Our thanks to Jean for this. Extracts:
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…
Mr Coupland, a former painter and decorator, raised his daughter, now eight, alone in Spalding, Lincolnshire.
He was granted custody shortly after her birth, but his former partner, a Thai illegal immigrant, has fought him through the courts.
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…
Mrs Smith told the hearing she did not mean to implicate Mr Coupland but misunderstood what she had seen. She said when she realised her mistake she tried to put the record straight. She added: ‘I sincerely apologise to the father.’
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…
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. [J4MB emphasis] It will decide whether she is guilty of misconduct at a later hearing.
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