Sunday, 17 November 2013

Martin Magee-CEO of Focus learning trust's Dunstable campus

Martin Magee, the man who denied an excommunicated teenager a bible and destroyed the same mans family, amongst others is now rather peculiarly CEO at the Dunstable campus Plymouth brethren Christian church school.

His accomplice and fellow 'hatchet man' W.Phillip Green also plied a bloody trade in the region, destroying families being their stock in trade.

There are some VERY interesting documents relating to this very cruel pair of men who are still both at large and furthermore respected elders amongst the Plymouth brethren Christian church.

Messrs. Hales, Christie and Hazell really do choose some strange bedfellows to help run their little 'Firm'.


  1. I remember this event - in fact I remember reading it in my local paper. It was just one year after I had got my MSc in Counselling and had completed therefore the first study on the mental health of former members of the Exclusive Brethren. I remember this event as very worrying - it seemed to signal a change in the brethren's activities. Kidnapping was what the big cults do and was a very key moment really.

    That the perpetrator is now in such a key position - well this would be ok if he had really apologised to all those concerned - has he done so?

    How is the boy now- he has of course become a man but are the traumatic events of those days still affecting him?


  2. The legal notes to this case are interesting:

    1993 2 FLR

    Court of Appeal

    Purchas and Balcombe LJJ

    4th September 1992

    The boy, now aged nearly 10, was born to a father who was a member of the Exclusive Brethren. There was no flexibility or leniency shown to an adult who offended against the concepts and doctrines of the fellowship. Two penalties were imposed: the first was that of being ‘shut up’, which was a temporary exclusion from the fellowship which could be swiftly removed on admission of fault and repentance. The second and more serious penalty was to be ‘withdrawn from’, which meant absolute ostracism from the fellowship including the member’s own immediate family. The father was withdrawn from after offending certain tenets of the fellowship. He then married a woman outside the fellowship and about 5 years after the birth of the boy concerned, the mother died of cancer. Before her demise, the family was received into the fellowship from which the father obtained employment. The father was withdrawn from a second time. Attempts were made by members of the fellowship to obtain the father’s voluntary consent to their care of the child. The father signed a document agreeing to that effect, but adding that if the child should wish to return to him at any time, he should be allowed to do so. On the following day, he was told officially that he had been withdrawn from. On being withdrawn from the community, the father had little or no contact with the child. The sect members applied for a residence order, leave having been obtained. The father lodged his answer and applied for the return of and contact with his child. An order was made providing for the father to have both visiting and staying contact. Attempts by the father for contact failed and he had to return to court on more than one occasion. The sect members, whilst making no effort to assist, indulged in actions calculated to have an effect on the child’s conscience and split his emotions by deliberately assembling at the school and at the court for the handovers. The matter was resolved by an order providing for the boy to stay with his father for a fortnight, during which period the court welfare officer was able to make an impartial observation of the boy with his father. The report gave a favourable impression of the warm and positive relationship between father and son. Following harassment by members of the fellowship in various forms, the father moved to another address with his son. The judge found, inter alia, that during the struggle for possession, the boy had suffered considerable harm, that his emotional needs were clearly a matter of great concern and that although he held a deep and sincere conviction that he wished to stay within the disciplines and tenets of the fellowship, he also expressed the wish to be with his father. There were two courses open to the judge: either to commit the boy to a life within the fellowship, in which case he would be cut off from his father, or to rehabilitate the child with the father outside the fellowship. There was no middle course.

    to be continued ...

  3. After a full hearing, the judge made a residence order in favour of the father providing: (1) that the child should live with him; and (2) that upon the aunt’s undertaking not to speak or communicate with the child in any way in relation to religious or spiritual matters or make any reference to the Exclusive Brethren as a religious group, that he should visit the aunt initially under the supervision of the court welfare service, later without supervision and finally for staying access. A second order provided for a local authority officer to be made available to advise, assist and, where appropriate, befriend both the father and the child and for the child to be examined by a professional and to receive treatment, where appropriate, concerning his emotional needs. No order was made on the applications of the sect members for contact and residence.

    They and the aunt now appealed.

    to be continued ...

  4. HELD – dismissing the appeal –

    (1) It was no part of the judicial function to judge or to comment upon the beliefs, tenets, doctrines or rules of any particular section of society, provided that those were legally and socially acceptable and sincerely held. The only relevance of the beliefs and doctrines of a particular group of Christians was the effect those beliefs and doctrines had had and would have on the child concerned. It followed that the impact of the beliefs, tenets, doctrines and rules of that society upon a child’s future welfare must be one of the relevant circumstances to be taken into account when applying the provisions of s 1 of the Children Act 1989. The provisions of that section did not alter in their impact from one case to another and they were to be applied in accordance with the generally accepted standards of society, bearing in mind that the paramount objective of the exercise was promoting the child’s welfare, not only in the immediate but also in the medium and long-term future during his or her minority.
    (2) The task of the judge was not to assess the depth of the child’s convictions on religious and social matters or his desire to continue life within the fellowship. The fact that the convictions existed was one of the features which he had to take into account when considering the expressed views and feelings of the child which were not paramount considerations per se.
    (3) A judge’s decision whether or not personally to interview a child was above all a question for the exercise of a judicial discretion. The judge’s decision not to interview the child could not be criticised, especially as he was fully aware of the strong views held by the child as revealed in the welfare officer’s report.
    (4) On the facts, the judgement was one of discretion and assessment after hearing all the evidence. It was a decision which was plainly right, the judge having completely satisfied himself that it was in the child’s best interests to be with his father and provided the father and son received assistance and treatment in the form of a family assistance order from the social services to help them cope with the change in their lives. The appellate court would not therefore interfere.

    Statutory provision considered: Children Act 1989, s 1

    Cases referred to in judgment
    C v C(A Minor)(Custody: Appeal)[1991] 1 FLR 223, CA
    G v G (Minors: Custody Appeal)[1985] FLR 894, [1985] 1 WLR 647, [1985] 2 All ER 225, HL
    T (Minors)(Custody: Religious Upbringing), Re[1981] 2 FLR 239, CA

  5. and finally some comments about charity:

    In arriving at his judgment the Judge said:

    There is one other matter to take into account in considering Mr and Mrs X’s capabilities, and that is, that they both appear to lack any degree of charity towards A and his father. They have made no effort to make the whole series of incidents [and I interpose those are the incidents over the long history of the failed attempts at access in accordance with the court order] which have occurred since this case began less traumatic for this small boy, who must have suffered considerable harm during this struggle for possession. ... They could have ensured that the handovers ordered by the court took place smoothly without any distress to A, but instead they deliberately assembled at the school and at the court, knowing that this would have an effect on the poor child’s conscience and split his emotions in two. This showed a lack of love towards this child that I found incomprehensible. [The father] may have been withdrawn from by the Brethren, but he showed much more love and concern for A’s feelings than anyone else in this case.

    Mr Young (for the brethren) said that the fellowship objected to the use of the word ‘charity’ in this context and that the fellowship had charity, generally speaking, and always had charity. On the question of the detailed conduct of the Brethren in the context of ‘charity’, Mr Young submitted that such were the strict tenets and doctrines and rules of the fellowship that conduct which would in persons outside the fellowship call for criticism and comment in the context outlined by the judge, the Brethren were to be excused because they were merely complying with their own strict doctrines.


  6. Thank you Anon for digging out these legal notes. They add to the several comments that judges in family courts have made about unacceptable conduct and unacceptable attitudes on the part of Exclusive Brethren, such as incomprehensible lack of love, lack of any degree of charity, and in previous cases lack of compassion, lack of honesty and emotional abuse.

    Many of us on many occasions have witnessed or experienced all of these things and worse among Exclusive Brethren, but the descriptions carry more weight when they come from a judge.