Sunday, January 24, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 91 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

The trial is scheduled to last sixteen days and these days are to stretch through January and February. The first three court days were held on Wednesday 12th , Thursday 13th and Friday 15th . The focus of the early days of the court case have been upon the testimonies of social workers and the regional Director for this case. That is precisely how it came down.

The Baynes’ demand for their children has been a public and high profile claim particularly during the past year. Global and CBC news networks have done stories on the Baynes’ contest with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The Baynes themselves have maintained an online presence through websites and Facebook pages. People like me have easily recognized the injustices within this case and have sought to explain facts, some of us doing it objectively and others expressing objectionable opinions. Always the Baynes have asserted that MCFD’s legitimate task of protecting children was based on a wrong medical diagnosis and then a series of skewed MCFD decisions not in the interest of the Bayne family but in the interest of building a case for MCFD’s seizure and custody of three Bayne children. Little effort was made by MCFD to truly know Paul and Zabeth, their characters, principles and values and family commitments. The Baynes’ vigorous and persistent fight for their children over the two and one half years of this torment was perceived by MCFD as a declaration of war rather than being seen through the understanding eyes of social workers with authentic sensitivity to humanity. I am sorry to have witnessed that. I am appalled that this flaw appears to be a common feature in child protection networks across our country, in every province, in the UK and in Australia. Do some googling and you will soon be confronted by an avalanche of worrisome reports about insensitive and inept case handling and worse, incarceration of parents falsely accused.

Ministry of Children and Family Development attorney, early in the court proceedings, applied for a ban on all publicity and news coverage. During a 15 minute presentation, Bayne’s lawyer Doug Christie ardently opposed this application, arguing for the public’s right to be informed about a case as significant as this and about a Ministry that is charged by the public to fulfill its responsibilities. Christie contended that the media has a right to participate, report and defend its reported accounts. He further stated that it would be inappropriate for the Judge to make a decision on this application within fifteen minutes of hearing the application. The judge then adjourned for 30 minutes and upon his return indicated that he would not so soon approve the application for the ban because it might affect this case and others that would follow this one. If the MCFD intended to pursue the ban application, then the media must also be allowed to defend its position. MCFD attorney Finn Jensen then told the court that he would not proceed with the application. So this was dismissed. In truth this may result in better accountability through public exposure.

CBC ran a story on the opening day of this court case and that content was sympathetic to the Baynes’ claim that the children should be returned to them.

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