IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
LEEDS DISTRICT REGISTRY
(Mr Justice Coleridge)
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE RIX
LADY JUSTICE ARDEN
|IN THE MATTER OF THE CHILDREN ACT 1989|
Smith Bernal Reporting Limited, 190 Fleet Street,
London EC4A 2AG
Tel: 020 7421 4040
Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
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"This is a very experienced judge for whom everyone would have the greatest possible respect. But the judge does have an obligation to give reasons why he should set aside the medical evidence, which was strong, in favour of his view that, because the grandmother and the other witnesses were clearly not lying, the medical evidence could not stand. ...
In a case such as this where the expert evidence, and here the expert evidence of the radiologist was all one way, the judge is certainly entitled, if he has evidence that he can rely upon to the contrary, not to accept that evidence. In my view he did not have that evidence in this case. He did not, in particular, have evidence that made the uncontroverted medical evidence logically insupportable. The judge failed to analyse the evidence and give any reasons. The credibility or otherwise of the lay witnesses on the facts of this case, in my view, cannot stand so high as to make the evidence of the two consultant radiologists of no effect."
(1) K had suffered very serious injuries on at least four separate occasions;
(2) neither the mother nor K R admitted to injuring him;
(3) neither the mother nor K R provided any explanation that could satisfactorily explain the injuries;
(4) the mother gave evidence that there was no occasion prior to 14th/15th December, apart from a few hours babysitting on 17th November and perhaps one unidentified Sunday morning, when K was left by her in the care of K R;
(5) it was the mother's evidence prior to the night of K's death there was never any occasion when she witnessed K R injure K, heard anything untoward or found K in a distressed state, or showing signs of pain after K R had been in contact with him.
"... [K] has an unusual and mixed reaction to pain, an unusual pain threshold ..." (page 34C)
"... was not visible prior to [K]'s death, that it was indeed more or less fresh. It is one of those exceptional cases where the colour of the bruise does not tell the whole story and where the histology may be distorted by virtue of there having been a previous bruise at the same site ..." (page 37E)
"... her evidence made it clear to me that she has yet to come to terms in her heart with the facts as I have found them to be." (page 40A)
"She has to make a stark choice between her own emotional satisfaction and the best interests and care of her child." (page 40D)
"The credibility or otherwise of the lay witnesses on the facts of this case, in my view, cannot stand so high as to make the evidence of the two consultant radiologists of no effect."