Sat | Oct 20, 2018

A child’s nightmare

Published:Tuesday | June 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM


Then, as kids are wont to do, he teased the classmate about his mother's misconduct, and the poor child fell into depression, refusing to go to school, and, when forced to attend, refusing to settle down and learn.

In pre-Internet days, the court's registry was the only place one could visit to obtain details on a case. You would have had to have a satisfactory reason to be given a hard-copy document on file. Hence, a 13-year-old child living outside of Jamaica was virtually locked out of his classmate's family's private business.

The children's advocate, in an effort to prevent a repeat of this unfortunate incident, will now have to go back to the drawing board to create rules relating to custody cases and how they should be reported. These custody cases invariably involve the washing of dirty linen in the judge's private chambers, with no intention of them being exposed to the public.

In the instant case, the child's entire name was spelt out in the written judgment of the court. It was the parents' names in the title of the judgment that led to the child's identity. In some reported cases, to protect exposing the child's identity, there is the use of a single letter of the alphabet in place of the child's correct name.

This child's nightmare should not have happened. There are innovative ways to deal with this problem. I leave it to our policymakers to find an immediate solution to this problem. The court's continuing and overriding interest remains the protection of the best interest of the child. That interest is now being subverted with the tap of a keyboard halfway around the globe.