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England and Wales Family Court Decisions (other Judges)
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales Family Court Decisions (other Judges) >> K & C (Children: Finding of Fact), Re  EWFC B85 (12 October 2018)
Cite as:  EWFC B85
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B e f o r e :
|In the matter of:|
|Re K & C (Children: Finding of Fact)|
Dr Austen Morgan - Counsel on behalf of Mother - Instructed by Equity Law Solicitors
Gudrun Fama - Counsel on behalf of Father - Instructed by Black White Solicitors
Lubeya Ramadhan - Counsel on behalf of Guardian? Instructed by The Head Partnership
____________________Date of the hearing:
Crown Copyright ©
His Honour Judge Moradifar:
a. On 11th June 2018, K had sustained a burn injury to her lower abdomen, perineum, mons pubis and labia extending down to the buttocks region and upper parts of the thighs. On 11th June 2018 K was admitted to her local hospital and thereafter was transferred to a specialist hospital. There were no observed splashes or tracking of hot fluid in any other area on K.
b. Injury was a contact burn caused by a flexible hot object, such as a cloth or sponge, being placed around the perineum within the nappy area. The injury could not have been the result of a brief wipe with a hot towel or flannel.
c. The injury was not caused as a result of a cup of tea being spilled on K
d. The mother has lied to medical professionals and the police as to the causation of the burn, stating that it was caused by a cup of tea on spilling onto K
e. The mother has lied to professionals in respect of the perpetrator of the injury
f. The mother has conspired with Y to mislead professionals in respect of both the mechanism for the burn and the perpetrator
g. No satisfactory explanation has been provided either by Y or by Mum that would explain how burns to K were caused
h. The injuries to K were non-accidentally inflicted by:i. The mother, orii. Y, oriii. In the alternative, the injuries were inflicted by either the mother or Y.
a. There was an overwhelming "bad smell". There was a saucepan on side in kitchen containing dark coloured liquid and unidentifiable material.
b. They saw a cup ring mark and some stains on the sheets
c. The washing machine in kitchen contained sheets and baby clothes; still damp – appeared to have just finished wash.
d. The bins searched and found a bag with several soiled nappies and green tissues which were sodden. Nappies did not have staining from tea. No items seized.
e. In bedroom about 1metre from foot of bed, there was a small stool/table on which sat a small plastic bowl. It contained cotton wool pad. This was dry.
Analysis and conclusion
Families are the building blocks of our society and in Public Law Proceedings, the Courts deal with some of the most vulnerable families. Professionals who work in the Family Justice System are highly skilled specialists who often work on complex cases involving serious intricate forensic issues. Their skill set and professional standards are essential for those who represent the parties in Public Law Proceedings. It is incumbent on those representing the parties facing serious allegations to ensure they have seen, read and understood all the evidence in the case and to ensure that the party who they represent has been able to participate meaningfully in the court process.
I note that in this case, neither the parents nor their Counsel were aware that there were coloured photographs of the injuries that were commented upon in detail in the written report of the jointly instructed expert. Until she was partway through giving oral evidence, the Mother had never seen the transcript of her police interview. Despite being in possession of Y's photograph, the mother's solicitors failed to mention this to the local authority or their own private investigator, resulting in much embarrassment when the wrong person was witness summonsed and attended Court. Counsel for the parents have both informed me that they are immigration specialists, consequently the other professionals have had to work very hard to make sure that the hearing could be fair and effective. The mother's evidence has taken much longer than necessary, which can only have made it more stressful than it needed to be. There is no room in the Family Court for such a lack of care and lackadaisical approach to case preparation.