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Arrest of UK F4J Protester-Much Ado about Nothing
Birmingham, England--One problem for dads in divorce is that they can often be arrested and get bad publicity for things which really are quite trivial and meaningless. As an example, take the recent UK headline Spider-Man arrested for harassing ex-wife. Sounds bad, right? Yet all that really happened is that fathers' rights activist Ray Barry (pictured as "Spiderman" at a Fathers 4 Justice protest) "was quizzed [by police] after distributing a leaflet containing details of his marriage split." According to Barry: "The leaflet details my belief that the family courts do not deliver justice and so I have to seek it differently, through the public. The leaflet was not much different to one I had been using for the past four or five years." The "58-year-old claimed not to have seen two of his three children for eight years and had only fortnightly access to the other." So his crime? Distributing a leaflet complaining about his mistreatment in family court and by his ex-wife. Big deal. 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. But here Barry has been unlawfully cut off from his children for 8 years and--gasp--distributes a leaflet complaining about it in the neighborhood, and he gets arrested?! Sounds pretty cockeyed to me. And why have there been no legal consequences for the wife cutting Barry off from his children? The article is excerpted below. I met Ray at the Men's Equality Congress in Washington DC last year--seemed like a nice guy. Spider-Man arrested for harassing ex-wife By James Cartledge Birmingham News, 3/17/08 A FORMER Birmingham civil servant who occupied a church roof dressed as Spider-Man has been arrested on suspicion of harassing his ex-wife. Fathers' rights activist Ray Barry, who worked at Jobcentre Plus, in Hagley Road, Edgbaston, was quizzed after distributing a leaflet containing details of his marriage split. He twice scaled St Peter's Church, Wolverhampton, in 2005, as part of the Fathers 4 Justice campaign and now plans to stand for election on a family law reform ticket. "The leaflet details my belief that the family courts do not deliver justice and so I have to seek it differently, through the public," Mr Barry said. "The leaflet was not much different to one I had been using for the past four or five years. "The questions I was asked by the police seemed really rather innocuous." Mr Barry, of Windsor Gardens, Castlecroft, Wolverhampton, distributed the leaflet around Tettenhall in the city, near his ex-wife Liz's home. The 58-year-old claimed not to have seen two of his three children for eight years and had only fortnightly access to the other. He said he planned to stand in this year's Wolverhampton City Council elections for the Equal Parenting Alliance, which campaigns to reform family law. Mr Barry now runs an insurance and personal injury consultancy is demanding greater openness in family court proceedings. West Midlands Police said a 58-year-old man had been arrested and bailed on suspicion of harassment.