Victory For Fathers' Rights Campaigner

Battle over for protester and former Scrubs inmate

A fathers' rights campaigner who served time in Wormwood Scrubs prison for one of his many high-profile protest stunts, has finally resolved an eight-year legal battle over access to his daughter.

Jonathan 'Jolly' Stanesby of Fathers 4 Justice, was sentenced to two months' imprisonment in 2008 following a rooftop protest at the south London home of Deputy Labour leader Harriett Harman.

But now Stanesby has reached a 'shared care agreement' with his ex-wife over access to the couple's 10-year-old daughter.

“It was as though I was locked up for wanting to see my daughter," Stanesby told his local newspaper, the Plymouth Herald. "She is now living with me half of the time and she's chuffed to bits – it's what we've always wanted.”

He said he had received dozens of letters of support from around the world while in jail at Wormwood Scrubs, where supporters gathered outside the DuCane Road site to protest against his sentence.

Stanesby and fellow demonstrator Mark Harris scaled Harriett Harman's house dressed as 'Captain Conception' and 'Cash Gordon' and once on top, unfurled a banner reading: 'A father is for life, not just conception'.

Temporarily moving out of her house, Harman commented that the "police have got more important things they could be doing".

Stanesby spent the night on the roof as part of a protest over the treatment of fathers in child custody battles, but was arrested the following day.

Following his release from Wormwood Scrubs in January this year, he struck a defiant note: "Hundreds of Suffragettes were imprisoned before they effected change, Nelson Mandela spent 30 years behind bars with international support before that corrupt government made changes, Martin Luther King was shot dead," he said.

Now, seven months later and with his custody battle over, he told the Plymouth Herald: "Research has proved that children without both parents are more likely to fall into gangs, crime, drugs, everything. One thing I found in prison was people were in there for things that mostly stemmed from family matters. A child like my daughter, who has seen eight years of this, is bound to be affected by it forever. How can she not be?"

Stanesby has carried out numerous high-profile stunts to draw attention to his cause, including handcuffing himself to minister Margaret Hodge in 2004 and climbing Stonehenge dressed as Fred Flintstone in 2007.


20 August 2009

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