Mon 21 Jun 2004 5:38pm (UK)
Fathers Campaign Group Stage Court Protests

By Helen Morgan, PA News

Campaign group Fathers 4 Justice staged a series of protests at courts across the country on Father’s Day to fight for equal access to their children, it emerged today.

The events involved padlocking doors to family court buildings with purple chains and padlocks and leaving cards signed by the campaign group.

Spokesman Jason Hatch said the group was responsible for chaining up court buildings in Gloucester, Worcester, Manchester and Liverpool. In Burton upon Trent purple graffiti was daubed on a court building by a member of the group, he said.

A spokesman from the Department of Constitutional Affairs confirmed that the front door of Gloucester Combined Court was chained shut and the back superglued.

He said purple paint had been used to write graffiti on Burton upon Trent County Court and a gate was chained at Worcester. He said there had been no incidents reported in Manchester or Liverpool.

The campaign group said the protest was “a symbolic move to make the point that the Family Courts are routinely barring children’s access to perfectly good parents”.

Mr Hatch said: “Obviously with Sunday being Father’s Day there were a lot of angry fathers who don’t have access to their children. In response we denied judges access to the courts.”

The group, who recently attacked the Prime Minister with a purple flour-filled condom in the House of Commons, has produced a “blueprint for family law” outlining proposals to change what it sees as a “failing” system.

He threatened that if there was no action from the Government, there would be “mass protests” through the summer.

A Gloucestershire Police spokeswoman said the force was investigating the incident at Gloucester County Court in which officers had to use bolt croppers to get the padlock off the door.

She said the incident was being treated at criminal damage.