London, England–Tim Line, a British veteran of the Falklands War, has scaled the roof of the home of one of England’s leading judges to protest being cut off from his three daughters. From Father explains Batman protest (www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk, 8/8/08):
ESTRANGED dad Tim Line is staging a rooftop protest at the home of Lord Justice Sir Mathew Thorpe in High Street, Seend.
Mr Line, 45, has joined the Fathers 4Justice group and is dressed in a Batman suit.
He climbed up a ladder this morning at about 5am and intends to stay on top of the roof for two days, until after the Seend Fete tomorrow afternoon.
Sir Mathew, one of the country’s most senior appeal judges and who has presided over family court hearings, is understand not to be at home. Police officers are at the house and keeping a watching brief.
Mr Line lived in Seend for 13 years but moved to Hilpteron near Trowbridge when his marriage broke down two years ago.
A former sergeant in the Royal Artillery Mr Line is now a self employed fencing contractor.
He said he had chosen today because it was the first anniversary of his last contact with his three daughters, aged 15, 14 and 12.
A district judge ordered him to have no contact other than to write to his daughters after hearing that his daughters did not want to see Mr Line.
Mr Line said he had written but had not received a reply so didn’t know if his daughters had received his letters.
He also disputes that his daughters don’t want to see him.
Sir Mathew has not sat on any of Mr Line’s court hearings to do with his children.
Mr Line said he had chosen Sir Mathew’s house to stage his protest as he is one of the most senior judges in the country and had the power to change the law at family courts or influence politicians.
Mr Line unfurled a banner on top of Sir Mathew’s house which says “I can live with anyone else’s kids but not my three girls. Dad loves you all. No contact for 365 days. Family courts harm children.”
Speaking to the Gazette from the roof by phone he said: “I have had no contact with my three girls for a year today. They only live 300 metres from where I am stood. You can imagine how painful that is.
“I have written to them and send them Christmas and birthday presents but have heard nothing. I want them to know that I love them and want to pay a meaningful role in their lives.
“I’m not a nutter. Other than a parking fine I have not been in court before. I want things to change, I want to see my girls. Fathers4Justice is not a load of crackpots, we are trying to make the Government and family law courts to try and change a few things which are not only damaging fathers but children as well”…
He removed a Union Jack flag which was flying and replaced it with a purple flag, purple is the colour adopted by Fathers4Justice and symbolises equality.
Mr Line added: “I haven’t caused any damage to the house and I haven’t been abusive and don’t intend to be. It was very difficult to get on to the roof but it was far easier to get on the roof than it is to see my children.”
I don’t know the details on his divorce and can’t vouch for him as a father. However, I have often seen mothers alienate children from their fathers, and exclude them from their lives, and then justify the exclusion because “the child doesn’t want to see you.” Yes, I’m sure at times this is really true, but many times it is simply a product of the mother’s malignant influence on the child and the relationship with the father. I salute Tim Line for his courageous protest.
As I’ve noted before, for a variety of reasons I don’t like it when protesters target judges’ homes or their ex-wives’ homes, and it isn’t generally done. For one, these confrontations can turn violent, as almost happened a couple years ago when Jolly Stainesby protested on a judge’s roof and the judge pulled out a shotgun and pointed it at him.
Two, it drags in the target’s family and children.
Three, it gives the target of the protest the opportunity to go into a big “I’m so frightened of these awful men” act, which generally plays well in the press. This is particularly true when the judge or official targeted is a woman.
Still, I think we have to acknowledge that there’s a difference between doing this kind of thing in the United States–a very violent society–and in England. From what I understand, this type of thing is seen as far less threatening there than it would be here. I wouldn’t recommend this type of protest in the US (though I would recommend other F4J-style protests), but I’ll defer to the UK F4J’s judgment about doing it there.