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Child abuse via ...

'above the law' State Agencies

plus a Legal System that 'buries' victims.

The Soames Case

1. In 1972 Mr Soames migrated from Syria to Australia and in 1978 he married Linda who he had met on a home trip to Syria.  Not long after the couple's return to Australia Mr Soames discovered that his wife was mentally disturbed and tried several suicide attempts by overdosing herself with tablets. Linda was committed to a psychiatric hospital on the psychiatrist's recommendation, however she discharged herself and thereafter refused to take her medication. Her abnormal behaviour continued and she was again committed to another mental hospital after she attacked Mr Soames at his work place with a knife.

2. The couple's son Sammy was born in 1980. From his birth the baby was subjected to physical and later sexual abuse by his mother and other women. When Mr Soames tried to protect his son he faced racial and sexual prejudice from the responsible authorities. He encountered inexplicable opposition from government officers to whose care the child's safety was entrusted.

3. At the age of 4 years, Sammy was being mistreated by his mother, who was living in a Women's Refuge and in government housing after having discharged herself from a psychiatric hospital. Despite a report of a medical professional that there was evidence that the child was abused by a female over a period of time, the Department of Youth and Community Service helped the mother to gain custody in the Family Court. The medical report was dismissed by the judge as irrelevant. In court Mr Soames representing himself, was pitted against the legal professionals of the Department of Youth and Community Service.

4. Evidence was presented that the Women Refuge was covering up a widespread physical and sexual abuse of children. Despite Sammy showing in his behaviour clear signs of sexual abuse again the mother won custody with the judge commenting that, if there has been truth in the allegation of abuse the Department of Youth and Community Service would have investigated them a long time before. While the father retained the right to access to his son on three days, he did not see his son again for more than 2 years due to intervention of court orders, actions by departmental officers and a psychiatrist.

5. While the appeals and court appearance continued, Mr Soames contacted government departments, politicians, one of them being the current Prime Minister of Australia, priests and social welfare groups but those who attempted to help him were routinely told by the Department of Youth and Community Service that Mr Soames had bombed seven solicitors office. This allegation/character assassination was revealed to be without any foundation. Nevertheless, 9 solicitors dropped his case and hundreds refused to take it on, prompted by a combination of the stories about him and his inability to get legal aid.

6. Documents reveal how the State of NSW, through public servants, kept the boy with his mother despite clear expert evidence indicating that the child was being sexually and physically abused.

7. The authorities knew about the abuse from the time on when the boy was just weeks old to when he was six and a half years old. Instead of the system protecting the child from the horror abuse they left Sammy in a dangerous situation and proceeded to protect the people who were inflicting the abuse.

8. The Department of Youth and Community Service continued to fight vigorously, for a further 2 years, all efforts by the father to obtain custody or have the boy put into a foster home, during which time the child suffered further abuse including a serious bashing. The police never questioned or charged the man who bashed the child.

9. The matter was finally dealt with when the family court awarded custody to the father in 1986, aided by the intervention of the then Attorney General who appointed a Queensland judge to look at the case.

10.  Samy, now 20 years of age, is physically and mentally crippled and will have life-long problems resulting from the sexual and physical abuse during his entire childhood.

11.  20 years, 555 days in court and tens of millions of dollars of public funds later, the matter, which spanned civil, criminal and family law jurisdictions, reached its final chapter in June 2000. The Supreme Court of NSW found that, though the Department of Youth and Community Service was negligent, the link between negligence and damage can not be established therefore compensation is not paid. The court also found that police records, which would have presumably explained what actually happened, have disappeared raising the question that police officers could have been involved covering up their own negligence or the negligence of colleagues. The court also noted that it was appalling that it took Mr Soames almost twenty years to get the police services to take action on evidence that it had from almost the start of the matter.

12. The court granted a permanent stay of the criminal proceedings against the mother because of the passage of time. None of the officers of the responsible government departments have been charged despite the overwhelming evidence of very serious breaches of duty of care.

13.  A case of severe sexual and physical abuse of a child, very well documented over two decades, published in reputable newspapers of Australia and well known for years to legal professionals and government authorities, and to a broad range of politicians, including the present Prime Minister of Australia who took no action, has been finally simply buried by an unaccountable judge sitting in a courtroom with nobody found guilty and no compensation to be paid.

14.  Mr Soames and his son are not in a financial position to continue with this legal saga in a legal system system that protects the child's perpetrators and the responsible government authorities who allowed the 20 years of abuse and that utterly failed Sammy Soames throughout.

15.  The right of the child to be protected by law and the right to an effective remedy for abuse suffered have been grossly violated by the Australian Government.

Violations of local statute law and international covenants are involved.


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