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Woman battling her amputee ex-husband for the lion's share of his £500,000 compensation has won the right to more than half his money in a landmark ruling.
The Appeal Court declared that her needs and those of their children were more important than those of the disabled man.
Lord Justice Thorpe ruled that the money Kevin Mansfield received in 1998 after losing a leg in a road smash - five years before he met his former wife Cathryn - ought to be 'available to all his family' and that the needs of his ex-wife and their four-year-old twins were 'primary' and outweighed his own.
Landmark ruling: Amputee Kevin Mansfield lost his fight to stop his ex-wife Cathryn from claiming over half of his compensation after a judge ruled it to be an asset of their marriage.
Mr Mansfield, 41, now faces having to sell his home, a specially adapted bungalow in Chelmsford, Essex - to meet the court's order that he pay £285,000 to 37-year-old Cathryn, so she can buy a new home for herself and their two children.
But Lord Justice Thorpe left Mr Mansfield with a glimmer of hope by also ordering that £95,000 of the money must be paid back to him by his ex-wife if she remarries a partner who can support her, or in 14 years time, once their children have grown up.
Mr Mansfield was still a student when he lost a leg and suffered serious spinal injuries when he was hit by a car in 1992. He met his ex-wife Cathryn five years after receiving £500,000 compensation in 1998.
The couple split up in 2008, soon after having twins, Carys and Corben - now aged four - through IVF treatment. Mr Mansfield told the court that almost the whole of the family's wealth at the point of their divorce derived from his damages payout.
At a divorce hearing in May last year, he heard a judge rule that his compensation should be regarded as an asset of the marriage and divided accordingly.
He took his case to the Appeal Court, but Richard Todd QC, for Cathryn Mansfield, insisted it made no difference that his damages payout pre-dated his marriage.
More...Mother who pocketed nearly £32k in disability hand-outs by claiming she was almost bed-ridden was caught shopping, driving and working as a nurse
'No part of a personal injury award is sacrosanct. No part of the award is ring fenced, not even that part awarded under the heads of pain, suffering and loss of amenity,' Mr Todd said. 'When he took on the responsibility of a wife, and they decided to have two children, he knew that the capital would have to be used for their benefit too.
'The court would regard it as illogical that, whilst earnings should be taken into account and thus be fully available for the support of the family, a sum paid by way of compensation should be treated otherwise.
'This is capital which replaces earnings which would otherwise form part of the marital acquest. The wife has suffered real relationship-generated disadvantage.'
Turning to Mr Mansfield's request that some of the money should be returned to him by way of a charging order over his wife's new home, Mr Todd continued, 'The husband talks of a charging order. Such an order would leave the parties locked together contrary to the spirit of the clean break and would also make it impossible for the wife to meet her long term reasonable needs.
'When confronted with competing needs, the court is required to give first consideration to the needs of the children. The court carefully weighed the competing needs of the parties. The need of the husband to be properly housed, fully taking into account his disabilities, was carefully measured against the wife's need to care for the children.' he said.
Key decision: Lord Justice Thorpe said it would be 'unprincipled' for the court to interfere with the previous ruling
The QC added that the wife disputed that all the assets of the marriage came from her husband's damages award, claiming she had contributed £30,000 to buying the former marital home, plus the 'sweat of her brow' in carrying out a 'great long list' of DIY improvements to the house.
Mr Mansfield, representing himself, told the court: 'I love the children, I think the world of them. I wouldn't be here today if I didn't care. There has been a lot of effort put into attacking me, but not a lot of due diligence.
'For me this chapter of my life should be closed. The insurance company did not just pay out the money to me on a whim.'
Giving the court's judgment, Lord Justice Thorpe said: 'This appeal raises a single point of significance - the degree to which a judge in ancillary relief proceedings should reflect a substantial award for a personal injury claim. The husband received approximately half a million pounds in his personal injury claim in 1998 before he ever met the wife.'
He added: 'I have been of a fluctuating mind during argument, but have come to the conclusion that the judge went into the conflicting needs of the parties with considerable care and found that £285,000 was the minimum needed to meet the needs of the wife and children.'
'£285,000 may be on the high side and it might be that the wife was fortunate to receive that quantification, but it would be unprincipled for this court to interfere.'
The judge went on to impose a £95,000 charging order on Mrs Mansfield's new home, to be paid back either when the couple's children turn 18, or when they finish their first degree, or if she remarries a partner who can support her.
In a statement outside court after the judgment, Mrs Mansfield said that she had brought the case for the sake of their children.
'From first to last, this case was all about our wonderful twins and how they would be housed. I am so very glad that a very wise Court of Appeal has approved the orders made by the lower courts that I should have £285,000 for housing both them and me,' she said.
Mr Todd added: 'The judge achieved what he wanted to achieve which was the security of the roof over the children's heads during their minority.'
Commenting on the legal importance of the case, the barrister went on: 'This case is going to be of huge importance to many other cases in future involving divorce and personal injury.
'It will now become the authority for all such future cases and emphasises that personal injury is significant factor when looking at any damages in a divorce case .
Women's convictions for domestic violence 'double'
By Hayley Cavill
The number of women convicted of domestic violence in England and Wales has more than doubled in the last five years, an investigation by BBC Radio 5 live Breakfast has found.
Figures obtained from the Crown Prosecution service showed that almost 4,000 women were successfully prosecuted in the last year, compared with 1,500 women in 2005, [a 169% increase.]
Some experts say it is a worrying sign of the growing culture of violence among women, while others believe that men are now more likely to report that they have been beaten up by their wives and girlfriends than in previous years.
Chief Constable Carmel Napier, the Association of Chief Police Officer's lead on domestic abuse, says the figures show there is wider reporting of domestic abuse.
"We know about more cases now because of better responses from police, multi-agencies and the voluntary sector and a shift in the societal view of the crime," she says.
Peter says he was physically and emotionally abused by his wife for almost a year.
But after finally calling the police, he could not bring himself to press charges.
He had to sleep for months lying in the same position, on his back facing up. If he turned his back his wife would punch and kick him.
Peter says the first incident of violence took him completely by surprise.
"I wasn't expecting the punch on the face. I wasn't expecting somebody hitting me so fast.
"You know when you love someone so much and you just believe they can just change? I was hoping she would change," he says.
Kieron was stabbed in the chest by his ex-wife. She is now serving a four-and-a-half year prison sentence.
He says the abuse started during her pregnancy.
The night he was stabbed, Kieron's wife came home from a friend's house demanding he cook her something to eat.
They got into an argument and she threatened to punch him, but when he pushed her away she went into the kitchen and grabbed a steak knife and plunged it into Kieron's chest.
"I could see the blood coming through the T-shirt.
"All the time I was on the phone to the ambulance I was in and out of consciousness.
"All I remember is that the ambulance people were there giving me oxygen and pain relief. The doctors gave me a 50-50 chance whether I was going to live or die," he says.
It is unclear why the conviction rates for women committing domestic violence are on the up, but organisations that offer help to male victims are sparse.
One charity that does is Mankind, who says there are just over 70 bed spaces in 20 refuges or safe houses for male victims in the UK, compared to 7,500 for women.
Mankind's chairman, Mark Brooks, believes that despite the number of women being convicted, some organisations still fail to recognise that men can be victims of domestic abuse too.
"There are a number of national and local help lines. There are some councils and police forces that do a great job in encouraging and supporting men when they come forward, but it's far too few," says Mark.
He believes that services are around three decades behind those available to female victims.
"Really in this day and age that is not acceptable," he says.
The Crown Prosecution Service says any form of domestic violence is a serious crime irrespective of whether the victim is male or female - and that there is no bias or lack of concern when dealing with cases of male victims.
Men though remain by far the main offenders with the numbers convicted increasing from more than 28,000 in 2005 to just over 55,000 in 2010.
Shrugging Misandry by Paul Elam on September 25, 2010
By Paul Elam of A Voice for Men
The men's movement has long carried with it a strong undercurrent of frustration. We lack organization, have made all but inconsequential progress on the political and legal fronts, and remain on the outside of an impenetrable wall around the mainstream media. Countless times the ambitions of MRA's start up in a flash and falter as just as quickly. Uncle Zed himself has dubbed our tendency to undermine any emergent leaders, and each other, as The Circular Firing Squad.
In other words, we are doing just fine, thank you very much.
The negatives are real, but let's put a little perspective on this. First, it is critically important to consider that any movement a mere 40 or 50 years old is in its infancy. For women, it was 72 years between Seneca Falls and the 19th amendment; almost 50 years after that before mainstream feminism took hold, and still another 25 or so years before gender activists really started getting the power to destroy families and generally fuck up everything else they touched. That is roughly 150 years from inception to the resultant destruction.
And that was in a culture where base biology drives men to throw each other under the bus in order to open doors for women- and drives women to feel entitled to that kind of paid-for-in-blood privilege.
Following the feminist example is thus an ineffectual and agonizingly slow road for men. Feminists were able to whine their way into de facto governance by the same forces that quash men's grievances faster than they can be stated.
It all boils down to two simple but insurmountable equations.
Women's whining = pursuit of justice. Men's pursuit of justice = whining.
Trying to reason with or educate people in a culture where this mindset is biologically rooted is absolutely foolish. The people we would engage view all forms of support for men like they were dirty hypodermic needles scattered across a schoolyard playground.
Allow me to expand on this.
I recently read an article on a feminist website, Sociological Images, authored by a couple of female Ph. D's, in which one of the comments named yours truly as an MRA who wrote about men's superiority over women, and yet another person who commented said they visited A Voice for Men and found a lot of whining going on here.
Par for the course, right?
But let's just run a short comparison to further demonstrate what I am talking about.
Recently on A Voice for Men, we have engaged in the standard discussions that relate to men in modern culture: A police state that arrests and incarcerates male victims of domestic violence and enables female perpetrators to continue criminal behavior; a ten to one death gap concerning capital punishment that works against men; a five to one death gap against men related to suicide; the staggering attrition of males in higher education and employment; the utter lack of reproductive rights for men, and the incidence of false rape allegations against men which even the police are calling epidemic.
And that is just the past two weeks.
On the other hand, the article from which the comments I cited at Sociological Images was about:
No, not heads of state. Measuring sticks. The kind that sell for $1.19 in your grocery store. It seems the fembots in question found a line of rulers commemorating great scientists of history, and a woman scientist, Marie Curie, had her own ruler under the heading of "Great Women Rulers of Science."
That's the horrific injustice that pissed off the author.
Her problem was (or at least appeared to be) that the women were separated from the men, giving us a default position of men as human and women as, uh, something else. Perhaps something less.
But wait a second. For half a century feminists have shrieked and bellowed and raged to get us to recognize women; often insisting we deluge them with pomp and ceremony, even over some of their more mediocre accomplishments. And let's face it, even after 50 years of efforts for inclusion and assisted access for women into all realms of modern life, mediocre accomplishments are as good as it gets.
Still, when it comes to their demand for recognition, earned or otherwise, we have surrendered our reason (see: psychobiology) and complied. But now, even acting out of that acquiescence, and giving Marie Curie her own 12 inches of fame, this is somehow an affront. We have insulted all women, relegating them to subhuman status, by lauding their accomplishments in the "wrong" way.
And we are the whiners?
And that is really the point here. These educated idiots aren't some isolated group of imbeciles. Well, they aren't isolated, anyway. They are not operating outside of mainstream consciousness. They are mainstream consciousness. The sooner we get a firm and comprehensive grip on that, the better.
The current mentality toward men mirrors that toward blacks in the antebellum south. And no, I am not comparing the struggles of modern men to black slaves. Not at all. I am, however, most certainly comparing the mentality of modern women to that of slave owners, complete with manginas and white knights aplenty to serve as their house niggers.
They practice the same level of denial and entitlement that was needed to maintain justification for slavery. No amount of moral outrage will affect them; no amount of suffering (except their own) will reach their hearts.
And no amount of reason will produce anything more than the blank, uncomprehending stare of a cow seeing its own reflection in a pond.
With all respect to Glenn Sacks, just what does anyone really think he is going to accomplish in terms of popularizing our agenda in this kind of moral and intellectual void?
And there's the rub. Where reason and dialog fail; where activism as we understand the word is a non starter, then responding with more of the same is as stupid as finding a sinister, sexist plot in the school supplies section at your grocery store. The more sensible route to go is withdrawal and intentional neglect.
Or, as Ayn Rand would advise, shrug it.
Shrug it all- the whole nasty, filthy rotten enchilada.
And it's already happening. It does not require leadership or organization. You don't need to donate money to it or try to get it on the ballot in your local elections. Men are now shrugging marriage, and for every one that does it will mean another man the state will not be enslaving through the family courts. And it will mean that many more children will not be ripped to shreds as sacrificial fodder to the system.
Men are also starting to shrug partisan politics, chivalry, nationalism, consumerism and the mainstream media; all the slow acting toxins that have landed men in the position of needing a movement in the first place.
And it will continue happening because that is the nature of social physics. There is a pendulum swing in effect here, and it is happening in total indifference to feminists, mainstream media, and yes, to the men's movement as well.
In short, we aren't causing anything here. We are just giving it a name, a voice and a language.
We chronicle what is happening; document it, and perhaps in our own way urge some men to reconsider what the fuck has been happening in their lives. But for the most part, I think that many men, when they stumble on our literature, aren't convinced by it, nor do they need any such persuasion. They just find something that finally puts some pieces together for them; something that articulates the unnamed knot that has been twisting in their guts for a while.
That is why I don't give advice, don't see myself as a leader, and don't want to.
Men don't need advice or guidance near as much as they need information. And if there is anything that most of them actually need to learn, it is that the only real leadership is in the mirror. Our agenda is defined by our own choices and actions. Our "cause" is our own life, on our own terms.
Most any man can still reasonably secure his freedom and well being with a simple (if not always easy) decision to shrug everything that gets in the way, and to be prepared to build and maintain his own life raft, instead of waiting for the government, feminists, or some supposed MRA leader to do it for him.
Our problem, if we actually even have one, is that there are a lot of MRA's who still have a hard time comprehending this. They are waiting for someone else to point the way. Or maybe for an instruction manual on how to act like a vertebrate. But give them time. They will change or end up settling for life on their knees, begging for scraps of shopworn pussy and pretending that they are still in Kansas.
I suppose it is obligatory that I state the obvious and say this is just my opinion, and that I maintain full support for the handful of activists that are trying desperately to chip away at the social and legislative machine that is hell bent on destroying men. But I also think it is pretty obvious that we spend too much time wringing our hands over a lack of progress as measured against feminist strategy.
Ironically, my greatest personal inspiration came from the mouth of a feminist icon. To be specific, from Marilyn French, who penned the following:
My feelings about men are the result of my experience. I have little sympathy for them. Like a Jew just released from Dachau, I watch the handsome young Nazi soldier fall writhing to the ground with a bullet in his stomach and I look briefly and walk on. I don't even need to shrug. I simply don't care. What he was, as a person, I mean, what his shames and yearning were, simply don't matter.
It was easy for French to make such a statement, because no matter how much she disdained men, she still lived her entire life benefiting from their sacrifices; an ingrate on the tit, she stopped suckling only long enough to complain about the free meal. It was her beta husband who put her through school, and of course she divorced him once he paid for her "independence," and made himself expendable. And this is precisely the direction a growing number of men are going, only with one very distinct difference.
We don't need women. Men don't die, or even get sick without them. There is no RDA for pussy. And as more men start to figure out that being on your knees is the wrong position to be in to receive a blowjob, they will also start learning to get themselves out of harms way, and to assume authority over their own lives.
As I have said before, women are the modern shiv that the government uses to stab men in the back. No one needs leadership to recognize that and act accordingly. All they need is a little common sense, and a good measure of the very uncommon sense that comes with being able to imagine yourself outside the role that has been prescribed for you.
If you are reading this, you likely are one of the lucky ones who have that kind of good sense. Enjoy your own rareness, and enjoy watching what happens when the time comes that men like you are not so rare.
Most men just can't do it. Fine by me, let 'em rot. They sure as hell won't hesitate to walk past your stinking carcass. They have the information at their disposal 24/7 to point to a different path than that of the mangina or white knight. And the more of us that Go Our Own Way, the higher the price those unfortunates that just can't "get it" will have to pay, and the more appealing our way of thinking will become.
Relative freedom is just a few short decisions away. All you have to do is choose it.
One of US President Barack Obama's half-brothers has spoken about their "abusive" father at the launch of his semi-autobiographical first novel.
Mark Ndesandjo told reporters: "My father beat me. He beat my mother."
The author is the son of Mr Obama's late father and his third wife. Barack Obama Sr split from Mr Obama's mother when the future president was aged two.
Mr Ndesandjo, who lives in China, had previously shunned the media since his link to Mr Obama emerged in 2008.
But in a news conference to promote the novel Nairobi to Shenzhen, he said a string of extraordinary events - including his brother being elected president - made him come to terms with his past.
'I want to tell my story'
"I remember in my house I would hear the screams. I would hear my mum's pain. As a child, I could not protect her," he said.
"I could not remember any good things about my father. My skin had turned hard emotionally for so many years."
Mr Ndesandjo said his novel was about a man who was forced to confront his early experiences in Kenya and the United States after arriving in China in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
He said he would publish his second book, an autobiography, in the next few months.
"I want to tell my story, not have others tell it for me," he added.
For the past seven years, Mr Ndesandjo has been living in the city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, and has until now refused all interview requests.
He said he planned to meet his half-brother in Beijing when the US president visits later in November.
Barack Obama Sr divorced the president's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, in 1964 and had at least six other children in his native Kenya. He died in a road accident in 1982.
President Obama hardly knew his father, but wrote of the impressions he formed of him in his 1995 book Dreams From My Father.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz must pay $916,000 yearly in alimony and child support to his ex-wife and give up their Connecticut home under terms of a newly issued divorce decree.
Under the ruling, Nantz must pay $72,000 in alimony monthly until he dies or his ex-wife remarries, and another $1,000 weekly in child support for the next two years.
Nantz's attorney, Gaetano Ferro of New Canaan, said Tuesday that the famed sportscaster only wants what's best for his daughter and will not fight the terms of the divorce decree.
"He always wanted a peaceful resolution of an unfortunate situation," Ferro said. "He never wanted a trial, never wanted it to come out this way, never wanted a public spectacle. He wants to put it behind him."
Lorrie Nantz will get their home and a separate condominium in Westport, while Jim Nantz will get their home in Houston and a luxury condominium in the Deer Valley ski resort in Park City, Utah. They were awarded joint custody of Caroline, 15.
He also must pay Caroline's college expenses until she reaches 23 years old and has to split various joint accounts with Lorrie Nantz, including the current value of his pension through the Screen Actors Guild.
He also must keep his ex-wife listed as beneficiary of a $3 million life insurance policy while he's still paying alimony and/or child support, and pay $70,000 so she can join any country club of her choice.
She had been seeking more than $1.5 million in yearly alimony and child support.
Male workers win equal pay claims
A "landmark" legal decision involving three councils in the north east of England could pave the way for 12,000 men to take forward equal pay claims.
Financial settlements had earlier been agreed for women workers paid less than men doing similar work.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has now ruled that 300 other male workers were discriminated against as they then remained on lower pay than the women.
The councils involved were Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and South Tyneside.
The men, who were working in jobs such as care assistants, caretakers, drivers and leisure attendants, had lodged discrimination claims about bonuses paid to male workers in better paid jobs such as gardeners and refuse collectors.
This was at the same time as women in low paid jobs, who were also claiming that the bonuses were discriminatory.
Whilst the women's case succeeded and they were offered financial settlements, the men were not.
This left them in a worse financial situation than the women, as well as the better-paid men.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that the 300 men should have been offered the same back pay as the women.
These claims are sometimes called piggy back claims as the men "piggy back" on the successful women's claims.
Mr Justice Underhill said: "It would be surprising and unsatisfactory if the [Equal Pay] Act offered no remedy to men in a situation like the present.
"The case where men and women do the same job but receive different rates of pay is the paradigm of the kind of situation which the Act was intended to prevent, how would it seem if the roles were reversed and the 'piggyback' claimants were not men but women?"
Lawyers involved, from the Cloister Chambers, have described it as a landmark ruling which will have a bearing on many other cases, and could cost councils hundreds of millions of pounds.
Yvette Genn from Cloisters said: "This ruling is what thousands of male workers who have not received equal pay up and down the country have been waiting for.
"There is no doubt that many of the similar 12,000 cases in the system will now proceed and are likely to be successful."
Bill set to expose gender pay gap.
Many employers will be made to reveal how much they pay men compared with women, under the Equalities Bill.
Firms employing at least 250 staff would be required to publish average hourly rates for men and women by 2013.
The Bill also aims to tackle discrimination against the elderly and people from working class backgrounds.
It has been backed by charities for the elderly but business groups called for a moratorium on new employment law and said it could delay economic recovery.
Minister for Equality Harriet Harman pledged the bill would help to "narrow the gap between rich and poor and make Britain more equal".
She told the BBC businesses would have until 2013 to voluntarily publish pay rates but added "old prejudices" had to be tackled if the economy was to prosper.
She also said "gagging clauses" - under which employees are ordered not to reveal details of their pay - would be banned under the Bill.
Police to target domestic abuse.
Almost 6,900 incidents of domestic violence were reported to Scotland's police forces during a festive crackdown between December and January.
The Violence Reduction Unit, (VRU), figures showed a further 6,035 children were exposed to domestic abuse during the same period.
The figures have prompted police to announce a six-month campaign to tackle the problem to start in the autumn.
Police described domestic violence as "Scotland's national shame".
The new campaign will begin in October with a month-long analysis of the issue in individual force areas.
Campaign co-ordinator Ch Insp Cameron Cavin said: "These figures are shocking and highlight the fact that despite everything, many people still think it is okay to be violent towards a partner.
"It is really concerning that so many children have been vulnerable to the effects of these events.
"Domestic abuse is Scotland's national shame, a shame which lies at the roots of much of the other violence we see in our society today and it is not acceptable."
He added: "We take this issue very seriously, which is why we will be launching an intensive six month campaign to tackle the problem later this year.
"Working with partners from domestic abuse groups, Crimestoppers, the police and the justice system, together we will work harder and smarter to prevent domestic abuse."
Lily Greenan, of Scottish Women's Aid, welcome the latest police crackdown.
She said: "Awareness campaigns like this, play a valuable role in encouraging victims to make contact with the police, and the VRU is to be commended for the high priority it has given to tackling domestic abuse."
Domestic violence costs the British economy £5.8bn a year and significantly depresses women's ability to contribute to economic growth, the attorney general told French ministers and former victims in Paris yesterday.
Speaking ahead of International End Violence Against Women Day, which takes place today, Baroness Scotland said the cost to business alone - through absence, loss of productivity and rapid turnover of employees - is estimated at £2.7bn. The cost to the public sector, in terms of medical and social services, was a further £3.1bn.
She was speaking at the invitation of Rachida Dati, France's justice minister. The French minister said efforts to protect vulnerable women and make concrete change was one of France's priorities throughout its presidency of the EU.
"Baroness Scotland and I share a determination to campaign for the rights of women and those affected by violence," Dati said.
Scotland's appearance at the French Ministry of Justice comes as the government today introduces a law to tackle forced marriage, seen as one of the significant causes of violence against women. The law creates new powers for government and the courts to protect victims, although it "had not criminalised forced marriage", the attorney general said.
Lisa Carty, NSW Political Editor
November 2, 2008
'I was devastated, disempowered. I feel belittled and degraded.'
GREENS MP Ian Cohen has spoken for the first time of the humiliation of being accused of domestic violence.
Assault charges against the NSW upper house member were withdrawn in Byron Bay Local Court on Friday after the Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to proceed.
In April, Cohen was summonsed on charges of assault and assault occasioning bodily harm after his former partner, Donna Davis, alleged he attacked her on June 22, 2006. She went to police in January of this year, sparking a long investigation.
Yesterday, Mr Cohen, 57, was relieved his seven-month ordeal was over, but he said the emotional scars of being shunned by some MPs and Greens, abused by strangers in the street and branded a wife-basher would take a long time to heal.
First elected in 1995, the environmental activist said he had been unable to work on "important projects" because he was paralysed with fear, waiting for the next headline.
"It was a very low time for me because people prejudged me," he said. "It got down to a very small number of people who were a lifeline to me. I avoided functions because instead of being an asset I was a liability to other MPs, my party, and organisations.
"I wasn't of any use for quite a period of time. In some cases people even asked me not to attend their function because my presence would not have helped."
Mr Cohen said he planned to discuss with the Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, the issue of charged people being identified by the media before conviction. It was grossly unfair that their names were sullied without even being found guilty.
"Trial by media - something's got to be worked out. It's not justice.
"I was devastated. I felt totally disempowered. I felt I couldn't say anything because the law has to take its course and I really had to wait for due process. There was a really attacking attitude by many in the media. I feel belittled and degraded.
"I have never been famous for something I wasn't proud of so this was a complete turnaround."
He said millions had been made aware of the allegations against him and it had been "crushing". "It's a pall that sits on your shoulders. I'd certainly like to get advice from the Attorney-General's office about why people have to suffer that much when you're charged but not found guilty."
Two French research students found stabbed to death following a flat fire had been tied up and suffered horrific, excessive injuries, police have said.
The bodies of Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez, both 23, were found in a ground-floor flat in New Cross, south-east London, on Sunday night.
They had suffered a total of 243 stab wounds to the head, neck and chest before being set alight.
The BBC's crime correspondent Ben Ando said Mr Bonomo had 196 stab wounds, including 100 to his back, and Mr Ferez had been stabbed 47 times.
Once again the police are on the rack, bombarded with questions about the murder of a teenager who allegedly lived in fear of a stalker. This time the victim is a schoolgirl, Arsema Dawit, who was stabbed on Monday in the lift of the block of flats near Waterloo, south London, where she lived with her mother. The 15-year-old, whose family is from Eritrea, is the newest name on a roll call of young women whose friends and relatives believe they were tragically let down by the authorities.
I can see a pattern. Time and time again, relatives of murdered women complain that the police responded too slowly, failed to take incidents seriously or simply did not believe that their daughters or sisters were being stalked. When a friend of mine was harassed by an ex-boyfriend who smashed plant-pots on her doorstep and punched her as she was approaching her flat, a police officer told her he was taking no action because it was "six of one and half a dozen of the other".
So what is going wrong? A key factor seems to be the speed (or lack of it) with which police respond when a woman complains she is in danger; at present, investigation takes precedence over protection, and Clare Bernal's mother Tricia was absolutely right yesterday when she highlighted "the need for places where families can go to feel safe".
The other big problem is the culture of disbelief which is experienced by so many victims of gender-based violence, a category which includes rape as well as domestic violence and honour-based crime. When the rape conviction rape rate is as low as 5 per cent, why should we expect women who are being stalked and harassed to be treated any better by the authorities?
Despite the Government's efforts, there is entrenched scepticism about levels of violence towards women. I suspect that rank-and-file police officers are as sceptical as the rest of the population, and demoralised by their dealings with a cautious and ineffectual Crown Prosecution Service.
She - let's call her Jean - has been out for some years now. She's rehabilitated, has a flat, a mortgage, a job and a partner. I was one of the friends who supported her through a bleak and discouraging time in a woman's prison.
Prison staff and governors were supportive too, for many of them know how hard prison is for women. They told me as much, and so did Jean.
Yet she is one of the minority who manage to stay out. Reoffending rates have been soaring - 64 per cent of those released in 2004 were reconvicted within two years. Something had to be done. It was.
A report by Baroness Corston in December 2006 set out a shocking catalogue of women's suffering that make radical proposals essential. She suggests closing 13 women's prisons and replacing them with a network of 150 custodial family units in city centres. There was cross-party agreement to accept her report. But the Government has now rejected its central proposal and an important social gain been scuppered either by lack of money or out of fear of an uproar from the right-wing press.
It's hard to imagine another arena of public life where the difference between men and women is as marked as it among prisoners. Women are not, on the whole, members of the criminal classes. They are basically law-abiding. Prison is certainly not one of the places where women aspire to equal treatment. The family is central to their world view and their lives revolve round it. The criminal justice system, developed in Victorian times, modelled the idea of women's prisons on the male institution, without enough thought about the differences between the sexes.
But these differences matter. First and foremost, women bear and look after children. That makes it essential that they serve their sentences within reach of their families. Yet because there are relatively few women's prisons, visitors have to travel much farther - in 2007 the average distance from home was 55 miles; about 800 women were held more than 100 miles away. Those precious visits that offer so much in emotional support are harder to make to women prisoners.
There are only 4,500 women in prison: more than half - some 3,000 - have dependent children under 18 years of age; about 1,000 have children under 5; another 1,200 have children between 5 and 10. When such women go to prison childcare falls to grandparents, foster parents or care homes. It doesn't take much imagination to see how traumatic this is for children, especially if they come from chaotic and deprived homes in the first place.
The passionate attachment to a mother, even if she is a thief or a fraudster, is a basic determinant of a young person's wellbeing. Corston reckons that 18,000 children a year are affected by what is a cruel punishment that they have done nothing to deserve.
Ah, but if a woman persists in a life of crime she must take the consequences. But more than a third of adult women in prison have no previous convictions.
Women's crimes are most often - 36 per cent - theft and handling stolen goods, crimes that may go hand in hand with the men they know who are doing the thieving and asking for a bit of help: "Pop this in the back of the wardrobe, love, until I come and get it."
It would be naive to think that women can't be criminals in their own right. Some are thoroughly dangerous and need to be kept away from the public for a very long time. But it is interesting that the worst of all - even Myra Hindley and Rosemary West - committed their appalling crimes as the sidekicks of men. In the scramble to unlock the genetic markers for crime, it may well be that women come off better.
Women fare particularly badly in prison. They self harm, they have mental health and drug problems. When they come out, they often find that they have lost their living accommodation. These are people in need of help.
I hear that a NHS team providing support in Holloway prison was asked whether, if the women were to live in smaller family units, they would still be able to contain and treat their chaotic and wayward behaviour. The answer was a confident "yes".
Closing prisons and treating women nearer to their homes is a small but significant reform. It is a can-do option for the Government, with no downside in terms of social impact. It is possible that Government's plans to build three mega-prisons of 2,500 places each at a cost of some £2 billion have leached away the money that could have gone to this more progressive proposal. It may be that ministers fear the punitive tendency in popular debate.
... It is regrettable that real concern for women suffers in the rush to lock up more and more men !!!
"Any fool can have a child -- that doesn't make you a father," Obama said to cheers of agreement. "Too many fathers are missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities. They are acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families have suffered because of it.
"You and I know this is true everywhere but nowhere is it more true than in the African-American community. We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households. Half. There's a reason why our families are in disrepair and some of it has to do with a tragic history, but we can't keep on using that as an excuse."
Obama knows the problem of fatherlessness first-hand. His father left when he was two years old, leaving him to be raised largely by his white grandparents in Honolulu.
"I know the toll it took on me not having a father in the house -- the hole in your heart when you don't have a male figure in the home that can guide you and lead you and set a good example for you," Obama said. "So I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to break the cycle -- if I could do anything in life, I would be a good father to my children."
Obama gave the same advice to this congregation that he has to largely African-American audiences he has spoken to around the country from Texas to Indiana: turn off the television set.
"It's a wonderful thing if you are married and living in a home with your children, but don't just sit in the house watching 'SportsCenter' all weekend long," Obama said. "As fathers and parents, we've got to spend more time with them, and help them with their homework, and turn of the TV set once in a while. Turn off the video game and the remote control and read a book to your child."
Obama chose this 20,000-member mega church in Woodlawn because its legendary pastor, Bishop Arthur M. Brazier, who retired two weeks ago after 48 years at the helm, is a friend and former law client.
"I'm the same young lawyer that helped you get a parking lot, that's all I am, I haven't changed," Obama told Brazier as he took the pulpit Sunday.
Obama has taken a lot of heat for doing legal work for now convicted developer and businessman Tony Rezko. Technically, Obama and his former law partners have argued that Obama did not work for Rezko, but for Brazier and his church groups that were partnering with Rezko to build low income housing on the South Side.
Obama's former law partner Allison Davis, who left Obama's old firm to become a developer and play a major role in putting together many of those housing projects, sat in the audience Sunday.
"I am very happy to see my dear friend Allison Davis," Brazier called out to Davis, having him stand.
Obama and his family recently quit the Trinity United Church of Christ, whose former pastor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, created national controversy when his sermons criticizing Hillary Clinton and blasting American foreign policy as playing a role in the 9-11 attacks.
Obama brought his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Melia with him to Sunday's service but did not announce whether he was considering making this congregation their new church.
Obama mentioned Jesus Christ many times during his sermon and said people ask him how he puts up with the rigors of the campaign.
In a speech, Mr Justice Coleridge, a Family Division judge for England and Wales, said "wholesale collapse" is pushing children into drugs and crime.
He said ministers are not doing enough about a "meltdown" in family life.
The government defended its record on the family and said most children were "safe, healthy, and achieve well".
In a speech in Brighton to lawyers from Resolution, formerly the Solicitors' Family Law Association, the judge warned of a "cancerous" increase in broken families and said the government must take "comprehensive action".
The judge said those who witnessed the goings-on inside family courts would be aware of it being a "never ending carnival of human misery - a ceaseless river of human distress".
And, using very strong language, Mr Justice Coleridge warned of a bleak future if the UK did not address the problems he described.
He said "the effects of family breakdown" would, within the next 20 years, be "as marked and as destructive as the effects of global warming".
"We are experiencing a period of family meltdown whose effects will be as catastrophic as the meltdown of the ice caps," said the judge, who added that its effects pose "as big a threat to the future of our society as terrorism, street crime or drugs".
Mr Justice Coleridge said the collapse of family life is at a scale and severity that would have been unimaginable even 10 years ago.
"What is certain is that almost all of society's social ills can be traced directly to the collapse of the family life," he said.
However, Mr Justice Coleridge, who heads family courts in the south west of England, did not criticise single parents directly.
"I am not saying every broken family produces dysfunctional children but I am saying that almost every dysfunctional child is the product of a broken family.
"And what is government doing to recognise and face up to the emerging situation? The answer is: very little and nothing like enough.
"It is fiddling whilst Rome burns."
Mr Justice Coleridge outlined a number of recommendations to improve the societal ills he described.
The suggestions included placing family justice at the top of the political agenda; allocating more staffing and money to family issues; better funding for contact centres to aid family cohesion; and extensive reforms of the laws relating to divorce, cohabitation and financial relief.
On the issue of legal reforms, Mr Justice Coleridge said divorce law and those relating to financial orders were "last properly reformed two generations ago, in the mid-60s, when society was altogether different.
"The current laws are not suited to modern social mores of the way we live now."
But the Department for Children, Families and Schools disagreed with the judge's assessment.
A spokeswoman for the department said: "We do not agree that there has been a breakdown in the family - 70% of families are headed by a married couple...
"And a recent BBC poll suggests that three-quarters of people in Britain are optimistic about the future of their families, 24% higher than when the same question was asked in 1964."
She added the government had pledged more than £250m to develop local services for parents in England, focused on those in "challenging circumstances".
David Laws, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for children, schools and families, said the judge was highlighting trends dating back at least 20 years.
"This government is not the source of the family breakdown problem but policies such as the operation of tax credits have made it more difficult for some families to bring up children in stable, two-parent households," he said.
With ID fraud on the rise, the assumption is you'll lose money which can be claimed back. But Simon Bunce lost his job, and his father cut off contact, when he was arrested after an ID fraudster used his credit card details on a child porn website.
Simon Bunce used to be a keen internet shopper, delighted to escape the hordes and have goods delivered to his door. Wary of fly-by-night operators, he bought only from big name retailers with secure websites.
But then, four years ago, he was astonished to find himself embroiled in Operation Ore, the UK's largest ever police hunt against internet paedophiles. He was arrested on suspicion of possession of indecent images of children, downloading indecent images of children and incitement to distribute indecent images of children.
Hampshire Police took away his computer and data storage devices including flash drives, CDs and floppy disks, as well as examining the computer and storage devices that he used at work.
The effect was devastating. When his employers became aware of the reason he had been arrested, he was abruptly dismissed from his £120,000 a year job, and close members of his family disowned him.
"I made the mistake of telling my father, and he cut me off," Mr Bunce says. "He then told all my siblings and they also cut us off."
Suddenly deprived of his income, Mr Bunce had to consider selling the family home. But his wife, Kim, stuck by him, and supported his mission to clear his name.
Mr Bunce knew he was innocent - he had never downloaded indecent images, and so he knew that the police would not find any evidence on the computers or storage devices they had taken away.
But the police's computer technicians take several months to examine these, and Mr Bunce could not afford to wait to repair the damage done to his reputation. "I knew there'd been a fundamental mistake made and so I had to investigate it."
Identity fraud occurs when personal information is used by someone else to obtain credit, goods or other services fraudulently. Recent surveys suggest that as many as one in four Britons have been affected by it. In 2007 more than 185,000 cases of identity theft were identified by Cifas, the UK's fraud prevention service, an increase of almost 8% on 2006.
Operation Ore targeted suspected paedophiles believed to have been downloading indecent images of children, those whose credit card details had been used to buy pornography via an American portal called Landslide - the gateway site and central credit card handler for hundreds of websites.
Hundreds of successful prosecutions ensued, with extensive media coverage given to high profile suspects, including actor Chris Langham of The Thick of It.
As Landslide was based in the United States and under investigation there, Mr Bunce was able to use the US Freedom of Information Act to obtain a complete copy of all of the relevant material, including databases, access logs and credit card information, together with detailed information of the webmasters, which allowed him to find out how his credit card details had been used.
Each computer has a unique internet protocol number, or IP address, which identifies the specific computer and its geographic whereabouts whenever it is used to access the internet.
Mr Bunce discovered that the computer used to enter his credit card details was in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the date and time that his credit card details were entered onto the Landslide website was at a time when he could prove that he was using the same card in a restaurant in south London.
"I can't be in two places at once, so somehow my data had got to the man in Indonesia."
He was also able to discover that his credit card details had been obtained from a popular online shopping site, but he doesn't know how these came to be in the hands of a criminal.
The man responsible for using his credit card details hid behind the online name "Miranda" - a webmaster who hosted and produced pornographic websites and received a commission from Landslide for subscriptions to his website which were paid by credit card. "Miranda" had used Mr Bunce's credit card details - without his knowledge - to take out a subscription to one of his websites.
In September 2004, the police told Mr Bunce they would not proceed with any action against him. They had not found indecent material, and accepted that it wasn't him who had entered his credit card details on the Landslide website
It took another six months before he got another job, earning a quarter of the salary he'd earned before his arrest.
Mr Bunce has also reconciled with his family, having explained to them how he came to be implicated and then cleared. Are bygones bygones? "I've forgiven them [my family] - there's no point in bearing a grudge."
Four years on, he is bringing a High Court action against the shopping website for allowing his personal details to be compromised. So no more internet shopping? "No, no, no. Once bitten, twice shy," says Mr Bunce, who now sells encryption services.
"I wouldn't say that I live in the cash economy now, but I'd rather go to the bank to withdraw money to buy petrol, as you hear of card details being harvested at garages. I'm paranoid about data security. I shred everything, I never use credit cards anymore.
"Being arrested and accused of what is probably one of the worst crimes known to man, losing my job, having my reputation run through the mud, it's a living nightmare."
By Stephen Baskerville, Ph.D
January 15, 2008
A commonplace of the American Revolution held that citizens must have a love for liberty and a willingness to sacrifice and fight for it. Otherwise, no paper constitution alone can ever preserve their freedom.
Today, it is becoming equally commonplace that this spirit of liberty is leaving Americans, that we are becoming "a nation of sheep," as Judge Andrew Napolitano puts it in a new book, who acquiesce in the progressive abrogation of our Constitution and liberty.
This is plausibly attributed to several factors: mass affluence, cultural decadence, the loss of religious faith. But I believe one major factor has been seriously overlooked: the breakdown of the family and the growth of divorce. Moreover, this is not some nebulous "cultural" contributor that somehow saps Americans' willingness to defend their freedom. The cause-and-effect is directly demonstrable. The reason is that we are now raising our children according to the principles of tyranny.
Divorce sends many harmful messages to children and future citizens: that we can break vows we make to God and others; that family members may be discarded at will. But among the most destructive are about the role of government: that government is their de facto parent that may exercise unlimited power (including remove and criminalize their real parent) merely by claiming to act for their greater good.
While feminists push divorce-on-demand as a "civil liberty," in practice divorce has become our society's most authoritarian institution.
Some 80% of divorces are unilateral: the action of one spouse alone and over the objection of the other. One spouse's "freedom" to leave a freely contracted marriage, therefore, means tyranny over the other spouse in forcibly separating him from his home, property, and most seriously, his children. And while marriage is an agreement freely entered into by both parties, with only a nominal role for the government, unilateral divorce must be enforced by the coercive machinery of the state. Otherwise, the involuntary divorced spouse may continue to claim the right to live in the common home, to enjoy the common property, and above all, to parent the common children. These must be curtailed, or at least controlled, by the state.
This entails a massive extension of government power - and straight into precisely the realm from which its exclusion until now virtually defines freedom and limited government: the realm of private life.
The moment either spouse files for divorce, even if the other is legally unimpeachable, the government takes control of the children, who become effectively wards of the state. Unauthorized contact by a parent becomes a crime, and the excluded parent can be arrested and incarcerated without trial through a variety of other means that by-pass constitutional due process protections: domestic violence accusations, child abuse accusations, inability to pay "child support," even inability to pay attorneys' fees.
Legal jargon and clichés like "divorce," "custody battle," and "child support" have led Americans to acquiesce in this massive intrusion of state power over their freedom. We don't say that the government arbitrarily took away someone's children; we say he "lost custody." We don't say a legally innocent citizen was interrogated by government agents over how he lives his private life; we say there was a "custody battle." We don't say a citizen was incarcerated without trial or charge for debt he could not possibly pay and did nothing to incur; we say he "didn't pay his child support." These clichés and jargon inure us to tyranny.
But worst of all, we are raising generations of children to believe that police and jails exist not to protect us from dangerous criminals but to keep away one of their parents, and that the criminal justice apparatus may be marshaled against family members who have committed no legal infraction.
Using instruments of public criminal justice to punish private hurts turns the family into government-occupied territory. The children experience family life not as a place of love, cooperation, compromise, trust, and forgiveness. Instead they receive a firsthand lesson in tyranny. Empowered by the state and functioning essentially as a government official, the custodial parent can issue orders to the non-custodial parent, undermine his authority with the children, dictate the terms of his access to them, talk to and about him contemptuously and condescendingly in the presence of the children as if he were himself a naughty child - all with the backing of state officials.
Eventually the children understand that the force keeping away one of their parents is the police, who are the guarantors of the custodial parent's supremacy. Thus the message the children receive about both the family and the state is that they are dictatorships, ruled by an arbitrary power which can be marshaled against private enemies and even family members for personal grievances. If a loved one disagrees with us or hurts our feelings or is simply no longer desired, there is no need for forgiveness because a telephone call will have him removed, and the police will make sure he stays away. And if the police can be used to arrest Dad because he does something Mom doesn't like, what will they do to me if I do something Mom doesn't like?
After witnessing this dictatorship over the non-custodial parent, the children may then experience it themselves. Lacking firm authority that is in any sense moral, as well as any effective restraints on her behavior, the custodial parent now exercises unchecked power over the children as well, a relationship that becomes increasingly strained and acrimonious as the children grow older, less credulous, and more rebellious. As the children react adversely to this destruction of their home and father, or as the cute and cuddly children become rebellious adolescents, they can be turned over to state agencies by their mothers, as large numbers now are. If more vigorous instruments are required, various arms of the state - psychotherapists, police, and penal institutions - can be marshaled against the children as well. Thus the drugging and institutionalization of children in foster care, psychiatric hospitals, juvenile detention facilities, and jails that has become increasingly familiar.
In July 2001, The Progressive magazine detailed how "parents" are now turning their troublesome teenagers whom they cannot control over to the police. Overwhelmingly, though the politically correct article does not point this out, these parents are single mothers. In the single-mother home, "Wait till your father gets home," has been replaced by, "I can turn you over to Social Services."
On the other hand, perhaps someday they can commandeer the police and jails against family members with whom they have differences or against anyone who hurts their feelings. While many children are materially impoverished by family breakdown, in other cases the systematic bribery dispensed by the divorce industry extends to the children themselves, who may be rewarded for their cooperation with material opulence, forcibly extracted from their father and used to corrupt his children and give them too a stake in his plunder and exile.
It is not difficult to see that this is a highly unhealthy system to have in a free society. In fact, the logic is reminiscent of another system of domestic dictatorship that once tried unsuccessfully to co-exist with free civil government. Politically, the most powerful argument against slavery - and what eventually did more than any other to bring about the realization of how threatening it was to democratic freedom - was less its physical cruelty than its moral degeneracy: the tyrannical habits it encouraged in the slaveholder, the servile ones it fostered in the slave, and the moral degradation it engendered in both. Such dispositions were said to be incompatible with the kind of republican virtue required for free self-government.
Abolitionist Charles Sumner's warning of slavery's impact on the moral development of white children growing up in slave societies was at least as alarming as concerns about cruelty to black ones. "Their hearts, while yet tender with childhood, are necessarily hardened by this conduct, and their subsequent lives perhaps bear enduring testimony to this legalized uncharitableness," he wrote. "They are unable to eradicate it from their natures.... Their characters are debased, and they become less fit for the magnanimous duties of a good citizen." Something similar may be seen today in the children of the divorce regime. No people can remain free who harbor within themselves a system of dictatorship or raise their children according to its principles.
© 2008 Stephen Baskerville - All Rights Reserved
(IsraelNN.com) A new Knesset subcommittee for fathers' rights in divorce and child-custody proceedings held its first meeting Monday.
The Subcommittee on the Family Crisis in Israel was presided over by its chairman, MK Chaim Amsalem (Shas). Committee member and initiator Avraham Ravitz (UTJ) delivered the opening statement which ignited a stormy clash between government representatives and rights groups.
"This committee is dealing with the life and death issues faced by thousands of children, mothers and fathers in Israel," MK Ravitz said. He expressed hopes that the committee will fix legislation that makes it too easy for false claims to be filed against divorced fathers resulting in their being cut off from visiting their children.
(IsraelNN.com) The Knesset's Subcommittee for the Examination of Claims of Legal Severity Against Men in the Areas of Welfare and Family held a stormy meeting on Tuesday to discuss the gender disparity in custody arrangements granted to divorced parents. While 35 percent of divorced fathers have custody of their children in the United States and European countries, one men's rights activist said, in Israel only 2.3 percent have custody. "Are Jewish men that bad?" he asked rhetorically.
Shouting broke out when female social services representatives said that family violence is more often directed against women, and again when male activists said violence against men was ignored. Several men said that divorced women could easily file false claims of violence in order to win full custody, with one man calling the legal system "feminist and fanatic." Lawyers joined the fray as well, with one lawyer saying her male clients "sit across from me and cry like babies... they want to see their children but aren't allowed to."
Below are the 7 candidates of the Men's Rights in the Family (Ra-ash) list running for the 16th Knesset.
1. Jakov Schlosser
2. El-Hai Avikzar
3. Abraham Torati
4. Shmuel Grinberg
5. Haim Ariha
6. Oded Davidson
7. Sium Tadela
A mother who poured a kettle of boilling water over her five-year-old son to get back at his father who had left her has been jailed for 10 years.[/size]
The victim, now aged 17, suffered burns to more than 20% of his body.
He told Cardiff Crown Court his mother called him to the kitchen and said "I'm sorry I've got to do this".
The 36-year-old woman insisted the incident was an accident and admitted lying at the time because she feared her son would be taken into care.
The judge at Cardiff Crown Court told the 36-year-old, who cannot be named, that she had "failed her first and greatest responsibility as a parent".
Judge Phillip Richards added the mother had become "the danger" to her son.
"The first and greatest responsibility of a parent is to protect his or her child from danger," he said.
"You not only failed to do that but you became the danger and you caused your son horrific injuries."
The victim had told the court that he was still full of rage over his mother's actions and wanted to make her pay.
He said he did not tell anybody about the incident until the autumn of 2004, because she had told him she would kill herself if he did.
The teenager said that on the day he was injured his mother had told him his father did not want to see him and did not love him.
"She called me out the kitchen and said 'Sorry I've got to do this' and tips the kettle over my chest," he told the court.
"She said, 'now your effing father will come and see you'."
Before sentencing, Judge Richards was told that the mother, from Cardiff, had been before the court on five previous occasion for a total of 13 offences involving dishonesty.
He told her: "There is no punishment that I can impose which will be as dreadful as the punishment you gave to your young son.
"You built up a resentment for your position as being left as a single parent.
"Your son's father did not turn up that day as intended and over the course of the day your resentment drove you to behave in a way in a way no mother should.
"You entirely lost your patience with your son and carried out this appalling act of pouring boiling water over him.
"You punished your child for wrongs you believed have been done to you by your former partner."
The mother claimed she had boiled the kettle to pour on an ants' nest at her kitchen door and had spilled the water after bumping into him.
She told the court she would never hurt her son to get back at his father.
But the jury rejected the explanation and delivered a unanimous guilty verdict of grievous bodily harm with intent in July.
After the verdict, an impact statement was read out in court by prosecuting barrister Michael Mather-Lees.
It explained how the incident had affected the victim's life and how he had even contemplated suicide.
"I can't even begin to explain the pain I felt when this happened to me as a young innocent child," the statement said.
"My memories are of the burning feeling, the pain on a scale of 10 was 10.
"The pain was constant, all day, every day sitting there, crying because of the pain, it would never go away.
"I have memories of my mother telling me she would kill herself if I ever told the truth and this made me feel scared that if she did kill herself it would be my fault.
"My mother made me feel like a bad person. She would batter me and I would be too scared to say," it added.
The teenager also described how unwilling he was to was to show his body and wore clothes to hide his scars.
"I got my burns for nothing. I don't deserve to have these scars - I have been punished for nothing - because one woman never loved her son," he said.