Works at Sutton Hospital, Surrey. Runs Stepping Stones, a residential referral service for preadolescent children with severe emotional and behavioural problems. Lectures at St George’s Hospital Medical School and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Is hired out by the NCH as part of a forensic team: The Bridge.
Seems to specialise in offering his services as an 'expert witness' and trainer in the legal aspects of applying medical recommendations under the Mental Health Act.
Mike Shaw was called in as an expert witness to interview us and make recommendations. Yet the reports that he submitted to court were unbelievably sloppy and ill researched. Under cross examination, he was vague and inarticulate and could provide no concrete evidence to support his assertions and recommendations.
Luckily for us, he was so glaringly incompetent that we were allowed to repeat the process with another expert psychiatrist.
Here are some extracts from the psychiatric report that he submitted to court. Judge for yourself whether you can take anything this man does or says seriously. [Emphasis and notes in italics are mine.]
"On 9.8.02, I interviewed Mr & Mrs Orman [2 hours]
"On 21.8.02, I met the family at Trent Park where I spoke to Mrs Orman alone [40 mins], witnessed contact [1 hour] and spoke to the children without their parents [20 mins] [and] I interviewed the foster carer [2 hours].
"Mr & Mrs Orman were friendly and co-operative throughout.[…] Mr Orman showed insight [… but] wasn't concerned that his actions may have disadvantaged the children. The couple were very robust in refuting the Local Authority’s account, which they claimed was full of misunderstandings and misinformation.
"Contact took place in the park[…]The parents and children seemed happy to see each other; they chatted in animated style. […] I wasn't aware of either parent criticising the authorities in the children's presence
Interviewing the children
The children seemed attentive […] but answered "don't know", fell silent and looked at each other when I asked them questions […] Erin related [a Simpsons episode where] Homer […] had lumps coming out of his head because he kept his anger inside. I found myself wondering whether this was an oblique reference to concern about Mr Orman's temper but guessed that such an interpretation would be dismissed. [Note. This was submitted in court as an evidence-based legal document!]
Conclusions & Recommendations
"[…] I observed Mrs Orman as shy and anxious while Mr Orman was very pleasant but forceful. […]
"Mr and Mrs Orman say they have an easy affectionate bond with the children. So it is surprising that the foster carer finds the children uncomfortable with physical contact. […] I think there is some insecurity in the children's attachment to their parents. [Note how this directly contradicts his own observations in the park.]
"Were Mr Orman to be caring for the children on his own, I would be concerned about his sensitivity to their needs. […] Asked whether he had any regrets, Mr Orman didn't take any responsibility for the deprivation and disruption suffered by his children going into care. […] Erin [who was 8 at the time] needs a parent who can stand up to her without losing their temper, and support and advise socially. I suspect Mr Orman would find this difficult.
"My concern about Mrs Orman managing the children on her own would be a recurrence of her illness. […] I wonder whether Mrs Orman has the strength and patience to handle these very challenging [sic] children.
"[…]The children seemed very happy and natural with their parents during the contact I observed [sic] and the contact records make reference to the children wanting to go home.
"[…] returning home is likely to further retard the children's social and emotional development. […]
"These children have very little capacity to protect themselves from what is essentially emotional deprivation and possibly abuse. […] it is most unlikely that either parent can protect the children from any harm that the other parent might cause. I also find very plausible Ms [Charlotte] Curran's suggestion (… [in] her [written] statement) that Mr Orman dominates his wife.
"The children did not express a wish to return home when they spoke to me, but it seems safest to assume they would prefer to be at home and would be alarmed if that was not possible. [..] I believe the children need a long-term placement away from home with experienced foster carers. […] contact should be gradually reduced."
Mike Shaw's answers under cross-examination painted a dire picture of our mental competence and subsequent parenting abilities, but he was unable to point to any specific evidence that he had acquired in his 6-hour investigation. Yet he remained adamant in his conclusion that the children should be removed from the family indefinitely and contact gradually reduced until no further contact be allowed, so that the children could lead a normal and happy life. He could not comment on government statistics that show that 70% of all children placed in long-term foster care end up as delinquents.
Our children were eventually returned to us after we underwent a convoluted process to prove our competence as parents beyond a reasonable doubt; and the case was eventually closed.
So much for the scientific and critical appraisal of our family! And by a man who regularly provides expert legal evidence. He also trains psychiatrists in making competent medical recommendations that supposedly satisfy basic human rights conventions!
Please contact me if you have been a victim of Mike Shaw in any way.