A chef and his wife yesterday won a High Court fight to regain care of their nine-month-old daughter despite doctors concluding that the baby had probably suffered a head injury when shaken.
Social workers had asked a judge to rule that the girl should be placed into care as a result of expert medical opinion about the cause of bleeding on her brain.
But Mr Justice Coleridge, who had analysed evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, refused – saying a local authority had not proved that a care order was required.
Both parents had denied shaking or hurting their daughter and the judge said they were impressive witnesses with nothing in their background to suggest that they would harm a child.
He said the girl – who had been placed into temporary foster care pending a High Court examination of the case – could return to her parents. The judge said doctors had noted bleeding on the brain in the weeks after the baby was born and she had been placed into temporary foster care when she was about a month old.
A number of medical experts had examined the little girl and concluded after a meeting that she had suffered “head trauma most likely caused by shaking” – although one doctor’s provisional view had been that the baby had “most likely suffered through natural disease process”, he said.
But Mr Justice Coleridge said the parents were a “happily married” and “devoted” couple and no health workers had expressed concerns about the baby’s care.
The judge said they had agreed to their daughter being placed in foster care while investigations were carried out. He said the mother was “adamant” she had never shaken the baby. The father found it “impossible to contemplate” that they would “deliberately harm” the little girl.
Mr Justice Coleridge said both were “impressive” witnesses. The judge said the local authority had relied on medical opinion in asking for the baby to be placed into care.
But the parents had said he should look into the “whole evidential picture”.
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