eicestershire County Council v KC & Ors  EWHC 1383 (Fam)
Judgment arising from fact finding in potential care proceedings.
The judgment concerns whether or not head injuries sustained by the 3 month old infant were a result of an accidental drop by the father or were non-accidental. Following the incident the parents had quickly attended hospital but over the subsequent few days were interviewed and then arrested by the police.
In this judgment Hogg J reviews the medical evidence from four separate doctors. None of the experts were prepared to commit as to whether the injuries were accidental or not, though one did add that regardless the circumstances were “unusual”. Hogg J, after directing herself as to the standards of proof test in Re B, and although finding it difficult to contemplate non-accidental injury, finds that the threshold criteria have not been met. She also adds comments on the smooth running of the case helped by the approach of counsel, the local authority and solicitors involved in the case.
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This is a very interesting case, the Child suffered from three fractures of the skull, the baby allegedly was dropped by accident, while the Mother was in the kitchen, the Father screamed, obviously shocked and dismayed, the Child had a nosebleed and mark to the head,and Dad couldn't remember if the baby hit the coffee table when he fell.
The injuries were very serious, but the Local Authority placed the Child with the Grandparents, under the Kin care clause while the incident was being investigated by the Police and Social Services, the LA did what they should of done under the Public Law Guidelines.
The Parents had regular supervised contact, within the Family Unit, Social Workers and all Medical staff, including Pediatric Radiologists, that were opinions for the LA,stated that they could not conclude that the fractures were due to non accidental injury,and other expert witnesses for the Parents, stated the same.
All Social Services assesments went well,and complimented on how well the Child was dressed and cared for, result the Child was returned to the Parents, even though the Child had serious head injuries.
A judgment, if in doubt do the decent thing and use the Kin care clause, and work with the Parents,and try and keep Families together, i applaud Leicestershire Social Services.the trauma for the Parents will be lifelong, my thoughts are with them.