In order to win this ruling, MCFD is presenting a case that is nothing less than an attempt to wrongfully convict Paul and Zabeth of a criminal act. If you disagree with me, then tell me what I am missing in my appraisal. Please don't say, “the parents' guilt is missing from you assessment,” because guilt is the one thing for which neither you nor MCFD have evidence.
MCFD does not have a case because there is no proof that either Paul or Zabeth physically shook their youngest child, their infant daughter Baby B. If the contested shaken baby syndrome were an iron clad diagnosis, there would still be no evidence other than circumstantial that might implicate Paul or Zabeth. Nevertheless, in the autumn of 2007 following a frightening diagnosis by a reputable Vancouver pediatrician, MCFD was warranted to question the parents and others. The doctor notified MCFD that the baby's condition was consistent with being shaken. MCFD naturally assumed that a probable shaker was one or both parents. MCFD social workers were unconcerned when RCMP found insufficient evidence to proceed with a criminal charge, since the social workers' responsibility was simply to assess risk, not establish guilt. Because MCFD workers did not accept the Baynes' explanation of an accidental impact collision between a toddler brother and the infant sister who lay on a blanketed section of the floor, they have remained suspicious that Paul and Zabeth had caused harm to their child. Suspicion is sufficient legal reason to remove the child for its protection. It's in the child's best interests. The assumption was also made that if the parents are a risk to one child they may be a risk to the other two children. So removing all three children was in their best interests. So goes the rationale and so went the children.
From the initial weeks of this case the MCFD Fraser Region team has maintained a discriminatory opinion about the Baynes. Its legal presentation reveals that all acquired information for the past two and one half years has been processed through a bias and interpreted as corroboration of the Baynes' untrustworthiness and unfitness to parent. The MCFD risk assessment that was entered as evidence is a premier example since the template section which allows for recording positive features or attributes about Paul and Zabeth, was noticeably blank. In the mind of the social worker writing the assessment and director who approved it, this respectable, decent, principled, serious minded, morally and ethically upright, polite and courteous couple, had nothing for which to be commended. Even the fact that Zabeth is an accomplished concert pianist didn't reap a comment as gratuitous as “she plays the piano very well.” In fact under cross examination, the social worker author of the risk assessment admitted that of the hundreds of pieces of correspondence that had been sent by friends and acquaintances over many months to affirm the Baynes as good people and good parents, he had read none.
Already convinced about parental liability, social workers failed to ask greater questions about the reliability not of the pediatrician but of the Shaken Baby assessment, the consistency of the baby's medical conditions with other causes, the credibility of the opinions of the concerned few collaterals whom they solicited, the mechanical medical reasonableness of a domestic accident between siblings, the weight of affirming testimonials by close family members and friends. AND IF THESE SOCIAL WORKERS HAVE NEITHER THE TIME, NOR THE TRAINING AND EXPERTISE TO RESEARCH SUCH MATTERS, THEY ALSO DO NOT HAVE ANY BUSINESS ASSESSING RISK. Instead social workers sought to discover exculpatory connections of abuse within the extended families or of work related and medical stresses that would precipitate abusive behaviour. MCFD stretched whatever thin morsels there were into case content. Whether or not they harmed their child is of little importance when minds are already convinced that they are guilty.
MCFD lacks an evidentiary case against the Baynes. The MCFD attempts to pursue a wrongful conviction. Of course this is not a criminal case but MCFD is essentially seeking to prove that Paul and or Zabeth are criminally responsible for their baby's injuries. How could the parents otherwise be a risk to their children? MCFD must persuade the judge that founded on merely medical opinion, hearsay and suspicion but no evidence, a ruling is warranted that is tantamount to a guilty verdict against the Baynes. I don't think that they have succeeded. I pray that they have not succeeded.