Oxford

Polish woman accused of contempt of court given Christmas reprieve

A Polish woman accused of breaching a judge's order after naming her daughter when interviewed by a journalist in her native language has been told she can spend Christmas at home.

Oxfordshire County Council's social services accused her of being in contempt of court.

The woman, who lives near Oxford, appeared before Judge Simon Oliver at a hearing in Reading.

He said she could still be jailed in the New Year if she breached orders.

The authority had asked for her to be committed to prison but Judge Oliver adjourned the application with the approval of council lawyers.

'Free speech issues'

The judge told the woman she must not identify herself or her daughter when speaking about the case, as evidence showed publicity would distress the teenager.

But while the woman said she was happy not to identify her teenage daughter in English, she thought it unfair to restrict her when speaking in her own language.

A representative of the Polish Embassy in London was present at the hearing.

Former Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, who campaigns for improvements in the family justice system, has raised concerns about the case.

He said the timing of the court appearance was cruel, and that the case raised free speech issues.

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