Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Random Selection from Your Comments / Part 296 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Random Selection from Your Comments: Scores of people have added personal comments to blog posts over the past weeks. Here are a few from recent days.

  1. "This was not just about a protection hearing, Doug Christie put the ministry on trial and exposed its shoddy tactics and blundering incompetence for the world to see in an open court.
  2. September 21st, 2010 has been set for Finn Jensen to sum up the case for the MCFD. All day.
  3. Doug Christie made a succinct, articulate and convincing summation in one hour. Finn Jensen's insistence of having a full day for his summation shows his or MCFD's desperation.
  4. The similarities between the Bayne case and ours in Ontario is amazing and on Sept 21, 2009 ours concluded with the return of our children.
  5. Fighting for parental rights must become fashionable because of mismanagement of child protective services.
  6. My experience is that "services" provided by MCFD are used to acquire more evidence that can be used against the parents to deprive them of parental rights.
  7. It is crucial that we recognize child protection corruption to put a stop to more children and families being victims of an awful tyranny.
  8. We must return to very simple laws dedicated to helping children truly in need or travesties of Justice will continue in the name of Child Protection.
  9. I have seen children removed because parents rent a flea infested condo, or children went to school appearing sad or have a rash, or parents disagree with positions of a SW.
  10. As long as a group of people are given such enormous God-like power - that is, the power to take a child from his parents with virtually no accountability, then there will be wrongful removals.
  11. Help children who need help, i.e. if there are actual signs of abuse, do an investigation, then charge the perpetrator criminally.
  12. Don't permit social workers to yank kids away from their family on the basis of some bogus subjective "neglect" accusation.
  13. To revoke sweeping child removal authority does not compromise child protection but rather directs such a measure to truly vulnerable children.
  14. Many Canadians, children included, have good reasons not to trust government, largely because of the government's damaging role in their lives.
  15. Integral to the job of investigative social workers is use of surveillance and inquiry.
  16. Some MCFD employees who read the blog must be dismayed by the Bayne case and we would benefit to hear from them, even if anonymously."

Monday, August 30, 2010

YOUR SUGGESTIONS TO REGAIN TRUST / Part 295 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

LIST OF NECESSARY ACTIONS BY WHICH MCFD CAN GAIN PUBLIC TRUST

In identifying these points from the comments written it was clear to me that many of the subjective ideas offered stem from personal experiences and were not executable suggestions for regaining trust. Here are suggestions that readers made yesterday.
  • MCFD would have to demonstate that it practicing precaution, respect, integrity, common sense, safety, accountability, fulfilling what was promised and treating others as you would have them treat you.
  • MCFD must correct its mistake and give the Bayne children back to their parents.
  • When the Bayne children are returned, Mary Polak and Leslie du Toit must make a public apology on behalf of the Ministry.
  • MCFD needs to reaffirm publicly it's own first and eleventh value statements: 1). To establish a value/principle-centred ministry that is respected and trusted 2). To sustain partnerships of trust and respect.
  • Establish a process to appeal removals immediately. This includes second opinions on all findings and applies to all existing cases.
  • MCFD must publicly admit that they have made a mistake instead of finding ways again and again to circumvent the judicial system.
  • The provincial government should have a judge do an inquiry into this and the entire system.
  • MCFD must do an internal review to determine how to ensure that such errors do not occur again.
  • MCFD must make public its revised procedure for gathering information and writing assessments.
  • Child apprehension must be limited to verifiable drug, crime or abuse related cases rather than potential risks.
  • MCFD must require every social worker to be registered with the college.
  • MCFD must stop interfering with parents who have regained custody of their children.
  • Risk assessments cannot be written based on old records but rather current data and current interviews with children.
  • Because people and families grow and change, the old information should be discarded after a certain number of years.
  • Risk assessments must not be founded on biographical data to infer that having been abused as a child transfers to being an abuser.
  • MCFD must demonstrate to parents that it honours the truth. Erroneous data must no longer be contained in files and stated in court as true.
  • Court orders and legal actions must have brief time limits that cannot be abridged or broken.
  • Children's best interests must apply to staying with parents when formal police charges have not been laid.
  • Parents must be informed about their rights to ask for interim custody.
  • Demonstrate professionalism by ending the practice of embarassing children by talking to them at high school.
  • Files on children must be sealed when the child reaches age of majority so that implications are not implied about heir parenting when they have children.
  • MCFD must make a complaint process less restrictive and definitely not record a complaint on the person's record.
  • MCFD must demonstrate that it is willing to listen to clients.
  • MCFD must change its own self perception from a criminal justice and policing agency to service providers.

A few comments spoke to the difficulties of regaining trust under present circumstances:

  • An enormous grassroots movement is required to demand many of the actions stated above.
  • The Canadian public will have to change from complacency to militant social reformer.
  • So many current complainers against MCFD come from welfare and lower income families who lack the resources to contest.
  • Sadly many more children will be removed from homes before the ripple becomes a movement.
  • The HST protest illustrates that the public can be roused to action.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Miranda Rights and a Counsel / Part 294 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Yesterday's Suggestions for Regaining Trust will be available tomorrow.
An Anonymous writer on August 23, 2010 at 9:09 PM wrote the following interesting comment.
Anonymous said...
“Social workers do not only remove children as a last resort. That is ridiculous and very untrue. Over the last seven years I have heard case after case where children were removed when other measures could have been put in place. Cases where more than one family member offered to care for the children but MCFD wouldn't even do the home studies. Cases where the children could have stayed with the parent if certain things were put in place but 'no funding' for that! Several situations where the children didn't even need to be removed. I think, if life is so bad for a child that they must be removed, there better be proof and I don't mean proof without evidence. I mean proof. Why screw up a child's future forever based on a few comments made by a neighbor or an angry ex spouse? And, when children are removed, parents should be told their rights just as it is when a person is charged with a crime because, in reality, what's the difference. Everything a parent says to a social worker will be used against them in court so why don't social workers tell parents that? Why don't social workers take statements from parents that are signed so that no statement can be later twisted and used against them?”
Among the points made were:
  1. Kinship and Friend care should be prioritized when a removal is required during an investigation.
  2. Child Removal should truly be the last resort not merely on paper and in theory but in practice. 
  3. A judge should never grant the Ministry a care order without substantial evidence. 
  4. Something like U.S. Miranda rights should be required to read to parents before conversation, interrogation or investigation so incriminating statements or subjectively recorded entries cannot be used. 
  5. Any statement from parent(s) to be filed should require parent(s)' signature.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

TO RESTORE PUBLIC TRUST / Part 293 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

10:21 PM August 26 a Commenter called Child Protection Exposed wrote, “The question, I believe, has always been and still remains, "How do we correct this corruption of the Public's trust?" Obviously, transparency, or more correctly oversight with authority is one of the more promising solutions. Will this stop wrongful removals? Not likely. Until we return to very simple laws dedicated to helping children truly in need, travesties of Justice will continue all in the name of Child Protection. JJ Kelso must be turning over in his grave.”

I am inviting your brief interactions with this primary question. Perhaps you can limit your response to one concise point or a brief remark. HOW CAN PUBLIC TRUST BE CORRECTED FOR MCFD? What do you believe can or must be done? Tomorrow we will comprise a top ten list of things that Mary Polak and Leslie du Toit can do to regain the lost trust.

Friday, August 27, 2010

SHAKEN BABY - NOT SOLE CAUSE OF SUBDURAL HEMORRHAGE / Part 292 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Medical professionals have been taught that findings of subdural brain haemorrhage beneath the skull and small hemorrhages in the retinas behind the eyes indicate shaken baby. If any broken bones are found as well, the alarms are sounded for NAI or non-accidental injury. In theory shaken baby syndrome is produced by excessive shaking of a baby or child resulting in severe injury and sometimes death. Accusations of shaken baby syndrome against caregivers have become epidemic throughout the English-speaking world.

New research beginning in 2001 and a resultant body of evidence has put this SBS default diagnosis into question within the medical community. It has led to reappraisal of the standard features for determining SBS and infant deaths. Easily overlooked in this rush to find someone responsible for injury, are the ultrasound examinations of a woman's womb prior to labour that reveal subdural haemorrhage in the infant. Newborn babies also sometimes evidence subdural haemorrhage as a result of the birthing process. Further, Vitamin C deficiency occurs today in the breast milk of nursing mothers as well as in bottle fed babies without Vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C depletion increases blood histamine levels causing capillary fragility. Such a weakness in the walls of the bridging veins between the brain and the skull can cause bleeding on the brain, even with the very gentlest of handling.

An example of the new research is found in this Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 9 Number 3 Fall 2004, C. Alan B. Clemetson, M.D., Professor Emeritus, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, La., writes an abstract entitled 'Is it “Shaken Baby,” Or Barlow's Disease Variant?'

In this article Clemetson makes a case that the bleeding of scurvy is due to a weakness or fragility of the capillaries and small veins, resulting from a very high blood histamine level. Histamine intoxication due to infections or vaccinations should therefore be considered as a possible contributor to the “shaken baby syndrome” and infant deaths. A problem arises because routine laboratory examinations of blood plasma ascorbic acid or whole blood histamine are not performed to determine Barlow’s disease or infantile scurvy since very few laboratories are adequately equipped and trained to carry out such analyses. Therefore law enforcement and medical professionals will not be able to determine a correct cause or the underlying condition of the “shaken baby syndrome” and infant deaths until plasma vitamin C and whole blood histamine levels are studied.

Clemetson notes, “Today, apple juice is given to infants as a supplement instead of orange juice; there is only 1 mg of vitamin C in 3-1/4 fluid ounces of apple juice, as compared with 49 mg of vitamin C in the same volume of orange juice. Parents need to purchase apple juice supplemented with vitamin C to compensate for this depletion, also orange juice needs to be supplemented with vitamin C due to the loss during the pasteurization process.”


No one should shake a baby and Clemetson's assertion is that no one should ever be accused, charged or indicted for inflicting “shaken-baby syndrome” or death to a child unless analyses for plasma ascorbic acid and blood histamine have been performed and placed in evidence. That process might prevent many care givers from being falsely accused, prosecuted and even incarcerated.

You should check out MEDICAL MISDIAGNOSIS RESEARCH and bookmark it for future reference.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

CW WAS A CONTRIBUTOR / Part 291 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

I scrutinize the comments you send to this post. I explained my approach in a post some time ago.

On Wednesday, June 23, 2010 on my post MONITORING THE BLOG / Part 229 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/ I wrote, “The line is thin between reporting verifiable facts and defamatory material. I am depending upon you to exercise caution and integrity when referring to someone while relating a story or illustration. Because anonymous contributors afford me little confidence that they are who they say they are, SW, CW, parent, or that their motives for writing are honorable, on the basis of what they write, I must be trusting, discerning and objective at the same time.”

CW was a regular reader and contributor for many months. Although many of you did not know this person, the person's willingness to identify as a Care or Community Worker and the nature of this person's comments sent you into attack mode. Enough was revealed within his/her comments to convince most of us this was truly a social worker with inside information. I myself found the writer's comments balanced, extremely supportive of the blog's comments that called for change and improvement to the delivery of services by MCFD, and occasionally making points to clarify or correct statement some of you made about MCF data. Many of you didn't want to accept CW's support of any aspect of MCF work.

Among the things that CW wrote were these comments:
  1.  “I hope this sight is a catalyst for change too and that once the court-involvement with the Bayne's is over, the discussion continues as you see fit, Ron.” June 23, 2010 8:53 AM
  2. “To Anon 11:42 - I am afraid you are spending a lot of time considering my motives and missing the point … I have not once argued there aren't historical or current problems with child protection. I have said the issues which are being portrayed as the majority, are not.”June 23, 2010 9:57 PM
  3. Concerning Chris Martell's story, “God bless this family. So so terrible.” June 30, 2010 2:54 PM
  4. Thank you, Ron, for the valuable information you are posting. June 30, 2010 1:27 PM
  5. One that upset you and me and others concerned the Baynes laying a baby on the floor, something they themselves may have questioned numerous times yet CW wrote: “It was not ok to leave this little girl on the floor - in her condition(age etc), with rambunctious brothers playing nearby. A removable offence? NOT one bit.”
CW has a right to speak forth but not to expect us all to find it palatable. In fact the comment was fair. Hindsight informs that putting the child there was risky but it was not a parental action worthy of child removal.

Characteristic of the contrary remarks that were frequently directed at CW is this example.
To: CW (June 16, 2010 9:01 AM) “Thank you for your prompt reply. I am impressed by your dedication in monitoring this blog, your knowledge in defending the “child protection” industry, your skills in mitigating damage and casting doubt. Your awareness of opposition is above the average of a front line community worker.”

Often CW was required to defend against a misinterpreted statement.
  1. Anon 3:11 - I never once said parents are "better off after receiving services." I did say something along the lines of (paraphrasing myself) "those who voluntarily seek services will benefit from them." I said the postings here which are being portrayed the majority - are the minority. Nothing more. Please do not extrapolate.... I can explain this statement further if you wish it.
  2. To Anon 12:27 - I think its with you where the burden of proof lays, does it not? Someone else had already mentioned PAPA on this web site before I had. I don't mind if people go to PAPA, they post a lot of important videos and articles. I referred solely to the surveillance section.
  3. To Anon 12:18 - I wonder why I would engage in such an exercise with you on this blog - such as you are requesting... I have made my statements. You clearly have evidence you wish to present. By all means do so - I know you are itching... Ray Ferris, a documented former SW, has also stated surveillance, as you suggest it, does not occur... You may read my previous posts and quote when I said "MCFD never" used surveillance as you suggest. I may be wrong in recalling my own posts, but I'd say a good guess is that I said "MCFD does not."
And perhaps that latter comment is the one that I should have been able to recollect before publishing the latest challenge. CW had exhausted this subject of surveillance as far as he/she was concerned. But I didn't remember.
CW signed off a while ago, surprised and disappointed with me for publishing as a post a comment left by an Anonymous someone who challenged CW to respond to a specific issue, namely 'DOES MCFD SPY ON PEOPLE?' By signed off, I mean CW threw in the towel and said he/she would no longer comment on this blog. This Anonymous issued a similar challenge in an earlier post comment section called 'Whose Best Interests?'

CW has a discernible sensitivity. This is not the first time CW was offended and then made up with me and came back. Frankly, I think that the resignation was due to an accumulative affect of recurring exceptions being taken to CW's comments by numerous other writers, who, defensibly, are also very sensitive about the injustices dealt to them.

I have no idea what CW hoped to accomplish by that comment or withdrawal. Was I supposed to be surprised and disappointed? Well, surprised I was. The anonymous comment was sent and would have been published as a comment to a blog post of mine for that day. When I decided to remove that post, the comment still seemed of value enough to me, that I made it the post for the day. Perhaps I should have anticipated that it might offend CW but I didn't. How could I? CW managed other frontal attacks and this comment was eliciting a response. Disappointed? Perhaps a little because my intention was to stir the further engagement of the surveillance topic. Disappointed that CW no longer contributes? Well, sincerely, I try not to hurt people. Weeks of reading my posts should inform someone about that. Candidly, how am I expected to handle an anonymous contributor's fickleness in this impersonal medium.

I am not anonymous. You know who I am.  If a writer attacks me with words, I feel it. That is understandable. CW used initials yet still had a measure of anonymity so it strikes me as plainly silly for CW to feel injured by online comments when the writers do not even know CW, nor do I. I did appreciate the information and viewpoints that CW brought to our interaction. For CW's sake, CW did the right thing. Logged off. But perhaps not the right thing for the rest of us.
Now readers, if you are going to comment, please don't direct it at or to CW. If you have something to say about spying and surveillance by MCFD personnel, in that I would have interest to publish. I think CBC journalist Kathy Tomlinson might also be interested to read these comments.
Who knows, CW may still be commenting under an Anonymous or a pseudonym.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

FORMULAIC LEGAL REPRESENTATION / Part 291 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Mr. Finn Jensen sought to convincingly present to the Court the Ministry's case that one parent is or both parents are a continuing risk to their children for which reason, they should not be awarded custody of those children. Jensen's presentation was based upon the Director's affidavit that expressly based its case on Dr. Colbourne's medical diagnosis. As I interpret the court case development, when the shaken child insinuation became shaky because the diagnosis itself is controversial and the evidence against either Bayne is non existent, Jensen employed other approaches.

Zabeth, under cross-examination by Jensen was squeezed to extract information that might be construed as admission that Paul had alone time with his several week old infant and he might have hurt her. Zabeth gave Jensen nothing. Then, of course, Jensen did the unthinkable. What was a loving confidence between husband and wife and shared with only a few others, her new pregnancy, mistakenly disclosed or clandestinely pirated to Jensen became for him a cruel instrument. He knew the effect it could have. The method is formulaic. When a counsel can make a witness come unglued or display behaviour that casts doubt upon emotional control and stability, it is easier to assert incapacity to care for children. He posed questions that evoked from her, what else, truthful responses. Yes, she and Paul have always loved children. Yes they wanted a large family. Yes they had considered enlarging their family. And then, “Are you pregnant now?” “Yes,” she said. She cried. A young woman, happily pregnant, had been made to feel soiled, guilty. Caught in the act of being with child.

This is the adversarial nature of the Court Room. The weapon was dulled at the moment of impact by the unified abhorrence of a full court room.  So Jensen's propositions continued. Whether Zabeth agreed or not, Jensen expressed questions to the Court that inferred that after three years without children in her home, and with the significant demands of a newborn, she and Paul would surely not be able to adequately care for these children. If he thought that his sails filled just then with a desirable breeze, Zabeth closed her trial by shredding the sails with her valiant and forceful final words.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

RAHMAN Family / Part 290 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

You who comment make it clear that the Baynes' experience with the child protection element of MCFD is not unique. This Bayne Campaign for Justice has not been precedent setting. Sure the Bayne case gained some public visibility via CBC and Global TV telecasts and online video links as well as this blog and others. Their campaign backed by a large cast of supporters has also used an online petition and promoted a Trust Fund to finance the incurred legal costs. But so have other complainants.
Rahman children

Consider the RAHMAN Family. On a well designed website with helpful tabs, friends of the family logged the ongoing struggle to establish innocence, acquittal, credibility and recovery.

 Here are details from that site.

One year ago some final web pages were published about their similar horrific experience. On April 9th, 2005, the Rahman children, then aged 2,3,4, and 5 years, were removed from their family after their two-year-old cousin died while in the mother's care.The child's loss was a terrible tragedy. The court documents explain that the niece, a two-year-old girl, fell from a chair while eating and hit her head on a concrete floor. The Rahman mother, Muzzammil Rahman was in the washroom and her own four young children witnessed the niece’s fall and alerted their mother. Finding that the child was unconscious and not breathing, Muzzammil who spoke limited English and had no transportation, took the child to a neighbour. The neighbour found pieces of waffle lodged in the child's throat, removed it and called 911. The 911 recording reveals sounds of the child choking. The story also indicates that the child had a pre-existing but undisclosed medical condition. Muzzammil was charged with manslaughter, (specifically, shaken baby syndrome).

It took three years for this case to come to trial and during that time, the children remained in care. Honourable, Mr. Justice. W.G. Grist B.C. Supreme Court May 21st, 2008 ruled “The Crown says the accused was overwhelmed and over-burdened by the care of her four children and Aisha. There is no direct evidence of this and there is evidence that she was taking proper care of the child.”... I think it essential in this case to keep in mind the evidence of the events as they unfolded given by these various witnesses.”... “Accordingly, the accused should be discharged.” Muzzammil was acquitted.

Some birthdays later - Rahman children
Immediately Muzzammil and Muhammad Attiq-Ur-Rahman's lawyer began court proceedings to get their children back. Can you appreciate how devastated they must have been when in spite of the acquittal, Surrey Provincial Court Judge Marilynn Borowicz stated in her ruling that the child who died was a victim of "severe, sustained, and unexplained child abuse." She ruled the Rahman children should stay in foster care. Similar to the Baynes, in the Rahman case the MCFD filed for a Continuing Care Order. ( Details taken from Denise Ryan's, Vancouver Sun article of August 13, 2009)

Later, at the Rahmans' appeal to the B.C. Supreme Court, Justice Grant Burnyeat overturned Judge Borowicsz's judgement with a statement saying that Borowicz had made “a critical omission” in her ruling by not giving an explanation for how she arrived at her conclusions. He wrote, "There is a complete failure to either review or analyze any of the expert evidence." He ordered a new trial for Muzzammil and Muhammad Attiq-Ur-Rahman in their fight to regain custody of their children. Their legal costs have been estimated at $200,000.  ( Details taken from Denise Ryan's, Vancouver Sun article of August 13, 2009)

The family was reunited in 2009. A final online post on Thursday, 24 December 2009 11:31, announced that “all the kids have been returned to their parents by an official court order.... We would like to sincerely thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the moral, financial, and generous support that everybody has provided throughout this ordeal!” The four Rahman children were 10, nine, seven and six when they were returned one year ago – having been for four years in the care of the Ministry and away from their parents. I am so glad for their happiness.

Monday, August 23, 2010

SOCIETY BENEFITS FROM A STABLE FAMILY / Part 289 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Any Family
Life begins at home and wisdom should begin there too. Home and family is where so much time is spent and so much personal interaction occurs. The home is the primary and most vital factor in a child's development into a mature and stable member of society. The family is the basic building block or unit of society, thus the stability of the community depends on the stability of the families that comprise it. In most families the nurturing is genuine and healthy. Sadly in other families, parents have few parental resources or have personal troubles that disable them for parental responsibility.

The parents have been what the child has not yet been – both young and old. Parents should have accrued wisdom from situations that the child has not yet experienced. So it is the parents' responsibility to create an environment in which they can pass wisdom on for the child to readily learn life lessons. It is the parents' responsibility to treat the child with dignity and respect. It is the child's responsibility to honour parents and to listen and to obey and to learn. A child who learns these home life lessons becomes enrichingly wise for a life that can be genuine, wholesome, prosperous. This is the foundation of good family and community relationships.

Given my faith background you will understand why I consider it to be significant that the fifth of ten fundamental commandments given by God to a society of people is this one. Exodus 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you."
Parents are also given direction in Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Society benefits from a stable family unit. A person's response to government derives from the parent-child relationship. The lessons and principles learned from honoring, respecting, and obeying parents will result in a society stable enough to promote development of the whole person. That's why forced removal of a child should be employed by social services as the last resort for child neglect or even child abuse, and seldom or never used to enforce any other parental compliance to regulations.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'M NOT, BUT IF I WERE / Part 288 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

I'm not, but if I were JUDGE THOMAS CRABTREE, I would use my newly bestowed power and influence as Chief Justice of B.C. to improve the way the Child, Family and Community Services Act and the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Legal System interact with families in which concern for children's safety has been registered.

I'm not, but if I were, HONOURABLE MARY POLAK, or DEPUTY MINISTER LESLIE DU TOIT, I would take seriously the criticisms and concerns of public opinion and announce and expeditiously conduct an exhaustive performance evaluation of the regional offices, directors and administrators with specific reference to the cases handled by their regions during the past five years.

I'm not, but if I were, a FOSTER PARENT, I would regard my relationship with a foster child as a trust given to me and an opportunity for the short term of providing genuine care, and if called upon for a longer term to shape and to influence a child with a view to his or her future, instilling values of worth and imparting genuine love. I would want to be like Esther Cordner who has cared for and inspired Frankie Bones for eighteen years.

I'm not, but if I were, a SOCIAL WORKER and was asked to become involved in child protection investigative intake work, I would be personally committed to protecting children while doing everything I could to empower parents and to preserve and protect the family and under the present Act I would remove a child from home only after exhausting all other alternatives and I would be grieved by abusive and irresponsible parents and seek to help them to overcome and change so restoration may occur.

I'm not, but if I were, A LAWYER, I would not and could not work for the MCFD where my best efforts would always be directed toward defending the decisions of a social working network over which I had no ownership or control, and which predictably would be seeking to separate children from parents.

I'm not, but if I were, A PARENT WHOSE CHILD WAS REMOVED, I would be broken hearted and very angry, but if I was at fault, I would admit my responsibility and do everything I could to personally change and to redeem myself and my family; and if my situation had been misrepresented I would seek to clear this up and if necessary would go public with the story of injustice.

I'm not, but if I were, A CHILD REMOVED BY MCFD, and old enough to fully experience my loss, I would cry, would become withdrawn, would lose trust, would not want to talk. If I had been abused physically or sexually I would be glad to be away from my abuser, and if I had been neglected I would be grateful for food, clothing, shelter and care; and if my parent(s) didn't want me I would be bewildered for years; and if my parents wanted me desperately but were prevented by MCFD, I would pray that Judge Crabtree would give me back to my parents.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

FRANKIE BONES

Vancouver Sun columnist Vivian Luk published at 1:18 AM of August 21, 2010 that aspiring concert pianist Frankie Bones, a foster child from Surrey has been permitted by MCFD to study music at Walla Walla University in Washington State.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Piano+prodigy+granted+permission+study/3426920/story.html#ixzz0xFBmJh4Z

PROTECT CHILD-PARENT RELATIONSHIP / Part 287 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

We would be well served to have enshrined in our Constitution and/or our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the preservation and protection of the vital relationship of child and parent? Is that tenable? (Here is a link to Constitution Acts from 1867 to 1982).

Here is a cause about which many of you can become excited. This is a cause that our legislators, Members of Parliament, Representative of Children and Youth, Attorney General, Ombudsperson, and Minister of Children and Family Development can now be challenged to consider. Why don't we try championing the protection of children by empowering parents. Wow! Now there is a concept!

The slogan for an existing U.S. movement known as Parents Rights is '”Protecting Children by Empowering the Parents.' This organization envisions a nation where the vital child-parent relationship is protected and preserved. Ensconcing in our fundamental documents for living in Canada, the cardinal principle of child-parent relationship with statements that cherish, protect and preserve it is a measure that an army of citizens would support.

It resonates particularly if you have become concerned about losing personal freedoms within today's political climates. When government is allowed to determine what is best for children based upon the subjective interpretations of such matters as nutrition, nurture, dress, living accommodation, values education, general education and faith practices in specific families about which authorities have been alerted by anonymous tips registering concern, then many of you might object. Wouldn't it be helpful to have a Canadian or provincial statute upon which you could depend.

ParentalRights.org is urging support for SR 519. SR 519, The Parental Rights Amendment, would mandate the rights of parents as sole guardians of their children. It contains three basic sections.
  1. The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.
  2. Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.
  3. No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article. [2]
If you know of a legal document that already provides this to Canadians or British Columbians, please let readers and me know.

Friday, August 20, 2010

GUILTY BY SUSPICION / Part 286 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

This will never happen so I can conjecture with certainty while driving home a point. Don't become immediately alarmed but stay with my syllogistic reasoning long enough to hear the conclusion. Or you might call it silly thinking.

If Judge Crabtree eventually rules against the Baynes and does in fact grant to MCFD the Continuing Care Order for which it has applied, should the Baynes also then be arrested and charged with a criminal act? Wouldn't such a Crabtree ruling be tantamount to a guilty verdict? After all, the CCO application is pursued because MCFD considers the Baynes an ongoing risk to their children because they are suspected of having harmed a child.

I know what the easy legal answer is. The present case of MCFD versus Baynes is about the rights of three children to protection and security and not technically about the guilt or innocence of Paul and Zabeth Bayne with regard to physically harming one of the children.

I understand the import of the case and the distinction between these legal details. Yet logically, since the MCFD affidavit established that the entire CCO application is premised upon Dr. Colbourne's injuries assessment which she identified by the term 'shaken baby syndrome,' and by reason of which she or her medical colleagues notified MCFD and RCMP, doesn't the ruling to award the children to MCFD infer the guilt of one or both Bayne parents? And if it does, does it not make sense to hold them accountable by charging them with an offence?

Surely both parents did not gang up on the youngest of their three children and willfully hurt her. So one might say, we don't know which of the parents harmed the child and which one should be considered guilty of the suspected assault. Yes, but the non perpetrator parent is complicit in the crime by reason of silence, so both should be considered guilty by suspicion and receive the same penalty of childlessness. Equitable justice.

Ahh, but the cop-out argument can then be made that RCMP initially charged them with aggravated assault and investigated them and dismissed the charge for lack of evidence and that rather than pursuing that direction again, the Baynes can be made to pay through the removal of their children from them and the ending of their hopes for their family. That punishment will be accepted as a satisfactory payment. So, rather than charging them with an offence for which sufficient evidence must be garnered to support the charge, child protection services have been able to surmise violence and acquire enough suspicions to support the speculation. That is awkward to imagine but it is effectively a guilty verdict. It can be classified as guilty by inference rather than by evidence. That may not be on the books but it is the de facto feature of MCFD practice and interpretation of the mandate document called the Child, Family and Community Services Act.

After the first few weeks and definitely following the first few months that MCFD was involved with the Bayne children, MCFD justification for and management of the Bayne file became preposterous. This has been a comedy drama of MCFD incompetence mismanagement with tragic results for an entire family.
One commenter correctly suggests that 'incompetence' is not the appropriate word choice. Perhaps more suitable choices are malice, maliciousness, malevolence, spitefulness, venom, wrongful conduct, improperness, mismanagement, errors. I will substitute 'mismanagement' for 'incompetence.' Now I am thinking that 'comedy' is not apt either. I will substitute 'drama.'

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Criminal Negligence - Sad Story

Vancouver Sun carries the story  today that charges will be laid against a foster mother in whose care Chris Martell's son Evander died. I told his story earlier.    Account #2.     Account #3

BAYNE FAMILY PHOTOS

If you are one of her Facebook friends, scroll through Zabeth Bayne's recent family fun photos she has posted on her Facebook page. It will further convince you that a Continuing Care Order is outlandish.

THERE IS A BETTER WAY/ Part 285 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Att.Gen, Mike de Jong (Steve Bosch photo)
Vancouver Sun ran an online article written by Jonathan Fowlie for Sun July 19, 2010 and entitled it, “B.C. to revolutionize Family Relations Act, revise legal definition of 'parent'”

I particularly want you to listen to some key phrases by Attorney General Mike de Jong as he explains the rationale for the significant changes being proposed in this historic reform of a thirty year old Family Relations Act. He said, “We have family law built around a very adversarial model and we think there is a better way — when a family changes or when a relationship comes apart — there is a better way to resolve some of those issues than rushing off to court,” said de Jong. Further to this he remarked, “We will always need the court, but we do not need a system that is primarily an adversarial system.”

I grant that the Family Relations Act and the Child, Family and Community Services Act address different issues, yet the latter is written with a similar adversarial model framework. Would you support, welcome and advocate for a rewrite of the CFCSA that would deliberately move from this adversarial model which predictably pits the Ministry of Children against parents? Would you wish that our Minister of Children would come out to say about the child protection component of her Ministry, “We do not need a system that is primarily an adversarial system. There is a better way to resolve the issues than rushing off to court.”  Do you think that we need absolutely groundbreaking legislation in the area of child and family services?
I am interested in hearing you on this topic.
  1. To view the proposed changes to the Family Relations Act go here: Changes
  2. You can read more about the FRA story at this Vancouver Sun site: Family Relations
  3. Three Parents
  4. B.C. Proposes Sweeping new Changes to Family Relations law

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

INFORMED AND CONFOUNDED / Part 284 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/


My primary purpose for the blog when I began was to expose what I believed was an injustice upon a family with whom I was acquainted, the Baynes.

The writing process required research which has been educational for me. The information has also been disturbing to me.

The unspeakable terror of being accused of harming one's own child when in fact that was untrue, and the confiscation not only of the one child to whom this harm was allegedly done, but all three of one's children was so repugnant that I could not tolerate the thought that we have a Ministry that would condone this and then keep the children for over two years without sorting it out. It is almost three years now.

What I have learned is that conjoined to the removal of children as the first line of solution to suspected abuse or neglect, is a legal establishment comprised of clever, cold-eyed lawyers who defend the actions of Ministry personnel using the files and reports compiled by social workers some of whom have abandoned integrity.

What is more troubling to me is that my acquaintances are not a unique case but merely a sample of scores more families whose lives were interrupted or forever altered in British Columbia. Then I discovered that in every province, the governments' initiatives to protect children has resulted in similar miscarriages of rights and freedoms and reputations and privacies. Further, a virtual worldwide pandemic of absurdities within the child welfare programs of nations is destroying families.

I am confounded that our own Minister of Children and Deputy Minister of Children and Ombudsman and ranking Ministry officers, when reviewing the same data to which I have access, are not themselves questioning and speaking to how Child Welfare agencies can fulfill their mandate effectively without leaving these lengthy trails of tragedy and heartache.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

THIS BLOG HAS TALLIED OVER 100,000 HITS

STRIKING THE BALANCE / Part 283 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

A difficult balance
Someone is going to argue that it is a very tricky administrative task to balance the best interests of the children and those of their birth parents. It's reasonable to entertain that statement yet even if we grant that, is it not appropriate to expect that the people trained to this work are going to be able to find the balance?

This blog and its accompanying comments archive have sounded a general note of caution about the family justice system, essentially expressing the that there is a "chronic weakness" in the system because of a shortage of resources in numerous areas.

We should be critical of a legal system that seems to make it impossible for the Baynes or anyone else to fully expunge their names from the MCFD files once they have been positioned there. Our judicial system should be capable of clearing the names of innocent people.

The Court would consider it improper to criticize Dr. Colbourne and other doctors in the case of the Baynes. The Court would deem that these acted properly in good faith in performing their duties. Therefore, a lesson learned from this case is that at the earliest opportunity there is an imperative need to obtain second opinions on injuries to children, specially in cases where the facts are unusual as they are with the Bayne case. A corollary lesson learned from this case is that even when provisos and revisions are placed into a system to reduce or eliminate mistakes, mistakes do occur in a system that is operated by human beings. The Baynes contended that Dr. Colbourne's diagnosis was mistaken and they still do. Following Dr. Colbourne's diagnosis, the Baynes asked MCFD for a second opinion but they were denied. MCFD was satisfied that Dr. Colbourne was accurate. Well, she was right about her medical findings, but the error occurred when she identified those findings with a label, namely Shaken Baby Syndrome, which by virtue of the name points to cause. But the cause has not been established. And further, if a baby had been shaken at some point what kind of a system is it that empowers a doctor and social workers to impute blame to a parent or parents by automatically taking children away from them? The Baynes themselves had to obtain the records and reports and send them to independent medical and scientific experts in order to get second opinions. Second opinions which in point of fact, disputed Dr. Colbourne's opinion making it clear that the MCFD erred to be satisfied so soon.

For almost three years these three children have been denied the right of growing up together. Only in recent months were all three placed in the same foster home. That is a wonderful provision. A Continuing Care Order for which MCFD has applied, if granted, would permit the adoption of the children and the possibility that one or all would be separated from the others and denied that unique privilege of siblings to grow and bond together. With attitudes that prescribe this course of action, MCFD doesn't come close to touching the best interests of children so not to mention striking a balance between the interests of children and birth parents. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

NICKY & MARK WEBSTER NOT UNLIKE BAYNES / Part 282 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

The story is similar to the one profiled in this blog and to some life stories to which references have been made in some of your comments. There are many of these stories in numerous countries. Far too few people understand that the Court has the power to take away your child, for ever, on the balance of probability, in the absence of any criminal conviction.

The Websters spent years seeking to disprove abuse claims. The Websters were a Norfolk couple whom social services claimed abused their three children in 2003. The police looked into the case and dropped all charges against Nicky and Mark. Specifically social services claimed that the couple abused one toddler by violently twisting him, causing multiple fractures. That put the other two children at risk as well. Their three children were swiftly taken and processed and adopted out, two of them to one family and the third to another family. In the UK adoptions are non reversible.

Websters argued that a genetic bone defect accounted for their child’s injuries. In 2006 Nicola was pregnant with a fourth child and fearing that this child too might be taken from them, they fled from Britain to Ireland so Brandon could be born there. It became an international story in 2006. Irish authorities however ordered that Brandon be kept in hospital so the Websters agreed to return to UK. They were under round the clock supervision in an assessment centre for six months. They worried that the slightest mark on Brandon could result in this child being removed as well. At last they were allowed to take their baby son home but they had to engage in a legal battle to keep custody. Only a year later was a final decision made that they could keep their youngest child. During the first four years by court order their identities were concealed in the media by the use of a fictitious surname. Then in 2007 BBC won a landmark judgement to allow the Webster’s names and faces and evidence to be reported. Children’s services spokesperson tried to shift responsibility for this distasteful scenario by saying that it was actually the judge who made the decision regarding adoption.

Then in 2007-2008 research proved and the court accepted that the Websters had been telling the truth. The bone defect was genetic and the children should not have been removed but all efforts in court to regain custody of their children have failed. The court agreed with child protection that this would not be in the children’s best interests because of the adjustments and disruption. Adoption is not overturned in Britain.

a SERIES OF NEWS LINKS from recent to past

The couple who lost three children to social services launch historic court fight to win them back – by Laura Collins June 20, 2010

Family court hearings open to the media for the first time, June 21, 2010

We're classed as child abusers' - Facebook Page, Monday, 16 February 2009'

We’re classed as child abusers - BBC News Monday, 16 February 2009

Monday, 16 February 2009 The ethics of keeping a child from its parents

Monday, 2 July 2007 17:07 UK Missing children By John Sweeney

Friday, 3 November 2006 Couple allowed to take baby home

Parents battle for child custody, 8 November 2006, 17:18 GMT

Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK Please don’t take my baby

Sunday, August 15, 2010

SURPRISE REVEALED Part 281 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Well Paul and Zabeth have made it official now. They are expecting their fourth child. Zabeth is into her third month of pregnancy. She announced it on her Facebook page.

They had no other option but to go public now. This is the private and confidential information extracted under cross examination to which I discreetly referred in the last two posts. Someone with that private information, that secret, disclosed it mistakenly or intentionally. This is the news to which Finn Jensen became privy and used during his cross examination. He led Zabeth through a series of easily affirmed statements that approximated this, “You will agree that your two youngest children have many challenges? Boy B is developmentally behind and will require numerous therapies to assist him?” To these Zabeth responded by reciting a list of needs of which she is fully cognizant. Then he mentioned BabyGirl B and her deficit in movement and speech and Zabeth again responded with knowing affirmations. Jensen asked her whether she could sincerely believe that if the children were returned, Paul and Zabeth could look after them and meet all these needs. Then he asked her whether she would try to expand her family. When I heard that I knew exactly where he was going. She responded, “When Paul and I were married it was our intention to have a large family. We love children and we love our children and we want to nurture them.” Then with soft voice almost audible only to Zabeth to whom he was near, Jensen asked “Are you pregnant now?” She strongly and emotionally replied “Yes.” He whispered “how far along are you?” She said “two months,” and dissolved in tears. The room gasped. THE NEWS WAS OUT. The room gasped not because of the news but the insidious manner in which the news was broken. Christie strongly objected to this invasion of privacy.

Well Jensen's tactic was to infer that they cannot possibly look after three children when they have another one coming along. THAT IS NOT EVEN WHAT THIS TRIAL IS ABOUT. This is about whether either parent harmed their only daughter. They did not. This is about MCFD's failure to provide evidence for Jensen. The Baynes would be caring for their children if they had not been removed. They were diligently caring for the children before the removal. They would have made the adjustments that all good parents make when another child comes along. This case is not about whether they can care. It is about a Ministry taking three children, two of them certainly without cause, and the other for reason of suspicion minus evidence and therefore with no substantive reason for which to be granted continuing care.

Shortly after this, in what seemed like a dramatic moment, Christie announced to the Judge that he was ready to make his final submission. He and the Baynes wanted this done. This was absolutely enough. As far as Christie was concerned, the MCFD had proved nothing by what he called innuendo and smear and grossly distorted risk assessment statements and then this unnecessary, insidious attack upon an expectant mother, knowing she was pregnant and putting the baby at risk because she could lose the baby.

Christie said that MCFD and Jensen have suggested that the Baynes are without strength and are isolated. Bayne supporters filled one entire side of the room and surrounded the MCFD employees on the other. Then Christie turned around to look at the supporters and asked the Judge (paraphrased), “Does this look like they are isolated?" He continued. "It is suggested that the Baynes do not have the necessary network of assistance to care for their children. How many of these people will do all that they can to help Paul and Zabeth care for their children?" A room of supporters stood to their feet in an emotional demonstration of solidarity.
Be sure to read the previous two posts which retell other aspects of the closing of the court case.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

ADJOURNED/ Part 280 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

At precisely 9:30 AM Friday August 13th, 2010, a clerk entered the court room with the customary words, “all rise.” In unison we stood in deference to Judge Thomas Crabtree who came to his desk carrying his laptop. On that laptop he contains his personal notes typed as he listens through endless hours. Judge Crabtree has expressed earlier that he wanted this hearing to conclude Friday.

It's like climbing a mountain
Already seated in the witness box, Zabeth Bayne for the fourth day affirmed to tell the truth and counsel Finn Jensen immediately continued with his cross examination. Questions spewed effortlessly as he elicited responses by which he intended to arrive at a suggestion that Baynes had nothing about which to complain because the Ministry had provided the very same kind of good care for the children that the Baynes themselves would have chosen to provide if the Ministry was not involved. This tactic was employed repeatedly. Here's an example of this self-serving cross examination suited for you this morning. While Bethany was in hospital, the two boys required someone to care for them, right? Who better than family to care for the boys, correct? Zabeth's parents can satisfactory care for the boys, isn't that so? Zabeth and Paul trust their boys to the grandparents, don't they? Is this what Zabeth would choose for her boys so that she can be free to go the hospital? Of course it is, wouldn't you agree? Well, isn't that precisely what MCFD did for Paul and Zabeth? MCFD thought of the best interests of the children and put the family first didn't it?

Irritation, annoyance, frustration, aggravation is what attending Bayne supporters feel as they observe Zabeth being compelled to pluck at her memory for three years old details covered with mountains of disappointment and sorrow. On this day she answered clearly and confidently when she could, faltering only when Jensen made one of his regular suggestions to her that intimated she was dishonest or confused or purposely not recalling a detail or hiding the truth. Counsel Doug Christie struggled impatiently to hold back objections to  countless moments when he felt Jensen crossed a line, knowing that each objection would lead to lengthy debate which would consume hours in total. Child protection lawyers like nothing more than to extend a trial because it wears on the defendants and exhausts their resources and makes the lawyers wealthy.

In 2009 the media contacted the Baynes to invite an interview. That interview was recorded and scheduled for airing within days. Soon after that a 2008 mediation meeting was held in which the Baynes were told that the boys would be returned. Then the televised interview was shown and MCFD was embarrassed and called this a breach of trust. Christie called it vengeful and retaliatory that MCFD immediately decided not to return the boys. Jensen alleged that communication of this change was given to Zabeth but that she chose to ignore or not to believe it. She testified that this communication was never clear to her when she planned her son's birthday party. Her lasting impression was that SW Loren Humeny had conveyed the children would be returned. Jensen suggested that her shock and surprise was feigned when MCFD workers arrived at the birthday party to remove the boys. It appeared that occasionally Jensen showed impatience with Zabeth's memory lapses or her seeming unwillingness to concede to his suggestions.

Well here's the point. MCFD has no evidence that either parent harmed their own infant daughter. They needed a confession. Jensen needed to catch her somehow on an apparent contradiction out of which she could not extract herself. That did not happen.

The most reprehensible tactic that Jensen used happened near the conclusion of the morning. Through a series of questions he sought to display that Zabeth and Paul could not meet all of the challenging needs of all three of their children if and when they were returned to them. Then he deftly zinged her with a couple of questions to evoke responses of information that was so personal and should have remained absolutely confidential. The room gasped.

Soon after with a suddenness that astonished Judge Crabtree as well as Jensen, Doug Christie standing tall and convincingly serious, announced, “I am ready to make my final submission.” Of course the judge would have to rule that this was permissible since Jensen was not finished his denunciation and should do his summation first. Jensen said he was not prepared to do summation. Yet he has had many months to be ready and knew this day was coming and that it wasn't going to spill over unless of course he said something like this. And the judge not wishing to created any fodder for an appeal acceded to this reason. Christie did his summation in the afternoon. Read yesterday's update for further details.
NEW! Look for Paul's and Zabeth's own announcement on her Facebook page

Friday, August 13, 2010

IT'S NOT OVER 'TIL IT'S OVER / Part 279 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Most of us were trusting that today would be the conclusion of this hearing. It isn't. There is a degree of closure yet there is some ongoing business. I will explain.

Mommy and Daddy and their three
At noon, counsel for the defense, Doug Christie indicated that he was ready to make his final summation. That caught the Judge and Jensen off guard. The Judge would willingly entertain that direction to the day, but Jensen immediately indicated that he was not ready with a final submission. Christie estimated that he would require an hour of time in the afternoon. Judge Crabtree said he would consider this over the lunch break.

When we reconvened at 1:30 PM after some procedural chit-chat, the Judge invited Christie to provide his summation. It was with the understanding that Jensen could not and would not reply to that summation today. It was clear in his remarks and I had certainly seen in his body language that Christie has had enough. He cannot continue to give time to this case. His time and expertise have been a gift to a couple who have lost all material possessions to get their children back.

Christie did his thing, restating the emptiness of the Ministry's case. This is purely a medical matter, injuries sustained to an infant. No evidence, no confession to point to willful inflicted harm by one or both of the parents which is the only reason you take the children away from parents. All the Ministry has is a diagnostic opinion by a child protection doctor identifying the baby's injuries as shaken baby induced when in fact there is no evidence that these injuries were the result of an act of violence. In fact it was later acknowledged by this doctor as impact related which of course renders it consistent with the explanation provided by the Baynes of an accident in the home. He recited once again the intentional smears concerning Paul's childhood, all of which was fictitious and the insidious nature of the cross examination throughout the morning, culminating in the most disgusting display of juvenile law practice by Jensen and points to something even more clandestine and sinister.

So where does that leave the Bayne children? They cannot come home yet. No, now a court time must be found in Jensen's and Crabtree's schedules, a court room, and Jensen indicated he needs the better part of one day to speak to Christie's one hour summation. That meeting won't happen until mid September. It really doesn't matter how long Jensen takes does it? The Baynes do not need to attend this but a transcript will be sent to the Baynes so that Christie can respond to that and finally Crabtree must review all the evidence and at last make a ruling. It could be the end of 2010 by the time a verdict is given.

Meanwhile three little children, two of whom because of prematurity have developmental challenges yet all three are being placed into age appropriate public school programs come September.

More tomorrow.

THE END OF THE HEARING? / Part 278 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

IT'S FRIDAY

Yesterday was Christine's and my 43rd wedding anniversary and we did a staycation day, rather than vacation, staying in our bed at night but using the day to walk the shops and taste the foods of a quaint town of Fairhaven just across the border. I delighted in the day but not without the knowledge that Paul and Zabeth were going through the ordeal of a lifetime. Even on this day, table conversation sometimes moved to this case.  

Zabeth takes to the stand under oath to face further cross examination from Finn Jensen.
Judge Crabtree wants to wrap this hearing up today. He will predictably discourage any attempt to prolong this hearing. Only MCFD would want it prolonged.

The court room was filled with many spectators yesterday, most of them in support of Paul and Zabeth Bayne.

I will tell you how it goes today.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

WHAT THIS POOR MOTHER HAS ENDURED/ Part 277 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

If Judge Crabtree's ruling grants the MCFD its Continuing Care Order, it will effectively become a wrongful conviction of Paul and Zabeth Bayne, 'guilty' of abusing their youngest child, a seven week old daughter.

What am I talking about? That's preposterous! Judge Crabtree is not going to let the State have these children. He has already seen through the Ministry veneer to the shoddy case work. He has recognized the wretched gamesmanship that motivated a CCO application to dismantle this family. He knows what is in the best interests of these children. He has seen that the shaken baby diagnosis of the Baynes' youngest child falls short of being a conclusive foundation upon which a Ministry should mount a continuing care order to take three children away from biological parents. On Tuesday he watched and listened to Dr. Patrick Barnes, in my opinion the most articulate medical expert witness to date. Barnes disputed the finality of an SBS diagnosis in this Bayne case because in his mind the 2007 studies of Baby B point to something else. Further, it is his claim that this kind of error in diagnosis is responsible for numerous miscarriages of justice in the USA and Canada.

He reported that the skeletal findings strongly indicated the presence of a metabolic or dysplastic bone condition (e.g. congenital rickets) in Baby B. Such a condition is particularly prevalent in North America and usually associated with vitamin D deficiency in pregnant and breast feeding mothers and their infants. Such bony abnormalities readily respond to vitamin D supplementation or therapy and often resolve without showing the usual evolution / healing changes of fractures (e.g. callous). Barnes made it clear that the fluid collections in the baby's brain were chronic and weeks to months old. Those findings therefore were consistent with both a trauma of a difficult birth and with the impact head trauma of an older sibling falling on the infant which is what Paul and Zabeth reported. SBS need not have been the only cause and the one on which MCFD built its case.

Tuesday afternoon and all of yesterday Doug Christie led Zabeth Bayne by questions through a painful recounting of her prematurely born children and her contacts with the Ministry of Children. Her second child, a son, was born at 25 weeks. She told how when the child came home she and Paul invited numerous services into their home to advise them about infant development, feeding, muscle toning, developmental assistance and therapies. In early weeks they took the child for medical reviews several times per week and later once each week. Six months later around February 2006 lightening struck and the Ministry became involved with them. The second child was crying relentlessly in the car. Attending to him they found that an arm hung limply and a hospital visit revealed a fracture. Both parents were questioned. Paul was asked to leave his house for two weeks. A study identified prematurity of bones in the child and Paul was permitted to resume his role at home. But MCFD had a foot inside the door of this home.

The complexities within this case history are extraordinary. The circumstances, the complications, the intersections of people and agencies, the bad fortune and the interruptions and the pressures are overwhelming for everyone involved.

The Baynes moved from townhouse in Langley to a property and home in Hope, B.C. They struck up a friendship with a husband and wife at a church which they began to attend, (a couple named in court and in the court transcript and in CBC News). This was the testimony: Within months the casual friendship declined and became strained. Why? Zabeth's testimony was that tension occurred because of business competition - both women ran music schools. Zabeth taught music for years and planned to start one in her new home. Her new friend wanted Zabeth to teach out of her music school located in the church. She would be paid $10 per hour minus $2 for use of church space. On her own Zabeth earned $40 per hour so she declined and that issued in this response from the woman. “I'm going to bury you.” Zabeth stated that under oath and it is in the court transcript. On another occasion when Zabeth and her mother and their children were shopping in Walmart, they found themselves behind this same lady. She accused Zabeth of following her and complained to the RCMP swearing out a restraining order. Nothing more came of that. This husband and wife became two of the collateral witnesses that MCFD used early in the hearing.

Zabeth was pregnant with Baby B in October 2006. Because of grave concerns about prematurity, Zabeth was given a surgical procedure that required many months until birth. This family spent little time in sunshine and had little money for supplements such as Vitamin D. Earlier Dr. Patrick Barnes pointed out that this was a significant factor in the Baby's pre-birth and post birth development. Then on Aug 3, 2007 Baby B was born at 34 weeks at 5 lbs. 3oz and spent two weeks in an incubator and was losing weight. Parents spent every day with her in hospital as Zabeth's mother took care of the boys. She came home on Aug 17th and weighed 5 lbs 1 oz. There was concern about her weight from the start. Initially she seemed normal, was sleeping and feeding every two hours. She was taken for medical weigh ins every few days. On Sept 23rd their middle son fell on Baby B. She whimpered but no marks and injuries were obvious until within hours the baby's feeding dropped off. After doing all they could to attend to this vomiting listless baby they took her to Hope Hospital on Sept 26. This began a harried series of doctors, medical opinions, treatments, hospital transfers – Hope, Chilliwack and Abbotsford. Everything that they were told to do for her, the Baynes did. At some point during this post birth frenzy, court testimony indicates that the couple mentioned above, informed MCFD that they thought the Bayne children were small for their ages, the new baby listless and that Zabeth may be suffering from Munchausen syndrome. MCFD investigated. Then after many weeks of repeated visits to doctors without resolution, on October 18th after another visit to the local hospital she was transferred to B.C. Children's Hospital. There within a short time Dr. Colborne made her diagnosis. By October 21st MCFD was involved, social workers picked up the two sons and a social worker from Vancouver picking up Baby B. There was much more but that was the start of the lengthy tale that has also been conveyed in earlier posts on this blog.

Zabeth's testimony continued Wednesday and will possibly continue today and will include cross examination by Finn Jensen. Judge Crabtree made it clear yesterday that this hearing is going to conclude on Friday. Whether or not he will rule then is unknown.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

TO DO THE RIGHT THING / Part 276 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

This is a lightweight piece today. More meat perhaps later today.

Twenty pages of notes will not condense into a 600 word blog post. I describe selected impressions. I scribbled crazily as I listened in court with some Bayne supporters as well as Ministry of Children personnel. How many MCFD people did I hear you ask? One MCFD lawyer and four MCFD employees listened to Zabeth's testimony Tuesday afternoon. What does that tell you? Some of you will have something to say about that. The importance of this case outcome cannot be understated. Bruce McNeill might have been well advised to put the other four to work and come to court himself. On second thought, having the four in court meant that they were not involved with other families.

Dr. Patrick Barnes
Yesterday Dr. Michael Sargent addressed the Bayne baby's autumn 2007 injuries from a radiologist's viewpoint. He tried to speak in support of Dr. Colbourne's shaken baby diagnosis. Judge Crabtree may not have regarded it as compelling. Today the Baynes presented Dr. Patrick David Barnes, Chief of Pediatric Neurology and Professor of Radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. If his fifty-seven page CV was not impressive enough, his performance yesterday was. Granted, my appraisal of this engagement emerges from a bias. Further, this post has little to do with the substance of the exchange but rather the impression. We listened to Barnes' responses to MCFD counsel Finn Jensen via electronic camera link from his office in Palo Alto. This off-site witness experience was fascinating as I viewed Barnes instantly accessing hard copy files or computer data files. Jensen questioned him for three and one half hours. Barnes was confident and at no time uncomfortable. Jensen's assertive questions often begged a yes or no response yet Barnes diffused the Jensen eagerness to score points by his own passion for what he believed which spilled forth intelligible and sensible explanations. He has given testimony in numerous earlier cases. For years his testimony for Child Protective Services or for the defense was an even split. In recent years he has spoken primarily for the defense (i.e. caregivers). This is attributable to his fresh commitment to evidence based medicine and his determination to uncover and to educate regarding medical and accidental causations, the symptoms for which mimic the appearance of abuse. 

Dr. Barnes and his team work within an inter-disciplinary cooperative in Palo Alto that protects children yet never permits suspected abuse to go unquestioned but rather works diligently to exhaust all possible causes for the observed injuries or abuse in order to protect caregivers from wrongful accusal and also to restore the family as soon as possible. This description of a genuine kinder and gentler society made me envious for our regions in B.C.

We don't own that here. Government spokespeople can vaunt the inter-disciplinary cooperation that is being attempted here but it cannot be accomplished when in protecting a child, the soul of a Ministry of Children is not wired or staffed by people who will do all that is possible to restore a family, but instead this MCFD repeatedly gives evidence that it spares no expense or manpower or violation of ethical principle in order to keep a family apart. I am so dismayed. You must first know the right thing before you can choose to do it.

Dr. Patrick Barnes was questioned from 9:30 am until almost 2:00 pm. Zabeth began her testimony at 3:00 pm and continued until adjournment at 4:30 pm. I will tell you more when Zabeth is once again on the stand today.

Do the right thing all the time, every time. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

MONDAY IN COURT, SARGENT & TRUTH / Part 275 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

He was MCFD's final witness. To tell the truth and nothing but the truth. Yesterday's witness did that I believe. His was a five page report that was thorough and well reported. I believe he told the truth in the report and under questioning by lawyer Finn Jensen and cross examination by Doug Christie yesterday.

Michael A. Sargent, is a full-time paediatric radiologist practicing in the Department of Radiology of the BC Children's Hospital for the past eighteen years. He carries the rank of Clinical Professor of Radiology with the University of British Columbia. He is presently the Acting Director in charge of the magnetic resonance imaging area at the Hospital. He is also a member of the American Society of Pediatric Neurology. He reviewed all radiological imaging studies done for Baby B that are on the PACS system of BCCH. And yesterday his testimony was decidedly not anti-Bayne.

To make a case in support of the Ministry claim that one or both of the parents was responsible for the baby's injuries, was the reason he was in court. It was at the request of Dr. Colbourne who told him “we need you.” The other radiologist on the case declined to testify. Dr. Sargent has testified in relation to Dr. Colbourne's diagnoses in other cases. The MCFD Director's case for a Continuing Care Order rests foundationally upon Dr. Colbourne's Shaken Baby diagnosis of Baby B's injuries dating to the autumn of 2007 and that diagnosis is not a stand alone call. If the diagnosis can be supported by the findings of another highly qualified expert, the case has legs. MCFD's case may be on life support now and running out of breath. When anyone tells the truth in this case it never reflects well on the MCFD. His opinions, Sargent admitted, were subjective opinions. Sargent reviewed the studies performed by other clinicians, just as ten other experts did, but each of the ten has disagreed with Colbourne's conclusion. Today, Tuesday August 10th, we hear from one of those ten, namely Dr. Barnes.

We cannot know whether Dr. Sargent's interpretations of the studies might have been different had they been influenced by information that he admittedly did not have, such as the knowledge of the reported accident between the two children or knowledge of the baby's birth history. He did not know that Zabeth spent three days in labour and fourteen hours and thirty five minutes in the final stage of delivery, (the trauma of which can can cause subdural bleeding in newborns.) He didn't know that Baby B was severely anaemic at birth. He did not know that the baby's head circumference grew by six centimeters in the three weeks following the fall that the parents reported. He did not know that she received two sets of steroid shots for lung development due to the mother's history of premature delivery (and this can predispose children to fractures or intracranial bleeding.) He did not know that the baby was on DomPeridone for reflux and that at the same time Baby B’s mother was on the same medication for milk production (and that this medication is considered unsafe because it can cause subdural bleeding.) In fact he did not seek a full history as is frequently recommended to radiologists, because he felt it might be inappropriate since the case was already before the court. He knew only that Colbourne suspected it was shaking.

But you see, in Judge Crabtree's court, Dr. Colbourne has not yet been recognized as qualified to state that it was shaking. She can and did state what she discovered upon examinations of Baby B. She was not permitted to state how the injuries were incurred or that they were non accidental injuries. That was ruled as being beyond the scope of her qualification. Dr. Sargent's testimony did not effectively help the MCFD cause because he was interested in telling the truth. In fact, Dr. Sargent suggested that the lengthy delay created by the failure of medical professionals in area hospitals to diagnose and to treat the cause prior to admission to BCCH made definitive determinations sketchy.
Today, more of the truth. Dr. Patrick Barnes in the morning and Zabeth Bayne in the afternoon.

Monday, August 9, 2010

LISTEN TO US!

While Baynes endure another court day, the comments in the previous blog #273 demonstrate that countless other people are experiencing similar miscarriages from this same Ministry. Victoria! Are you paying attention? Don't tell us any longer that you cannot comment because our cases are before the courts.

COURT RESUMES TODAY 9:30 AM / Part 274 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

This is the day. It's not D-Day yet. The decision does not come down today. But the closing testimonies and arguments from both the MCFD counsel and the Bayne counsel occur this week. The ruling may come at the end of this week or perhaps later as judge Crabtree has time to reflect upon this recent evidence. Most of the week will contain the Bayne opportunity to present their case defense against the accusations of the MCFD. Some of us believe that the decision is already clear. Jensen is an effective lawyer. He simply has not had a good case to represent for the Ministry. He knew that very early in this nasty process. In fact he counselled his client, the Director, that the case to continue care of the boys could not be won. Like most lawyers, he does what his client pays him to do, so we have come all this way, at the expense of the children not in their best interests.
Not this kind of decision.

Closing in on three years that this Bayne family has been ruptured, the case begins yet another week of court days. Hopefully this is the end of it. Hopefully regardless of the legal loopholes and extension ploys that MCFD or Jensen attempt, Judge Crabtree will say “enough.” This meticulous laptop, note-taking judge has promised that he will deliver a written and articulated ruling to this hearing.

This has nothing to do any longer with protecting children. That may have been the early presenting concern. Today is well beyond that. Paul and Zabeth are not a threat to their children, not one, two or three. These many months have exonerated them by the consistency of their behaviour in face of the most adversarial treatment by a service providing agency mandated to administer mercy. Baynes on the other hand, have corresponded and complained and campaigned for good and safe care of their children and ultimately for the return of their children. Of course they have been faulted for that by MCFD. Had they not made this significant effort, that too would have been used by MCFD as evidence of disregard or neglect. That's the way this contest for the lives of children works. This is about winning. There have been countless evidences of this motivation throughout the case data over three years.

Most important this morning is how Paul and Zabeth are doing as they start this day and this week. Remember I told you that they were a couple with faith in God and the value of prayer. They do desire to know that other people of faith are praying for them and the positive outcome. They need some superhuman strength to face what lies ahead. Some of you know what they are feeling. They are afraid and they worry. Yet because of some strong indicators they are filled with optimism. What they dread is hearing once again an onslaught of insinuations and slanders about their character and conduct and family history. It is quite a slurry of emotion that they experience right now. This is the day. This is the Day that the LORD has made.