Our thanks to Jeff for pointing us to this. It concerns a false allegation made by a social worker, Suzi Smith, against a man who had custody of his daughter. Key extracts from the article:
A social worker who accused an innocent father of abusing his daughter has claimed the police put pressure on her to stand by the lie. Suzi Smith has admitted falsely accusing Jonathan Coupland, 53, of attacking his six-year-old child in an official custody case note – which led to him being handcuffed in front of neighbours and thrown into a cell.
After the Mail revealed the case earlier this year, Mrs Smith was brought before a disciplinary hearing this week over her behaviour. Mrs Smith, who worked for Cafcass, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, which represents children in the family courts, admitted writing the damning note but claimed she later tried to retract the allegation – only to be put under huge strain by the police to stick to her story.
‘At the earliest opportunity, I repeatedly tried to correct this,’ she told the Health and Care Professions Council. ‘I would not give in to pressure. I would not submit to pressure placed on me to exaggerate or lie.’ Asked who was putting pressure on her, she replied: ‘I was under pressure at that police station … to exaggerate or confirm what I had written.’…
Mrs Smith made a home visit in January 2012 and wrote the case note while she was ‘really, really angry’, claiming she saw Mr Coupland stroking his daughter inappropriately – which he has always denied and she now admits was not true. Mrs Smith allegedly lied in a fit of pique after the single father criticised her handling of the case. She then waited three months to tell authorities about what she claimed she saw.
Mr Coupland was arrested at home on suspicion of sexual assault and questioned for about ten hours, and officers threatened to put his daughter in temporary car. A day later, he was informed there would be no further action after Mrs Smith was interviewed and backtracked on her claims. Cafcass, which is funded by the Department of Justice, sacked Mrs Smith and has paid Mr Coupland £86,000 in damages…
Last night Mr Coupland told the Mail: ‘I was arrested for sexually assaulting the most precious thing in my life … Once you are tarred with that brush, that is it. People where I live think I am a paedophile.’
Suzy Smith was brought before a disciplinary hearing. The article ends with this:
Panel chairman Stephen Fash said Mrs Smith had ‘overstated’ what she thought she had observed. The panel found she made the false allegation, but did not do so dishonestly. It will decide whether she is guilty of misconduct at a later hearing.
Let’s critique the final three sentences:
‘Panel chairman Stephen Fash said Mrs Smith had “overstated” what she thought she had observed.’
No she hadn’t, she’d lied – and had admitted as much. Why do men in positions of authority repeatedly fail to hold women accountable for their actions and inactions, as they would hold men accountable? As it is, she’s managed to move the focus of attention from her offence to the behaviour of the police.
‘The panel found she made the false allegation, but did not do so dishonestly.’
What on earth does this MEAN? That she honestly made the false accusation?
‘It will decide whether she is guilty of misconduct at a later hearing.’
So falsely alleging that a father sexually assaulted his daughter doesn’t automatically make a social worker guilty of misconduct?
We leave with you with one of the comments made in response to the article, the one with the most upvotes (593):
What an absolute disgrace. Cafcass is full of people like Suzi Smith. Well done to the father for fighting this every step of the way.