Monday, 20 August 2001

Western Daily Press - Divorced fathers in custody protest

DIVORCED fathers demonstrated outside the country homes of two judges who they claim take the side of mothers in custody cases.

The group targeted two properties in Somerset calling for the courts to be more sympathetic to pleas for equal access to children.

The fathers chanted slogans and waved banners and placards outside the home of Justice Graham Cotterall, at Curry Rivel, near Langport.

He was out on Saturday afternoon but they left a letter setting out a claim for equal access made by the Equal Parenting Council.

They then took their protest a few miles away to the Lynch Country House Hotel, at Somerton, which is also the home of Justice Joy Bracewell.

One of the protesters was father-of-three Mark Harris who has been fighting for equal access to his children for eight years.

Mr Harris, of Plympton, Plymouth, said:

"Divorced wives can move their boyfriends into their home and they don't have to get welfare reports to have access to the kids. There is a great injustice and the judges could bring about change." He claimed courts generally ruled in favour of mothers with only limited access for the father, even when the man has good social service and welfare reports.

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