At the hearing yesterday for unsupervised access, in Doug Christie's presentation of the Bayne affidavit, Judge Crabtree was reminded that no evidence exists that Paul or Zabeth ever harmed one of their children. It didn't exist at the time of the children's removal and no evidence has been entered into court as evidentiary fact. Only suspicion survives and that does not qualify as evidence because it is subjective and willful. Medical reports on the two boys before the birth of their daughter indicate that the youngest boy's severe prematurity notwithstanding, both boys were well and had good connection with their parents. The eldest son was born at normal gestation and had no physical issues. The next son and the youngest child, a daughter, were born very prematurely. Paul and Zabeth could support their testimony with medical documentation that they took diligent care of these two youngest and needy children, providing them with consistent and regular doctors' reviews. The Baynes cited the numerous benefits that would accrue to the best interests of their children were they to be granted unsupervised access.
In contrast to the Bayne affidavit, another affidavit was presented by Ministry lawyer Finn Jensen. This document began with a list of the full schedule of activities in which each of the three children is occupied each day of the week. The inference was that additional visitation time was unthinkable because it complicates foster care and supervision arrangements. Then the document predictably spoke to those matters that imply the continuing risk that Paul and Zabeth pose in the Director's mind. It stated that the Director has relied upon the diagnosis of Children's Hospital that Bethany sustained a non accidental trauma resulting in brain hemorrhaging, a unilateral retinal hemorrhage and a fractured femoral bone. On that reliance the Director is seeking a Continuing Care Order the affidavit said, and increased access and certainly unsupervised access conflicts with the Director's proposed plan for the children, which is in his view to take them away permanently from their parents. While reference to Children's Hospital gave it punch, I suspect Children's Hospital will not be pleased to take ownership of this (non accidental) trauma diagnosis since it expressly belonged to one doctor and is disputed by a dozen other medical experts. The punch is lost. Now I want you to read the magnitude of this next assumption. Then the affidavit said that it is the Director's belief that Baby B sustained these injuries at the hands of one or both of her parents and that she and her siblings are consequently at risk of further injury if left unsupervised in their parents' care. I mentioned earlier that suspicion cannot be deemed to be evidence. Conjecture, speculation must not be deemed as cause for a CCO ruling. The affidavit even made quibbling reference to internet postings which convey specific details of the Bayne case and question the Ministry's motives (i.e. GPS). I make these points because someone must, in the best interest of the children as a matter of fact. News journalists would and could but it doesn't sustain readership each and every day. But I am getting the sense that there is coming a day when the details will be torrential.
Yesterday's Conclusion: At the end of the day, Judge Crabtree ordered access consistent with the request of Paul and Zabeth that the children attend a Birthday Party for one of the children to be held soon at a place of their choice and supervision was at the discretion of the Ministry. The children would also be permitted to attend an anniversary party at another date. Most importantly Justice Crabtree has called everyone back to the court next Monday when he will deliver a written ruling on the matter of unsupervised visitation.