AND IN THE MATTER OF IG
B e f o r e :
|- and -
| JK (1)
Mr Lee for the Mother (JK)
Miss Garland for the Father (JG)
Mr Hunter for the maternal grandmother (DK)
Miss Houghton for the Child (IG)
Hearing dates: 9th and 10th October 2014
Crown Copyright ©
a. PK's mental health and alcohol use and the impact of this on the children in the household
b. PK and DK inappropriately sharing information with children in their care
c. An allegation in relation to a previous incident when DK and her daughter DC had forcibly removed DK's granddaughter from the care of her mother and had assaulted the child's mother in the process
d. DK's apparent inability to accept that her daughter may have in any way have been responsible for the injury sustained by IG and a failure to properly supervise contact
a. District Judge Richardson did not accept the evidence of DK that she had heard a scream when IG was being examined by the GP and found that this suggestion had been arrived at through discussion between DK and JK and JG. Her judgement does not indicate whether she found this to be a deliberate conspiracy which is a finding that the LA now invites me to make.
b. She found that neither parents' account could be relied upon and that the fracture to IG's leg was caused by one or both of the parents and was caused by the application of significant force. She went on to find that if one of the parents had not perpetrated the injury then they had failed to protect IG from harm caused by the other and this failure to protect was continuing in their failure to tell the truth.
a. The incident with YC when it is recorded that DK and her daughter HC had removed DK's granddaughter from the care of YC, it is alleged that a degree of force was used
b. Not reporting PK's attempted hanging
c. JL and the Compensation conversation -Inappropriate discussions with or in the presence of the foster son JL as to the injury to IG and a potential claim for compensation against the GP and then "bullying" of JL to get him to retract his disclosure
d. Leaving IG with JK and JG-A failure to properly supervise IG in the care of his parents
Standard of proof
'. …announce loud and clear that the standard of proof in finding the facts necessary to establish the threshold under section 31(2) or the welfare considerations in section 1 of the 1989 Act is the simple balance of probabilities, neither more nor less. Neither the seriousness of the allegation nor the seriousness of the consequences should make any difference to the standard of proof to be applied in determining the facts. The inherent probabilities are simply something to be taken into account, where relevant, in deciding where the truth lies…'
Evaluating the evidence
'cannot be evaluated in separate compartments. A judge in these difficult cases has to have regard to the relevance of each piece of evidence to other evidence and to exercise an overview of the totality of the evidence in order to come to the conclusion whether the case put forward by the LA has been made out to the appropriate standard of proof.'
' …Although the medical evidence is of very great importance, it is not the only evidence in the case. Explanations given by carers and the credibility of those involved with the child concerned are of great significance. All the evidence, both medical and non-medical, has to be considered in assessing whether the pieces of the jigsaw form into a clear convincing picture of what happened.'
Truth and lies
(a)whether it would have been reasonable and practicable for the party by whom the evidence was adduced to have produced the maker of the original statement as a witness;
(b)whether the original statement was made contemporaneously with the occurrence or existence of the matters stated;
(c)whether the evidence involves multiple hearsay;
(d)whether any person involved had any motive to conceal or misrepresent matters;
(e)whether the original statement was an edited account, or was made in collaboration with another or for a particular purpose;
(f)whether the circumstances in which the evidence is adduced as hearsay are such as to suggest an attempt to prevent proper evaluation of its weight.
I set out below the findings that the LA invites me to make together with my findings in respect of each of those:-
As a matter of fact it is found that DK and HC removed YK from both her parents care but I find that this was due to concerns for her welfare. It is accepted by DK that HC physically restrained YC during this incident. However, I do not find that DK's actions were unreasonable in all of the circumstances. In my general observations I return to this finding.
In the light of my observations about the evidence of the witnesses, I prefer the account of Liza Dhamrait and make this finding as drafted.
I do not make any findings in relation to this allegation over and above the finding already made by DJ Richardson and recorded at paragraph 42 above.
I find that for a period leading up to October 2013 DK was unable to attend to the emotional needs of the children in her care due to the personal difficulties she was experiencing in relation to her marriage breakdown and her husbands depression and alcoholism. She failed to disclose the difficulties she was experiencing at this time and failed to seek appropriate support. She was unable to recognise the potential impact on the children that she was caring for, of remaining in a household whilst these difficulties were ongoing. I find that TM did witness PK attempting to hang himself with a belt and that this incident caused TM great distress. I find that TM did tell DK about this incident the following day but DK was unable to respond to TM's needs appropriately due to her own emotional state at the time. I note that Victoria McMellon, the independent social worker finds that "DK was overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for the household and had lost perspective" and later in that same report "with hindsight, DK believes that she should have asked for JL and TM to be moved, at least into respite care".
I do not make this finding.
My general observations