Appeal

In F v M (Appeal: Finding of Fact) [2019] EWHC 3177 (Fam) Trinity Family barrister, Claire Brissenden, representing the mother, successfully defended an appeal by the father in the High Court against a single finding of rape made by HHJ Scully in a private law finding of fact hearing. The finding was made in what was already a rehearing, after a successful appeal by Miss Brissenden against a previous decision of a district judge which made no finding of rape.

The Honourable Mr Justice Cobb dismissing the father’s appeal found that HHJ Scully’s finding was not "demonstrably contrary to the weight of the evidence" and the Judge was entitled to conclude that the sexual intercourse between mother and father during the incident concerned became non-consensual and was therefore a serious sexual assault. In addition, he found that there was nothing in the Judge's decision-making process that was "plainly defective so that it can be said that the findings in question are unsafe".

Cobb J concluded that the father had perpetrated a serious sexual assault on the mother and whilst  the family courts should not simply adopt criminal law concepts and language, in this case there was no reason why this should not be described as 'rape'.

Full details of the hearing can be found here.

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