Sunday, February 28, 2010


There is no scheduled court session tomorrow, Monday, March 1, 2010. I will post the new schedule as soon as it is available.

For Love and For Justice / Part 124 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne


Perhaps Thursday was the hardest day in court so far for the Baynes as intimate details of their children’s lives were discussed. I will call her KD. She is the caregiver for all three of the Bayne children. By all that is known she is a conscientious and effective foster parent. She herself was a foster child and she has now had thirteen years experience in fostering children.

Finn Jensen led her through her testimony. She stated that there are currently five children and a nanny living in the KD home. Upon accepting the Bayne’s third child she employed a full time Nanny from the Philippines to help with the care of the children. KD said that with the special needs among the five it is more than one person can manage. KD is also available as an on call foster contact for children and occasionally provides respite for a personal friend. The two Bayne boys came to her home in a hasty move since the first placement was temporary. She arranged for a sleepover for the boys to make the transition smoother.

KD’s testimony included the histories of all three children and her observations of them from the time they entered her care. She provided personal opinions about the children's mannerisms, behaviors, preferences and dislikes, favourite foods, speech skills, socialization and interaction with others, whether they could dress themselves, feed themselves, attend to their own bathroom needs, brush their teeth and wash their own hands. She commented how they received correction, how they felt towards their parents, with what kind of therapists she is working, and what steps she has taken in response to the advice given by professionals.

The testimony also outlined KD’s attempts to provide for the religious needs of the family by ensuring they had attended church during the Christmas Season and though she had registered the children for Sunday School, they did not attend because she was concerned that the parents had too great a presence in the community and the children might be recognized.

KD asserted that in her care the children have flourished. Under Doug Christie’s cross examination the court learned that the middle boy who weighed 26 lbs prior to his removal in 2007, weighed 25 lbs in 2009 according to her log notes disclosed in court Thursday. Today he weighs 32 lbs. (In two and one half years he has gained six pounds. He is a micro preemie, born very early and will expectedly weigh less than other boys his age. Yet his weight gain is extremely low for the amount of time he has been in care.) KD may justifiably feel he has made progress while in her care because he weighed considerably less when he arrived at her door, having lost weight during the first eighteen months. KD works with the Infant Development Program in which there is a variety of specialists such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists and feeding specialists. KD believes the children have made progress with the assistance of this program.

KD has enrolled the oldest boy in kindergarten and the middle child in preschool five days a week.

I mentioned at the top that this was perhaps the hardest day for the Baynes. Perhaps you appreciate their agony as they realize that they didn’t have the opportunity to enroll their own children in day school, or walk them to school, or pick them up from school or attend to their personal needs, their appointments at a specialist’s office, or taking them to Sunday School each Sunday. Instead, they have even had to ask for special consideration from the Judge to direct the Ministry to grant more visitation time and time outside the customary visitation location, perhaps in a park or somewhere else. And please understand that always during this visitation whether indoors of out of doors, a Ministry representative is present as an observer/reporter. It has been and is a difficult way to live and remain in control of emotions.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 123 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne


Proceedings were interrupted as counsel for MCFD, Mr. Finn Jensen received news and then asked the Defense and the Court to agree to an adjournment for the day because of a grave tragedy, the sudden death of one of Mr. Jensen’s clients. He desired to make himself available to tend the needs of the family of the deceased.

Some GPS readers may be familiar with this grieving family as you read this note. Paul and Zabeth Bayne wish to express their own deepest sympathy for the family’s loss and pain at this time of heartbreak. They say, “Our prayer and thoughts are with you.”
Kimberly Grey was called back to the stand regarding a disclosure item that she had to produce. The Baynes had expressed some concern to the Ministry about their two sons during care at one of the homes to which they were assigned. It was Ms. Grey’s responsibility to investigate this. She did visit the home, but was unable to interview the person directly named by their son and she was satisfied by information received from another person at the home. Ms. Grey made no further attempts to investigate the concern or to verify the information received. and noted in her completed file that she considered the matter closed. That was the end of that matter on Friday.

Loren Humeny was also brought to the stand in order to produce the document he received from a now disclosed collateral (formerly anonymous witness). The disclosed document had been addressed personally to Paul and Zabeth Bayne and was among documents they intended to send to MCFD. Loren Humeny claimed he received this document on a date that would appear to be two to three days prior to the Baynes trying to submit it to the Ministry. Nothing more is known or can be said about this now and the defense has not closed this matter.

Friday concluded with no dates set for continuation of this trial. Both sides wait for the Judicial Case Manager to contact the lawyers with a date for a conference with Judge Crabtree in order to select further trail dates. They may require two more weeks for further evidence presentation. It is the defence (Baynes) turn to present. This blog will notify readers of dates when they are certain.

A special thank you to everyone that has been able to attend the hearing dates so far. Your presence has been a much appreciated support during this trying time.

Friday, February 26, 2010

An Appeal on Behalf of the Baynes / Part 122

Dear Friends of Paul and Zabeth. As you read this posting perhaps you feel that you can become involved at another level.

The Joint Trustees of the Bayne Trust Fund have notified me today that the funds, several thousand dollars that were acquired primarily from a January Piano Concert by Zabeth Bayne, have been exhausted through court costs to date. The Campaign for Love and for Justice is in immediate need of further funding from compassionate partners. Their defence is contingent upon additional funding. Can you help the Baynes with a financial donation?

Three Joint Trustees were appointed to set up and to manage a Bayne Trust Fund with a Chartered Bank, and the Fund is compliant with all legal requirements of Canada Revenue Agency and is governed in accordance with the law of the Province of British Columbia.

Donations will be accepted by deposit to this trust account at any branch of TD Canada Trust.
TD Canada Trust [bank # 004]
Continental Centre Branch [branch # 9713]
Account Number [6415554]
Cheque should be made payable to: "Charter Lau, Kenny Chiu, Marvin Hunt In Trust For Paul and Zabeth Bayne" ; OR "Lau, Chiu, Hunt ITF Bayne"

Cheques can also be posted to
Lau, Chiu, Hunt in trust for Bayne
9406 Pauleshin Cres, Richmond, BC V7E 6P2

Thank you on behalf of Paul and Zabeth and their children,
Dr. Ron Unruh

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Zabeth will be called to give testimony Friday Feb 26th, and possibly over a three day period which is then followed by cross examination. If you live locally, you may want to be present to give her your moral support. While the day begins at 9:30 am, Zabeth may give testimony later in the morning.

For Love and For Justice / Part 121 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

An expert witness is an authority, who by virtue of education, training, skill, or experience, is believed to have specialized knowledge and expertise in a particular subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others should legally rely upon the witness's specialized (scientific, technical or other) opinion about an evidence or fact issue within the scope of his/her expertise, referred to as the expert opinion.

In this Bayne versus MCFD trial, Judge Crabtree will render a verdict. Leading to that anticipated and inevitable outcome each legal counsel calls witnesses some of whom are to be regarded as ‘expert.’ The contest is ongoing between the opposing sides, either to persuade the Judge that the witness is ‘expert’ or to discourage the claim to ‘expertise.’ Each lawyer is acquainted with the Canadian precedents that establish ‘expert’ definition. For testimony to be considered ‘expert’ its content must be the kind that informs the trier of the case, the jury or in this case, the judge, with facts that could not be discerned without the expert and without which the correct conclusion could not be reached. Expert evidence must be necessary or essential and relevant and reliable. To be reliable it must be able to withstand close scrutiny. A judge must then finally rule that the witness is entitled to testify by way of opinion or confirmation or otherwise. While several witnesses have already been presented, their admissability as experts and their 'expert' testimony has not yet been ruled upon by Judge Crabtree. That might be ruled today.

Well that’s what it was all about in court on Tuesday when Dr. Michael Sargent, a Pediatric Radiologist and part of the Children's Hospital physicians’ team was called as a witness for the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Finn Jensen presented him as an expert and his written report as expert testimony. We didn’t get to his testimony yet. That will wait for a later day in the schedule. If he is recognized as an expert, the expectation of the MCFD and Mr. Jensen is that his report and testimony should reinforce the position that the Bayne baby’s physical condition upon admission to Children’s Hospital in October 2007 was consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome. That's what he is there to do. Will that testimony withstand the heat of a Christie cross-examination may be the issue.

Perhaps Dr. Sargent was aware that his qualifications would be stoutly questioned by Mr. Doug Christie. The morning was spent examining his credentials. Christie’s resultant submission in the afternoon was that Dr. Sargent was not qualified to be the objective, independent expert, that he doesn't have the requisite expertise to speak to shaken baby causation from his examination of X-Ray film. Christie challenged Sargent's expertise to provide a forensic opinion. He should not be allowed to present as to cause. Christie calls this intrusion into areas for which the doctor is unqualified. As he conducted his examination of Dr. Sargent it was clear that Christie took issue with the collegial relationship Sargent has with Dr. Margaret Colbourne. Colbourne’s Shaken Baby diagnosis is a substantial founding block to the MCFD case against the Baynes having their children returned to them. It was Colbourne and Jensen who just a few weeks ago asked Sargent to stand as a witness in support of Colbourne's position. Sargent acknowledged that Colbourne had told him her opinion before she came to court to give testimony. The judge has yet to rule on Sargent's admissability as an 'expert.'
Why we didn't hear Dr. Sargent's testimony on Tuesday: The start of the court session proper, was delayed as both lawyers discussed new evidence that Finn Jensen wanted to present with respect to Dr. Sargent's testimony. Dr. Sargent's multi-page report was emailed to Doug Christie on Feb 22 2010. Sargent had written the report Feb 17, 2010. Doug Christie was prepared to cross examine Dr. Sargent with regard to his report until he learned that that it contained reference to two X-Rays that had only recently been located and were not delivered to the defence radiologist for review. Christie then requested an adjournment to this testimony until Bayne's expert, Dr. Barnes from Stanford would have an opportunity to review and to respond. The Judge would not hear the testimony that day in fairness to Mr. Christie. Cross-examination was limited to Dr. Sargent's qualifications.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


It's an offday from Court today. Session resumes tomorrow Thursday, February 25, 2010 at the Chilliwack Law Courts building at 9:30 AM.

For Love and For Justice / Part 120 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Here is a USA website, the content of which becomes a challenging read. It is entitled and subtitled in this way. ‘NATIONAL COALITION FOR CHILD PROTECTION REFORM, Working To Help America's Vulnerable Children By Changing Public Policy Concerning Child Abuse, Foster Care, And Family Preservation.'

NCCPR advocates for systemic reform. The membership of this coalition is comprised of professionals who have been involved in or with the child welfare system within the United States. This coalition provides them with a forum for affecting positive changes to policies that concern child abuse, foster care and family preservation. They are most concerned to make the system better for vulnerable children.

Besides the website rich with article and document resources, NCCPR also operates a blog called ‘NCCPR Child Welfare Blog (News and commentary from the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform concerning child abuse, child welfare, foster care, and family preservation.)'

In its rationale for child advocacy NCCPR states, “But we don’t see getting the word out or “raising awareness” as an end in itself. Rather, our goal is reducing the number of children needlessly torn from everyone loving and familiar. In addition to sparing children from the harm that comes from being consigned to America’s chaotic system of foster care, keeping those children out of the system also gives child welfare agencies more time to find children in real danger.”

The careful research and the boldly accurate writing has earned the contributors high respect among journalists and reform-minded child welfare professionals. Among the comments about this advocate group are the following.
“A voice of reason …[that] can find fault with an agency without sounding like [they’re] denouncing the Third Reich.” --Tom Lyons, Columnist, Sarasota (Florida) Herald-Tribune

“You are a tremendous force and asset to children across the country and I have nothing but the utmost respect for your work. I think you have made a tremendous difference in people's lives through your media advocacy work. … Now more than ever the services of NCCPR are needed to keep the heat on. You helped reporters like me stay focused, to not be swayed by the state bureaucratic and political machines and to remember what child welfare and child protection is really supposed to be about - helping children and preserving families - which, sadly often gets lost in the rhetoric of the day …” --Colin Poitras, former reporter, Hartford Courant

“A remarkable advocate for child welfare reform [with] an impact all over the country.” --Benjamin Wolf, Director, Children and Institutionalized Persons Project, American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (counsel for plaintiffs, Illinois class-action child welfare suit)

“NCCPR has been a key support for the child welfare reforms in Maine. … The strong voice of NCCPR gives voice to ideas that challenge the status quo. The children of Maine need that voice. … The work that [NCCPR] has done with the media in Maine has helped them understand the complexity of the child welfare system and has helped them to understand that the reforms are in the best interest of children and the people of Maine.” --James Beougher, Director, Office of Child and Family Services, Maine Department of Health and Human Services

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 119 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Court Report from Monday, February 22, 2010

Social worker Kimberly Grey stepped into the witness box this morning. She became associated with this file in October/November 2008. She presented a series of printed email messages by which to demonstrate her efforts to develop a relationship with Paul and Zabeth Bayne. She intended to show that the Baynes did not respond or reciprocate her communications. She stated that she had requested the Baynes' participation with a Risk Assessment resolution. She was acquainted with Bayne’s version of the origin of Bethany’s injuries and she had social worker Loren Humeny’s draft of the Risk Assessment that contained the MCFD version of the injury cause. She wanted to resolve the discrepancy. She stated that her mail showed that she had frequently extended invitations to them to call her. The Baynes however did not call. She stated as well that it was her impression that the Baynes were constantly complaining. She also commented on what she knew about the children’s health and wellbeing.

When Doug Christie cross-examined her, he demonstrated to the court that the Baynes had in fact written many email messages which she had chosen not to answer. On the occasions that Grey did reply via email, it was a brief response that invited them to call her to talk by telephone. Christie demonstrated by his questions that Grey preferred not to respond to the Baynes or their concerns and questions through written correspondence that could be preserved and filed. It was suggested that her supervisors told her to handle the case this way. The Baynes were looking for the courtesy of a response. Besides, their counsel had told them not to communicate with Ms. Grey by phone but rather through email.

Christie also raised some of the concerns that the Baynes had expressed to her about injuries that they observed and claimed occurred while the children were in MCFD care. She testified that she did not feel that the injuries to which they referred had warranted their concern or her further attention. One of those injury reports had been what appeared to the Baynes as adult grip marks on Bethany’s arm. Grey stated that she had concluded that these marks occurred when the girl was crawling over some toys. She maintained this story even when shown the photo of Bethany with the questionable marks. Christie also inquired about reported injuries to Baden while in care – injuries that had been supported by photo evidence.

Christie returned to an evidence issue that troubles the Baynes. Loren Humeny was recalled to the witness stand. Court was told that the Ministry possesses a Bayne medical expert’s report which the Baynes have claimed they did not send to the MCFD. How it was obtained was the question to which Christie was seeking to ferret out an answer. Apparently this report was submitted to MCFD by a source unidentified in court testimony. Humeny’s testimony was that both he and his supervisor Berhe Gulbot had deleted the file(s) that detailed how the report came into MCFD's possession. Christie may not be finished with this item yet.

Monday, February 22, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 118 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Court resumes TODAY, Monday February 22 at 9:30 am. at the Chilliwack Law Courts.
Chilliwack Law Courts
46085 Yale Road
Chilliwack, BC
V2P 2L8
Map Locating the Chilliwack Law Courts

The pre-trial hearing of the case contesting the Ministry of Children & Family Development and Paul & Zabeth Bayne for the permanent custody of their three children happened on December 8, 2009. The hearing, a trial really, began January 13-15, and then proceeded on February 2-5, 8-9, 11-12, and now resumes February 22-23 & 25-26 and may possibly proceed into March. It is an exhausting series for Paul and Zabeth and their lawyer Doug Christie. Mr. Christie resides in Victoria but during trial days, he stays in Chilliwack. Judge Crabtree presides.

One aspect of the disparity that is frequently true in cases like this is the funding that is available to MCFD and the customary paucity of funds of the challenging parents. Two and one half years of struggle, job interruptions, and legal costs have consumed almost everything the Baynes have, including their investment in a home.

Good friends and supporters have assisted the Baynes legal fund in recent months. A registered trust fund was established early in this new year. Donations will be accepted by deposit to this trust account at any branch of TD Canada Trust.
TD Canada Trust [bank # 004]
Continental Centre Branch [branch # 9713]
Account Number [6415554]
Cheque should be made payable to: "Charter Lau, Kenny Chiu, Marvin Hunt In Trust For Paul and Zabeth Bayne" ; OR "Lau, Chiu, Hunt ITF Bayne"


Court resumes TODAY, Monday February 22 at 9:30 am. at the Chilliwack Law Courts.
Chilliwack Law Courts
46085 Yale Road
Chilliwack, BC
V2P 2L8
Map Locating the Chilliwack Law Courts

Sunday, February 21, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 117 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Some Realities in Child Protection from which Reform must Emerge Yet Again.

In British Columbia, the Child, Family and Community Service Act (CFCSA, 1996) direct child welfare policy and that document specifies both an ideological and legal framework that proposes least intrusive methods. By that I mean that child protection interventions are only set in motion when a child’s safety falls below minimum community security standards. The identification and alleviation of risk factors that are present in a child’s surroundings is the controlling principle for intervention.

Child protection in our culture receives its mandate from legislation. Our B.C. communities fundamentally support this mandate. Citizens report their suspicions of child maltreatment. Both the legal mandate and public participation validates this child protective function. Even though child protection is considered an essential public service, many people take issue with ways by which child protection is administered. In fact, as with other essential services, such as the police, the public routinely condemns the service for perceived failures and shortcomings. The response of government has been episodic attempts at child protection reform, typified by inquiries, escalated research, reorganizing administration and altering the service delivery model, changing the staff training, or hiring additional staff, or staff with different competencies or slashing the budget and then recuperating the budget.

Child protection as it is presently configured, acquires its cases primarily through reactive processes. For example, citizens, such as neighbours, friends, acquaintances, family members or other observers of the family can and do report protection concerns. Volunteers and employees in youth-services, in schools, churches, childcare, nurses and doctors are all legally and ethically required to report their suspicions of maltreatment. Police when summoned to an urgency where children might be at risk, will file protection concerns. This is the reactive basis of child protection. The reality is that child mistreatment cannot be entirely prevented. Since no single intervention has been found to be effective in preventing or curing child maltreatment, responding to or attempting to prevent further maltreatment are the options left to responders who are charged with this.

Of course in making those observations I haven’t begun to touch upon the manner by which child protection workers affect their tasks as first responders and ongoing workers with the children, with the parents, with the people under suspicion of maltreating a child.

(A well written Master's thesis by Nathan Patton entitled 'Child Protection as a Culture of Negotiation' in 2009 infomred my thinking about the reality of the current status of child protection.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 116 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne


What is the potential for parents to create social change in British Columbia’s system of child protection? In a system of child protection like ours which is a mandated design based on power differentials against parents, wouldn’t it be an extraordinary step for parents to be given a voice in reforming what we have? If it were possible to create a research team comprised of parents as co-researchers with professionals associated with child protection, the results might be more beneficial than any of us can imagine. This collegial approach would represent an elevation of the parental voice in the reform process and at the very least would predictably adjust how the child protection group views parents, as more of a resource rather than an obstruction. A transformation seems assured in my ideal world when parents could be seen as colleagues in such a project.

Wouldn’t this make an attention-grabbing study team? Wouldn’t it be a step in the right direction if parents in British Columbia became involved as co-researchers in pivotal decision making steps to enrich the performance of various levels of child protection in our province?

What advice might parents give for crafting a less bureaucratic system of child protection? How might professionals engage in working with parents to effect recommended changes? If you were one of the appointed parents what changes would you seek to make to the child protection system?

A study group of this composition was actually assembled in Ontario. A full description of the rationale, the methodology, the findings, the limitations, a discussion of the implications and a summary are available here, on a site called Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies Journal. The article is called ‘Adjusting the Lens: Parents Create Change in Ontario’s Child Protection System.’ The account of this study was written by Dr. Betty Gallagher who is the Director of Education Services at the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies. I have used some of her phrases to write this blog post.

“Parents were qualified to participate in the study: (1) If they had previously been ordered to participate in child protection services through a court order known as a supervision order. (2) If the supervision order was six months in length or longer. (3) If the family file was open after the amended Child and Family Services Act, 2000. (4) If they had maintained a one-year period free from child protection services. In total eight parents participated in the study.”

“Parents suggested eleven recommendations, all of which were supported by the professional participants. These findings suggest that parents and professionals in this study are like-minded in terms of making changes to the child protection system. Further, the study findings suggest there is a need for social workers and parents to continue their discourse about the protection of children.
Parents made the following recommendations for change to the current child protection system:

1. Have two social workers assigned to a case to avoid prejudiced perceptions about parents.
2. Compile a Parent’s Rights booklet.
3. Engage in cultural diversity training for social work staff.
4. Hold fathers more accountable for family issues.
5. Locate extended family quicker when looking for foster care placements.
6. Design a program to help teen parents and their parents raise children together.
7. Educate young girls early about self respect to prevent involvement in violent relationships.
8. Teach parents about life skills.
9. Put a package together that outlines all of the support programs available to parents and highlight the ones you expect parents to take.
10. Develop a support group so parents can meet to discuss their experiences with other parents.
11.Create safe chat rooms where parents, children and youth can communicate with others who have similar situations.

This was a study and only a study. Did it go anywhere? Ahh, there is the snag.
To have legs, something like this must have the authorization and ownership of the legislators that put the present system into operation.

Friday, February 19, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 115 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne


Readers should not think that the groundswell of concern about our B.C. Ministry of Children and Family development to which I referred yesterday is an exaggeration. That would be a preemptive step that impedes the dialogue necessary for true reform that benefits us all.

As a demonstration of the concerns that ordinary citizens have, I am placing here a website entitled PAPA. This is the official website of a registered organization called PAPA, an acronym for People Assisting Parents Association, whose subtitle describes its purpose with the phrase ‘keeping families together.’
My contention is that the existence of an online site like this is a strong reason to take seriously the hypothesis that aspects of our Child Protection provision in B.C. require fresh examination and tailored recommendations. Reform will occur if we take seriously the concerns stated on a site like this.

The website identifies PAPA as a “civilian run non-profit organization formed under the Society Act on July 23, 2007 in British Columbia, Canada. Exclusively funded by donors, PAPA is not affiliated with any ethnic community, religious group or political party.”

It’s stated Mission is, “We strive to protect the best interests of children by preserving their families and restoring healthy parenting ability. We safeguard the rights and dignity of parents in child protection activities.” The site has numerous buttons containing an abundance of information. It has included updates of the Bayne case.

The site also makes known its Beliefs in the form of five statements:
* Parents have the God-given right and responsibility to care for and bring up their children in a manner which is culturally and socially acceptable to their own values within the boundary of Canadian laws.
* Family is the best environment to nourish children. Preservation of family is important to maintain a healthy social structure vital to child upbringing, national security and continuation of civilization.
* Custodial right of one's natural offspring is a fundamental human right and should be enshrined constitutionally.
* Government must treat parents and children with respect and dignity in carrying out its child protection mandate.
* State intervention in family affairs should be avoided except in extreme circumstances. Should interventions become necessary, they must be least intrusive and serve the best interests of both children and their parents.

The sidebar of the website welcomes viewers with a Message from the President providing the raison d'être for the organization in an unapologetic condemnation of present MCFD practice and results. That in itself is worth the time to read it. It will exasperate defenders and employees of MCFD and authenticate the extreme suspicions of critics of MCFD.

There is much more to this Message but the opening paragraph says, “PAPA was formed by a group of citizens concerned about the "child protection" activities conducted by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Families under the scrutiny of the Ministry sometimes end up worse off. Children under the “care” of the Ministry are not receiving the standard of care expected by society and their parents. Some are abused, neglected or even murdered when they are in “care”. Almost all removed children suffer irreparable mental harm from the enforced removal from their parents. Parents are under duress. Some are forced to live apart or to divorce to get their children back.”
A site like this would not exist if not for so many parents, children and extended families whose lives and happiness have experienced interruption and disruption if not dissolution through the actions of MCFD. The criticism is unconcealed. Injured people sometimes overstate. Maybe you think this is done at the PAPA site. It will be wise for our citizenry and politicians to pay attention and not conclude a group of flakes are mouthing off again.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 114 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

That’s the word that sums up my intellectual response to the diatribe passing as comments on Post 111. Haven’t some of the rest of you begun to think that this string of comments has deteriorated?

I can’t help myself. I was not going to write for a few days. But the comments disturb me. There is no solution in them. They blend into an enormous RANT.


In every subsection of life in every country of the world throughout all of our generations there have been those who recognize that change to the status quo is required and who effect that change by reformation. Ecclesiastical, political, social, educational, medical, all of these disciplines have experienced improvement through reform.

If people inside and outside the Ministry of Children and Family Development of British Columbia and the broader network of child protection and child care agencies in this province jointly recognized areas in which reform would benefit children, birth parents, the foster care system, MCFD management and social workers, and the medical professionals, wouldn’t we, couldn’t we make it happen?

When our child protection process delivers us to the trial stage typified by the Bayne case presently, characterized by mutual offence and animosity it must be acknowledged that improvements could be made. If those advancements require a philosophical shift, a truth seeking transformation, would it not be worth all the energy we can give it?

There have been inquiries into aspects of MCFD operations before and recommendations upon which there has been recorded and reported action, so a modicum of reform has been attempted. Yet protecting children and developing families should be of such critical importance to our entire provincial community and should be done so effectively that there is no cause for criticism like the groundswell of concern that polarizes us right now.

There must be an art to making reform happen. I am pretty sure that reform doesn’t happen through mudslinging, which appears to be the natural response. You criticize me and I’ll ridicule you. Doesn’t the Bayne Trial point to a need to reform policies and practices so that families are actually helped rather than broken, parents are facilitated rather than alienated, children are protected preferably within their birth home? We should all be able to be proud of our Child Protection program.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


This blog is going on a temporary hiatus. After a week long recess Court will resume on Monday February 22 at 9:30 am. at the Chilliwack Court House. Expect an entry then.

Meanwhile the comments expressing varied opinions are worth reading, as in Part 111 Well, perhaps not worth it, but entertaining!

For Love and For Justice / Part 113 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

What I am hearing from court proceedings …

This present case against the Baynes maintaining custody of their daughter proceeded from injuries for which they brought her to Vancouver Children’s Hospital and which were diagnosed there as indicators of a Shaken Baby Syndrome and only that. That diagnosis presumed a non accidental injury. Any story that the parent or caregiver offered with regard to an accident had to be categorically mistrusted. The hospital had no option and it had protocol which required staff to notify MCFD and/or RCMP. That was done. The RCMP found insufficient evidence to proceed with charges. From the RCMP standpoint the Baynes were exonerated. MCFD now involved in a child protective scenario looked at the Baynes differently because MCFD had more confidence in the medical diagnosis than they had in the Bayne parents’ story of accident. The only long term resolution that MCFD could foresee was an admission by one or both Bayne parents that in fact the baby had been shaken and that they were sorry and would be willing to take any classes that teach them to manage frustration and annoying baby behaviour. Then perhaps the family could be reunited, albeit with some monitoring provisos but such reunion was not assured.

Of course we now know that the Baynes have for well over two years refused to admit to something for which they still maintain their innocence.

The shortcoming in medical procedure that the Bayne camp has argued in court was a failure at that early investigative stage to systematically eliminate all other possible causes for the injuries. This is called a differential diagnosis.

The MCFD camp maintains through the attending health professional who made the initial diagnosis, that SBS was most consistent with the injury details. Bayne’s counsel Doug Christie questioned Dr. Colbourne’s credentials sufficiently that Judge Crabtree ruled that she would not be allowed to offer an opinion as to whether this was an accident or a non accident, or even to state her opinion that it was SBS. Finn Jensen ducked that ruling a following day by having Dr. Margaret Colbourne recite all the alternative causes with which in her opinion, the indicators were not consistent, and she finally landed on the one remaining cause, SBS. Why Judge Crabtree didn’t insist upon his prior ruling remains unanswered.

The differential diagnosis for Subdural Hematoma (SDH) in an infant includes impact trauma; a variety of natural diseases; and hypoxia/anoxia, either as a primary event or as a complication of impact or natural disease. A physician investigates, explicitly considers, and eliminates each before he/she attributes these signs and symptoms to a specific mechanical or physiological cause. The question remains. Will the judge conclude that Dr. Colbourne was qualified to conduct an explicit differential consideration of the numerous potential causes for subdural hematoma and retinal bleeding? That will certainly affect the outcome. The judge will have to determine based upon evidence, whether the Baynes are a risk to their children or was the baby's medical story the result of a family accident, or the baby's pre-existing condition exacerbated by an accidental impact?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Announcement regarding Comments

As the blog's administrator I have adjusted the specs so that every comment that is sent must pass thru a filter before it is posted. It is reasonable. This will account for the delay from the time you send to the time of posting.
An acceptable Comment will pass through this filter:
Is the writing understandable?
Does it genuinely engage the blog post or a previous comment?
Is it a sincere statement, a valid question, a justifiable comment regardless of position?
Does it avoid profanity, name calling, character attack, slander, threats?

To date only one comment has been deleted before posting, and that one because, no matter how strongly one feels, calling child protection or MCFD mobsters or organized crime won't fly here.


Court has now recessed for one week and will resume again on Monday the Feb 22 at 9:30 am. The next scheduled witness is a radiologist and following his testimony social worker Kimberly Grey is to appear most probably on Feb 23. That will conclude the MCFD's witnesses.

For Love and For Justice / Part 112 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

I will get back to reporting the trial soon.

Karen and Clint Langelaar are just two of the interested bloggers and writers across North America who maintain interest in Paul and Zabeth Bayne's ongoing fight to recover their children from the efforts of the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development to have permanent custody of their three children and then to adopt them out to new parents.

On their newsy family blog site called 'Local Pond' they periodically reference the Bayne case for their readers. Here was an entry from their January postings.

Thursday, January 14, 2010
Bayne Trial

Please be in prayer for the Bayne trial which began Wednesday today and ends sometime in February. It is set to last 16 days. May this be the process by which Paul and Zabeth’s three children are returned home where they belong, and where their names are forever cleared of wrongdoing to their children.

More information can be found at Ron Unruh’s blog here.

As well, there is a new website about the Baynes here. I encourage you to read the “Mother’s Statement,” written by Zabeth detailing the emotional abuses, hardships, and pain their family has suffered through the last 2 years. NO children and NO family should have to go through what they have gone through.

I also encourage you to consider making a donation to assist the family with the colossal legal expenses. Cheques can be written to Lau, Chiu, Hunt in trust for Bayne and mailed to:

Bayne Trust, 9406 Pauleshin Cres, Richmond, BC V7E 6P2

Posted by Karen / Clint at 9:35 AM

Sunday, February 14, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 111 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

The Best that Jensen Can Do
Part Two of Two Parts

Following the Hoffman testimonies, Finn Jensen called upon his heavyweights for testimony, Adrienne Glen and Dr. Margaret Colbourne. They represent the concern that arose within the child protection unit of Vancouver Children’s Hospital when Bethany was admitted, examined, tested and treated. Each of these women was doing a specific job to the best of her ability and each I must assume fulfilled her role with integrity. Adrienne, an intake social worker at the hospital, visited and conversed with the Bayne family and medical professionals and wrote timely reports and in the process expressed her opinions, sometimes about the Baynes. Dr. Colbourne, very connected to the Shaken Baby Syndrome theory through involvement with an international SBS organization and committed to the understanding that the presence of the diagnostic triad of (1) retinal bleeding, (2) bleeding in the protective layer of the brain, and (3) brain swelling, is predictably indicative of SBS, made that SBS diagnosis with Bethany in 2007. The testimony of each woman in court affirmed her report from 2007 and each report potentially discredited Paul and Zabeth as normal, concerned and loving parents and implied their responsibility in harming their child and by which Finn Jensen hoped to convince the judge that MCFD has acted from the outset upon accurate and trustworthy data. The snag for Jensen is that Counsel Doug Christie was able to cross examine both witnesses and consequently weaken the import of their testimonies. Glen was compelled to admit that her recorded perceptions that the Baynes spent relatively little time with Bethany in hospital were inaccurate and that they had in fact spent many daily hours in hospital with Bethany. Colbourne’s qualifications as an expert were questioned with regard to an absence of biomechanical training needed to ascertain whether or not Bethany's injuries were accidental or non accidental. Theoretically, Colbourne's SBS diagnosis would benefit greatly from the next witness.

Now came Jensen’s super heavyweight Shaken Baby witness, Dr. Randall Alexander from Florida, who has testified in over 300 similar cases and who was here to assure the court that unquestionably, Bethany’s injuries were the result of shaking. His towering persona began to dissolve when he was forced to admit that he wrote his SBS report on Bethany months before seeing the actual film work on Bethany a day before entering the witness box. He had to admit that he had not read Bethany’s birth records, reports concerning Bethany from area hospitals, or any of the ten experts' reports on Bethany that countered his SBS claim. It was clear to the judge that Alexander’s report had been written with incomplete medical information. What kind of evidence is this?

Most recently Social Worker Loren Humeny testified and was cross examined for almost the equivalent of four days. Under cross-examination Humeny was asked whether the risk assessment was written when he was in an adversarial position with the Baynes, because the MCFD was already seeking a continuing care order on all three Bayne children which the parents opposed. He admitted that the risk assessment was highly subjective and primarily his opinion. Christie stated that it had a dearth of factual evidence. It essentially vilified the Baynes and on the one page customarily assigned to summarize strengths, Humeny noted no strengths for them as individuals, as a couple or as parents, saying he didn’t know them, yet admitted that he had spent many hours with them in meetings. The hundreds of letters of reference in support of the Baynes, he admitted he knew about but had not read. So perhaps he doesn’t know them. Judge Crabtree will have to settle for himself whether that constitutes evidence. And this thus far is the best that Jensen has been able to do with what he has. All of this exchange is in court transcripts.
What seemed so strong, so ominous, is paler now and fragile.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I made a polite request for civility in making comments rather than making personal attacks. I appreciate interaction even with people who hold opposing opinions. Much can be gained from listening to one another. However, I am dismayed by some of the comments by people who believe they are assisting me in my interest to encourage the Baynes in their recovery attempt. I don't write my entries with a view to scoring by wounding and I don't require that kind of help from anyone else. Name calling and irrational rhetoric does not serve my purpose. I thought I would simply remove a couple of commentators. Now I am seriously considering removing the comment option entirely. I view that as unfortunate but preferable. I will sleep on it.

For Love and For Justice / Part 110 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

The Best that Jensen Can Do
Part One of Two parts

Even a thin case can have the appearance of overwhelming and intimidating evidentiary value when it has been back lighted by a legislated power to remove children and hold on to them until a judicial ruling comes down. It has a perception of strength.

In the case of Paul and Zabeth Bayne and three children, Kent, Baden and Bethany, that darkly sinister evidence becomes smaller and smaller as the lumens of the spotlight of truth and justice are ever intensified.

Finn Jensen may have developed his case believing that it was strong. He is certainly a competent lawyer. Even this far into the trial he may be convinced that he can win this. Sadly, that’s what litigation aims at, winning! If he is successful, what will MCFD win? It will win the entitlement to keep the children from Paul and Zabeth permanently. It will win the right to force each of these three children to live throughout their remaining childhood and youth with adoptive parents and never to see their birth parents again, until perhaps one day as adults they opt to make a connection that was severed willfully not by their parents or themselves but by a judge and a ministry of a government under which they live.

Here is the best that Finn Jensen, counsel for the Ministry of Children can do in court.

What kind of evidence do you consider the following testimony to be? Jensen called Mike and Elizabeth Hoffman, a pastor and wife from Hope, B.C. where the Baynes resided at the time that this story began. These couples were friends, sharing faith and worship. The Hoffmans reported their concerns to authorities in 2007 and confirmed that report with testimony in the current hearing in January 2010. Based upon what he had learned in seminary psychology classes Michael Hoffman wondered whether Zabeth was suffering from post-partum depression and that she may have Munchausen's syndrome by proxy, an uncommon condition in which a person harms another in order to gain attention. Consider the nature of this hypothesis that would imply she might do harm to her children. Is that evidence? Hoffman is not a medical or psychiatric doctor. He is not an expert nor does he purport to be. I too have taken seminary psychology. Seminary pysch informs you enough to state an opinion but doesn’t qualify you to make an assessment that is entered as evidence that a woman is a risk to her children. This is specially true now that medical professionals were told in court that they could not state an opinion as to whether the Bayne baby's injuries were accidental or non-accidental. It is Jensen's folly not Hoffman's that this was entered as evidence in a court of law. Hoffman surmised, speculated or supposed that Zabeth might be suffering from this condition, that's all and that is not evidence. Combine that with his wife's testimony and what does Jensen have? Elizabeth gave testimony that the two boys seemed small for their age and that the little girl started looking increasingly listless. That may be concern but is that evidence? The children’s doctor was more aware than they and was satisfied with the children’s health status. This testimony is in the court transcript and in a CBC online story.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Court has now recessed for one week and will resume again on Monday the Feb 22 at 9:30 am. The next scheduled witness is a radiologist and following his testimony social worker Kimberly Grey is to appear most probably on Feb 23. That will conclude the MCFD's witnesses.

For Love and For Justice / Part 109 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

This Trial Is Done With Loren Humeny, I Think
And this was another Huge Day

On Thursday, February 11, 2010, Doug Christie cross examined social worker Loren Humeny for one more day. I am sure Mr. Humeny was happy to step down from the witness box finally. This has been his third day of witness duty. He is also an observer for MCFD in court almost every day. He listened to all testimony preceding his own sworn testimony. Seems like a bit of a conflict but it wasn’t challenged.

During this cross examination, some progress was made for parents – not simply the Baynes, but parents like them who face allegations from anonymous callers. Now, don’t you want to keep reading? Yes, that’s correct. Presently, people can make calls to MCFD about you, your activities and your parenting or your children’s appearance or behaviour, and those callers can be classified as anonymous. Isn’t that convenient for them? Surreptitious, sneaky, clandestine callers. Mr. Humeny has referred to these anonymous callers as “collaterals,” since among other meanings the term designates those testimonies that serve to support or corroborate and are therefore collateral evidence.

Humeny said there were about six collaterals who communicated about the Baynes. Collaterals were very important to Mr. Humeny’s Risk Assessment document and to his testimony because he has placed more credence in this handful of collaterals who called him, than he did in the credibility of hundreds of people who called MCFD or sent emails or posted letters in support of the Baynes and their parenting and their characters. I know that because he acknowledged in court and it is in the transcripts that he had not read any of that latter correspondence. He did however take seriously the content of the collateral call-ins who cast doubt upon the Bayne’s fitness as parents and it had been expected by the MCFD that these collaterals could remain anonymous. However...........

Doug Christie had earlier requested that these collaterals should be identified in court. The Risk Assessment written by Humeny incorporated these call ins. Christie argued that without identification, reference to the content of the call ins is mere hearsay, rather than evidence. Their testimony is dangerous to the Baynes but the collaterals could not be known or challenged. "How can that be evidence," Christie demanded to know. On Thursday MCFD lawyer Finn Jensen began with arguments against Doug Christie’s request for disclosure of the several anonymous callers.
As he has done once before, Judge Crabtree took a brief intermission to deliberate and then returned with his ruling that this witness must identify the names of the anonymous callers. If you are at all sympathetic to the Baynes, you must agree that this is a good thing.
In fact, this may be precedent setting. This is repetitious but I must make the point. Previously, persons who called the MCFD with allegations of abuse or neglect have had their anonymity protected under the Act that governs MCFD. For the Baynes and for other parents in similar situations, this anonymity of complainants has posed an insurmountable challenge because false information cannot be challenged. Consequently anonymous callers are unaccountable for what they say. On Thursday, Judge Crabtree made a ruling that harmonizes with what fair-minded people have always known should happen. A court of law must make its decisions and judgements based upon fact and not hearsay. When a caller’s information is believed to be untrue there must be opportunity to cross examine these testimonies so the callers must be identified.

The identities and the credibility of the collaterals will be addressed later in this trial.

Friday Bulletin

Ophthalmologist Dr. Jane Gardner will be called to present testimony today, followed by social worker Kimberly Grey. Court trial begins at 9:30 AM, Chilliwack Court House.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 108 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Paul and Zabeth Do Not Fit the Profile

When a child is injured and medical professionals believe that abuse has occurred, here are the customary indicators of a parent or parents who are abusing their child or children. I will list them and then in italics comment with regard to the Baynes because not one of the indicators points a finger at either of the Baynes.

Indicators of Abusive Parents:
~Seems unconcerned about the child; The Baynes were immediately concerned and have been ever since.
~Takes an unusual amount of time to seek medical care for the child; Paul and Zabeth took Bethany Bayne to several local hospitals each of which failed to properly diagnose her symptoms and finally Children's Hospital did a CT scan and subsequently made the tragic decision this was abuse.
~Offers inadequate or inappropriate explanations for child's injuries; The Baynes did not know what caused their daughter to become gradually more ill but if a trauma produced it they could recall an incident when one child fell on the baby. They told this story from the beginning but it was not believed by child protection people.
~Gives different explanations for the same injury; The Baynes maintained their story with medical and MCFD and RCMP interrogators and have stuck to their story now for two years and three months. That is not unusual for honest and innocent people.
~Misuses drugs or alcohol; Even MCFD says there is not concern about this with the Baynes.
~Disciplines the child too harshly for a mistake or for the child's age; There is no verifiable evidence of this.
~Sees the child as evil or bad; Not a chance! The Baynes love these children as gifts from God.
~Has a history of abuse; They do not!
~Attempts to conceal the child's injuries; MCFD might argue this but the Baynes were diligent about taking their children for scheduled examinations and treatments.
~Takes the child to a new doctor for each injury; Baynes had a family doctor who was consistently supportive of them.
~Has an unorganized, upsetting home life; They maintained a clean, neat, and well organized home and schedule.
~Is apathetic, feels that nothing will ever change; Both Paul and Zabeth are convinced their lives are in God's hands and are not at all apathetic. Through two years of this 'hell' they have grieved but been optimistic and full of faith.
~Is isolated from friends, family, relatives, neighbors; They have an army of friends, both intimate and casual. Dysfunction with specific family members or friends can be traceable to causes out of either Paul's or Zabeth's hands.
~Has long-term, chronic illness; Paul suffered a blow to the head at a steel plant. While it took months to heal the injury, he has not felt any effects from this injury since Jan 2006.
~Cannot be found; Not relevant. They are in the public eye, in the media and too public for the MCFD's liking. They have been in MCFD's face and it is MCFD who cannot be found for response to the Bayne concerns.
~Has a history of neglect; Not relevant. Their children have been withheld from them for over two years and during that time they have visited the children weekly for around 400 times, have not missed a visit, not been late and have asked for more visitation time.
~Role reversal with the child; blurred boundaries; Not relevant. MCFD stole two years and three months from this family's developing relationships.
~Very protective, jealous, controlling; How could they be when the children have been removed from them for two years and three months? No one would describe efforts to recover one's children, as controlling.
~Encourages child to participate in prostitution, sexual acts in the presence of the caregiver; Not relevant.
~History of sexual abuse; Not relevant.
~Low self-esteem, poor self-image; Both are well adjusted, outgoing and competent.
~Incapacitated mother; Not relevant. Zabeth is an eloquent, educated, organized, determined, responsible and compassionate woman.
~Makes harsh and/or destructive responses to the child's requests; Not relevant.
~Threatens or terrorizes the child; Not relevant
~Believes that the child entices his/her own poor treatment; Not relevant
~Treats children in the family unequally; Not relevant
~Doesn't seem to care much for the child's problems; Untrue. Even following the shaken baby allegation, when the Baynes stumbled upon internal MCFD medical memoranda concerning Glutaric Aciduria being the cause of the symptoms for which SBS had been diagnosed, they appealed for her to be further tested and treated for this, but MCFD has not complied.
~Blames or belittles the child; Untrue
~Is cold and rejecting; The Baynes love and cuddle their children every chance they have and they always did.
~Withholds love; Not true
~Has unrealistic expectations; Not relevant
~May not have age appropriate expectations of the child; Not relevant
~Jealous; Untrue
~Poor impulse control; Untrue. They have demonstrated a remarkable control when faced with false accusations and slander.
~Marital problems; Untrue
~Psychotic or psychopathic; Not relevant
~Emotionally immature and impulsive. Untrue

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 107 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne


Testimony Phase - Graduating with a Bachelor in Social Work, Loren Humeny has been a social worker for ten years and is presently an Intake Investigative Social Worker for the Ministry of Children and Family Development based out of Chilliwack. The Bayne file was his responsibility in collaboration with his supervisor, so he was the author of the report presented to Court. Mr. Humeny was in court to give testimony one week ago on February 2, 2010. At the end of that Tuesday, the cross examination by Bayne lawyer Doug Christie was postponed until Tuesday, February 09, 2010, in order to accommodate the testimonies of Dr. Colbourne and Dr. Randall Alexander both of which took place last week. Yesterday, Tuesday February 9, 2010, Mr. Humeny was back in the witness box for the cross examination portion.

According to Mr. Humeny’s testimony, the child protection unit of VCH (possibly Ms. Glen and/or Dr. Colbourne) alerted his office concerning the injuries to Bethany Bayne in the autumn of 2007. His investigative process included reports by and/ or conversations with Dr. Colbourne; and Vancouver Children’s Hospital social worker, Adrienne Glen, who was a member of the child protection unit; and Pastor Michael Hoffman* and his wife Elizabeth; as well as members of the Bayne extended family and Zabeth and Paul. His primary information sources were Dr. Colbourne and Ms. Glen and he told the court Dr. Colbourne’s opinions, treatment and prognosis. In a meeting on October 31, 2007 Humeny and his supervisor met with Paul and Zabeth, Zabeth’s parents, Zabeth’s sister and her husband and Ruth Hunt (friend) to review what he termed non-accidental injuries based on the medical report. Humeny was assigned to author the application for the Court Order as well as the narrative that supported the application.

He was in attendance together with his supervisor when apprehending the three children initially. Bethany was in hospital from the 19th to the 25th of October 2007 and on October 25, 2007 Bethany was placed in a Chilliwack foster home. No visits to Bethany were allowed to the Baynes during those initial weeks. He spent time with Zabeth Bayne’s parents prior to leaving the boys there with the stipulation that Paul and Zabeth could not be alone with the children in that home. He had numerous conversations with Zabeth during these days and weeks. He looked into sources of ‘collateral’ information about the Baynes. In looking for potential foster/ care homes for the boys should the need arise, Marvin (Surrey Council member) and Ruth Hunt offered their home in August 2008. They are Bayne family friends.

Testimony under Cross Examination – There was discussion about the Risk Assessment of which he is the author. It includes statements against the Baynes by what Humeny calls half a dozen ‘collateral witnesses’ who cannot be disclosed presently. The Risk Assessment also included statements from caregivers of the three children, the medical history from Dr. Colbourne and Humeny’s own findings. When Doug Christie asked why page 35 of the Risk Assessment was left empty, it was learned that this page would have contained a summary of the parents’ strengths. Mr Christie made the point that Mr. Humeny chose not to include comments such as the parents’ dedication and love and commitment to their son Baden during his three month hospital stay due to premature birth; and the commendations from their family doctor on their superior care of the boy during the at home care phase. Mr. Christie asked why Mr. Humeny did not mention some of the 350 visits that the Baynes have made to their children, and that they ask for more visitation opportunity. Mr. Christie queried why Mr. Humeny did not include the mother’s piano teaching experience with children over several years. Still pressed about this omitted page, Mr. Humeny stated that he did not feel that he knew the parents. This didn't wash with Christie because it was pointed out that Humeny had many meetings with the Baynes. Mr. Humeny was reminded that countless letters were written to the Ministry by friends and family and professionals which spoke positively to Paul’s and Zabeth’s home, character, forms of discipline used, interactions with their children, their involvement with others socially and otherwise, and the perceptions of students about Zabeth’s professional instruction. Mr. Humeny acknowledged that he was aware of this mail but he did not read the correspondence saying he did not have the time for it. He had relied upon the ‘collateral witness’ data and when cross examined, it was pointed out by Mr. Christie that that the support letters could have provided at least a balanced view of the Baynes if not call the ‘collateral witness’ data into question. Christie stressed that Humeny's risk assessment was written so obviously from an adversarial position it might be deemed hostile. Mr. Humeny's testimony under cross-examination recommences on Thursday at 9:30 AM at the Chilliwack Court House.

The CBC News article entitled ‘Surrey Couple Challenge Shaken Baby Allegation’ published Thursday, January 14, 2010 | 2:51 PM PT is found here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Addendum: Court is in Recess

The Trial is recessed for Wednesday and will resume on Thursday February 11, 2010 at 9:30 AM, second floor, Chilliwack Court House. The Baynes will be strengthened by supporters in attendance. Cross examination of Loren Humeny will be continued from today. A Post describing the Humeny testimony will be available tomorrow morning.

For Love and For Justice / Part 106 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Dr. John Plunkett on the Stand

On Monday morning I was fortunate to arrive early enough to meet Dr. John Plunkett who was called as a witness for Paul and Zabeth Bayne’s appeal. Baynes’ Attorney, Mr. Doug Christie, led Plunkett through the citation of his certifications and credentials in an effort to qualify him to testify in this court. MCFD lawyer Finn Jensen had opportunity to ask questions pertaining to these qualifications and twice referred to Plunkett as a ‘pathologist for hire.’ Plunkett informed Jensen that the majority of cases for which he testifies are pro bono, so Jensen inquired whether he could be called a ‘consultant for hire’, to which Plunkett said yes.

Plunkett retired five years ago in 2005 from a career as a forensic and general pathologist. He has been called to testify in over 100 cases in which SBS is an issue, on average about a dozen times per year. In most of the cases he testifies for the defence because over a period of recent years he has become convinced that infant head injury with respect to head trauma has been misunderstood and he has sought to educate himself as well as others. He was here today to express reasons why Shaken Baby Syndrome is an increasingly controversial area of diagnosis. Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is, in essence, a medical diagnosis based solely on the presence of a diagnostic triad: retinal bleeding, bleeding in the protective layer of the brain, and brain swelling. Much scientific research in recent years has cast mounting doubt on the forensic significance of this triad, thereby undermining the foundations of thousands of SBS custody and criminal cases and convictions. In several countries this scientific evolution has prompted systemic reevaluations of the prosecutorial paradigm. Most recently, after a seventeen-month investigation costing $8.3 million in Ontario a commission, The Goudge Inquiry, recommended that all SBS cases be reviewed. Plunkett conveyed that he is among a growing group of experienced professionals, pathologists and mechanical engineers and even physicians who present alternative diagnoses to SBS. He spoke to the definition of subdural hematoma and differential diagnoses for the signs and symptoms that too frequently in his opinion result in an SBS diagnosis.

He expressed that Bethany Bayne’s medical reports and film work provided evidence that she had chronic subdural hematoma, that is evidence of trauma, blood vessel damage and bleeding as long as three weeks before admission at Vancouver Children’s Hospital. It surprised him that a CT scan had not been ordered for her at any of the prior examinations in three area hospitals as the Baynes made six visits to healthcare facilities to discover what was wrong with her. Her condition should have been determined earlier because the signs were significant. In his estimation the only explanation was that she had an event three weeks earlier which fit the subdural bleeding and that there was no other evidence of any other attributable cause. The event which the Baynes reported of one child impacting the other accidentally three weeks before VCH saw her was consistent with the film work and reports. In his estimation shaking could not possibly produce this subdural hematoma. There was structural brain damage which caused the subdural hematoma and shaking could not affect this. He adamantly feels that a physician should never decide whether an injury is accidentally or non accidentally caused. Further, his conviction is that before submitting a report that may be the primary focus for a child custody or criminal investigation, a physician should consult with biomechanical engineers.

The reports of at least ten medical experts who agree with Dr. Plunkett's assessment are available for you to read at a site dedicated to the Bayne Plea. These were presented on Monday in court. (access them by clicking the link in the underlined sentence.)

A group of about twenty supporters of the Baynes silently and lawfully stood with signs outside the Court House yesterday, asking for children to be returned.

Monday, February 8, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 105 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

SBS – based on a diagnostic triad of symptoms

Shaking an infant is an unquestionably dangerous and reprehensible action. All efforts to reduce the risks to children by caregivers who do not know how to understand the baby’s needs or cope with a baby’s cries and behaviour are to be commended and supported.

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is, in essence, a medical diagnosis based on the presence of a diagnostic triad: (1) retinal bleeding, (2) bleeding in the protective layer of the brain, and (3) brain swelling. Bethany had all three. She was a sick baby girl. A well informed doctor when faced with an injured child with no evidence of physical abuse other than the triad of SBS symptoms will consider it his/her duty to be cautious for the sake of both the child and the parents. A respected pediatrician from Vancouver Children’s Hospital diagnosed Bethany as a Shaken Baby.

Presently, reporting regulations require that when retinal hemorrhages and subdural hematomas are discovered in a child, the child is immediately referred to protective services. A mitigating factor must be a believable story from the parent or care giver. If the story cannot be corroborated and if it is merely a story about a household mishap rather than a motor vehicle accident or something traumatically awful, SBS is the fall back assessment. Little or no attention was given to her three month premature birth and the bone fragility and chemical deficiencies consequent to that. Charges will not be laid if the story is supported by a credible witness or two. If that story doesn’t sell, then the SBS diagnosis is applied and the caregiver is put under suspicion and possibly charged. A Shaken Baby has to have a shaker, and who would be the most likely shaker? One or both of the parents. The child will not receive further testing for alternative causes.

With that background data it was reasonable that the Bayne children were taken from the parents in order to protect the children. The Ministry had already discounted the Bayne’s story of an accidental fall of one child on to their baby girl. The accident scenario was reported and recorded in all medical records at various hospitals and clinics over three weeks following the accident. A later CT scan of Bethany’s head confirmed internal bruising precisely at the spot on her head which Zabeth had identified as the area of contact between brother and sister. The attendant physician verified that this bruise was consistent with a contusion at that head location.

That was then. Zabeth and Paul while being subjected to interrogation, arrest, criminal charge, fingerprinting, then dropped charges and a wish of ‘good luck’ from the RCMP, likely looked alarmed and frantic. You don’t put on your best face during a crisis like that. However, in the days, weeks and months that followed, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) was inundated with letters speaking to the parents’ character, integrity and reliability. Would those references be enough to counter the unexplained head trauma?

Paul and Zabeth had themselves never heard of Glutaric Aciduria yet in internal documents they obtained from the Ministry (MCFD), they learned that their daughter, who had been examined by doctors who were in touch with MCFD, may be suffering from Glutaric Aciduria. Interestingly, this is a condition that is often mistaken for shaken baby syndrome, or child abuse. Glutaric aciduria is a genetic disorder with varied symptoms, sometimes including bleeding and swelling of the brain. Note that this was a Ministry report on file yet unprioritized in order to prefer the unsubstantiated conclusion that the baby had been shaken.

• MCFD pursued an unsubstantiated allegation, let’s call it a suspicion that Baynes shook their baby girl.
• SBS is unproven among biomechanic specialists and pathologists as a valid scientific finding.
• The SBS diagnosis of a Child Protection doctor who examined baby Bayne was challenged by ten prominent medical experts who communicated with the Baynes and whose reports were filed with the MCFD and its lawyer.
• The validity of SBS Shaken Baby Syndrome is being questioned in courts internationally.
• Some courts are banning the use of SBS as a prosecutorial cause and are overturning previous convictions.
• MCFD treatment of Paul and Zabeth appears to demonstrate an intention to permanently remove the Bayne children from their birth parents.

The reliability of an SBS diagnosis however, has become progressively more doubtful as research has increased. In the early 2000’s SBS skeptics emerged particularly with regard to SBS’s legitimacy as a diagnosis when used within the court for prosecution purposes and the number of skeptics has created into a reform movement in the United States and in Canada.

How prolific must misdiagnoses be in North America that innocent people and advocates for innocent people feel compelled to create an entire defence program and a website to assist one another to overcome invasive assaults by government children’s’ agencies. While ostensibly created to protect children, in more cases than any of us desire to know, such agencies through ill advised decisions have destroyed entire families and squander children’s’ futures because the right decisions were not made.

Here is a website called Shaken Baby Syndrome Defense. It wouldn’t exist apart from the appalling quantity of parents and caregivers who have been suspected, charged, convicted and sentenced wrongfully for shaking a baby, when in fact the physical symptoms being flagged have been misdiagnosed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 104 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

A Report from Friday’s Court Session February 5, 2010 with Randall Alexander in the witness box.
Randall Alexander – A primary witness for the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Proviso: Lawyer Doug Christie's questions to discredit the specific testimony of Randall Alexander in the Bayne case and my blog post here should NOT be interpreted as disapproval of efforts to prevent shaken baby and prosecution of criminal abuse of children.

This will have cost MCFD thousands of dollars. It would be different if 'Jason' Alexander had flown in from California. Remember ‘George Costanza’ from Seinfeld fame? At least then you could laugh. Instead, on Friday, directly from Florida, 'Randall' Alexander took the witness box to provide testimony for the Ministry of Children and Family Development. What he says is not a laughing matter. He is not humorous. It is the stuff of nightmares. For caregivers, falsely accused, his name on the roster of witnesses is always disquieting.

Doug Christie began to cross examine him as soon as possible. Alexander’s credentials were touted by MCFD lawyer Finn Jensen to bolster his credibility as a witness with expertise in determining whether shaken baby abuse had occurred with the Bayne child. His expertise has been accepted before in countless cases and on the basis of his testimony people have been found guilty of a variety of offenses. Many people are in prison today and many children are in foster care on the strength of his testimony. Christie’s dissection of Alexander’s credibility began with reference to a media account of a case in which a father was found guilty of murdering his six month old daughter and he was sentenced to life in prison. An Appeals Court judge found Dr. Alexander’s conduct shocking and prejudicial and his testimony was discarded and the defendant given a reduced sentence.

In a another case in which Alexander gave testimony against the defendant, the father was initially found guilty but the sentence was reversed and the defendant exonerated. Christie referenced yet another case in which the court deemed that Alexander allegedly acted in an inappropriate manner and in a short while on Friday the infallibility of this expert was being diminished. (all public information) I wish that this citation of questionable testimonies would make more cautious, the hundreds of child protection workers, pediatricians, police agencies and prosecution lawyers, who have confidence in and continue to rely on Alexander’s opinion about one theoretical diagnosis. Alexander is a Director for the National Center for Shaken Baby which occupies a this Utah office complex.
For Alexander, every child exhibiting the triad* of symptoms is a shaken baby. Dr. Alexander has never testified for the defense in a case and his CV indicates that he trains pediatricians, RCMP, judges, prosecutors and social workers to convict shaken baby perpetrators. He does not train defense lawyers. (*see tomorrow's blog post for the triad details)

With specific reference to the Bayne case, here is what we learned on Friday. Dr. Alexander admitted that he had seen the film work for Bethany’s injuries only the day before he took the stand yet he had written his report on the case a significant amount of time earlier. Dr. Alexander’s report was one page and a few lines in length. Christie ascertained that the cited sources for Alexander's decision was information from Dr. Colboune at BC Children's Hospital, a history of the case provided to him by the prosecution and some of the Bayne's experts' reports. There was no indication in the witness'report that he had seen or read the hospital reports from Matsqui, Chilliwack and Fraser Canyon Hospitals where Bethany was also examined in the days prior to admission at Vancouver Children’s Hospital. Under Christie's questioning, Alexander acknowledged that he had not read Bethany’s birth records where the severe prematurity factor should have been considered for a prudent rather than default assessment of cause for the symptoms observed. He also did not read all of the ten reports by other experts who, like him had examined Bethany’s medical data but rendered opinions that pointed to other causes and discounted shaken baby syndrome. He admitted upon questioning that he came to this moment of testimony, not knowing that the accidental fall of one child upon Bethany had been witnessed, or how heavy the falling child was or the speed at which the falling boy impacted the infant girl or the type of floor she was lying on, or what kind of physical reaction Bethany had at the time of the accident or that during the three weeks following the accident she had fits of vomiting, and therefore Christie submitted to court that Alexander had written his report based on incomplete medical history.
Christie's submission was noteworthy because in spite of the absence of information and preparedness, Alexander was claiming to be an expert who could render an opinion in this case that should help to prove that Bethany was a shaken baby and that Paul and Zabeth are abusers and that they do not deserve to have children in their home.

Christie introduced to court a damaging video as the last exhibit of the day. In this video Alexander is giving testimony in court in another shaken baby case while holding a doll in his hands to demonstrate the effect that shaking a baby would actually have. In this case the neck collapsed and the doll’s head fell off. Noticeably uncomfortable he fumbled with the doll’s head to reattach it to the body. This exhibit displayed the content and delivery of testimony which Alexander customarily provides for the prosecution at the expense of grieving and suffering families.

The payment that MCFD approved for Alexander's testimony, his flight and his accommodation was covered by all of us in British Columbia. At a great disadvantage are parents like the Baynes who are typically without the resources to bring medical professionals who would like to help. But wait for Tuesday's report of Monday's scheduled witness for the Baynes.