Friday, February 25, 2011

THURSDAY-COURTROOM REPORT - Installment #5 / Part 454 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Many supporters were able to remain into the afternoon and in later afternoon, we found ourselves back in the courtroom, listening to a few other cases and only if these were dealt with would Mr. Christie be heard. That she would hear him at all was somewhat surprising, since Judge Arthur-Leung's parting words at noon were that this was not the time for a presentation hearing but only for determining another date in court.

The time now was 3:30 pm, and we listened and we watched the flow of lawyers in and out of the room, and then finally at 4:00 pm, the judge continued with the 'morning matter' as she termed it. Mr. Christie was given an opportunity to speak to the case, but not before the judge made sure he was perfectly clear that she would this was the proper jurisdiction for Josiah's case to be heard and that this was not the proper forum for a presentation hearing, and generally that he should understand that for her to be listening at all was a gracious gesture. He repeated the essence of what he had earlier stated and when once again he said that this was an abuse of process, she stepped in with what we realized were her summary remarks leading to a decision. She acknowledged that this an emotional, troubling case, but that she is authorized by a very unique Act, the Child, Family and Community Services Act where she is charged to be in that court for the best interests of the child. She cited Section 4 and stated that her duties are to insure the child's safety. She mentioned each of the sub-points. She said she is well versed and well aware of family law. She restated that she would not move the jurisdiction of this case because Josiah resides in Surrey. She would schedule another date at which time a further date for a presentation hearing would be agreed upon. And then she broke the news that came as a surprise to everyone, that Judge Thomas Crabtree would hear this and rule upon it. Then she set aside March 3rd as the date at which a hearing date would be determined.

One more installment today, at 5PM

Please read Ray Ferris' experienced, informed and insightful 2 part comment with this link. 


  1. I was not going to read or write on the blog today, because it does get a bit depressing. When I read about all those great supporters and Doug Christie's self-sacrifice, I had to do my bit. Mostly I do my bit, just sitting home at my computer, but I do not do it in comfort. This case distresses many people and it has been distressing me for nearly two years. This does take its toll. The worst of it is the excruciatingly slow pace of the system. We now appear to be in the agonisingly slow closing days.
    I held little hope for the outcome yesterday. Judges always follow the same routine and immediately grant interim custody to the director. Only if they know it will be their own case will they differ. What is a legal anomaly in this case is that there will be three presentation hearings! I have never seen an adjournment of a presentation hearing before. A presentation must take place within seven days by law. A ruling must be made on interim custody. Interim custody can be argued and if there is not time a day can be set for that purpose. By declining to rule yesterday the judge was ducking her responsibility. I knew she would. This judge was indifferent to the obvious best interests of Josiah. She had the power to order interim custody to the parents until May third. In spite of all this, I think that the hearing was frustrating and depressing, but certainly not futile. Just wait until next week, because that could be the start of the long overdue reckoning.
    Another indifferent judge was Judge Maltby. On May 21St, 2009 the Baynes applied to her for increased access. She refused to let them speak. “You are trying to turn this into a trial” she said. You have your hearing dates set for March next year, be happy with that.” Be happy with that! She tells a mother and father who have lost their beloved children for 19 months to wait until it is 30 months to even start the process and to be happy with that. Indifference to best interests of children, to suffering of parents and to compliance with legal time lines.
    I have written many times that the present dysfunctional child protection system needs collusion from many people to get away with the injustices. I listed indifferent judges as among the chief causes. Judges should be impartial, but they seem to interpret this as also being indifferent. Law and process are everything and outcomes are a nether matter. They seem to be indifferent to those clauses of the act requiring the best interests of a child to be paramount. Do the best interests support snatching a newborn from its mother's breast, or keeping young children in limbo for three years or more? All that is of low priority. All that matters is the slow and stately plod of due process. All that matters is that prosecutors can maximise their incomes. The agony of parents is not in the equation.
    When I wrote my piece a few days ago about why I believe there is no case for a CCO, I had meant to include the following topic.
    PS A note to the person who criticised the judge for not holding a court hearing to deliver his ruling. If he did that it would delay things even more. His ruling will be filed in a court of record in due course to make it regular.
    To be continued

  2. Continued
    In my book I stress this topic. We admit a child to care in situations of apparent risk and often we may not know a great deal about the parents. We can evaluate people by their observed behaviour to give us an accurate picture. Just as we can evaluate McNeill and Humeny by their ignorant and vindictive behaviour, we can evaluate the Baynes by theirs. If people behave like monsters, are they monsters, or are they nice people deep down? Maybe Willy Pickton and Clifford Olson are “nice deep down”?
    When parents pick up their kids to take them on access visits, how do they behave? Do the fail to turn up, or come too late? Do they turn up drunk, or send a stranger to get the kids? Do they bring them back very late and so on. All this things are common experiences. Ron reported Doug Christie as saying that there was no new evidence on Josiah Bayne. Much as I respect Doug Christie, I would have to say that he was wrong—dead wrong. There was a ton of new evidence on all the Bayne children and all of it was in favour of Paul and Zabeth Bayne. The evidence was that they spent hours in the nursery every day, giving the most tender and loving care to Josiah. They were in anguish over every fresh and humiliating assault on them by Loren (only obeying orders) Humeny. Anyone with a shred of compassion would have been moved to outrage at this undeserved torture. They bore it all and gave everything they could to their baby.
    Similarly Judge Crabtree was able to see their commitment to their children, month after month. He was able to see that they had never missed an access visit and had never been late. He could see that they constantly sought to see more of their children and he could see how the director sought to thwart them. He could see how they conducted themselves with steadfastness and dignity in his courtroom. He could also see their anguish bursting through from time to time. He could see all this unfiltered through the eyes of biased witnesses or the interpretations of counsels. Not only could he evaluate all this at first hand, but he could also evaluate all the witnesses and the lawyers. He could evaluate the social workers and through them, he could evaluate their superiors. The evidence following apprehension is a tool with many edges. The evidence at apprehension was controversial opinion. The evidence since apprehension was solid and reliable and greatly favoured the Baynes. Even Loren Humeny had to confirm it under cross-examination. The new evidence before the judge is one more reason why I believe that he will deny a continuing care order and return the children without conditions.

  3. Ray Ferris, you speak to one of my bigger questions: It seems that one purpose of supervised visits (and recorded note-taking) should be for the MCFD to gather evidence as to whether the parents are giving appropriate parental care even while their children are in the govt's care. AND ALSO to be required to then make an written and recorded evaluation based on that information. Is the MCFD not required to make this type of report available to all concerned (including parents)??

    I continue to be outraged that a young child could be held by the Ministry--in the name of due process--for so many months and years. How many children were in foster care in BC in 2010? And how many of those parents were subsequently cleared of any charges of abuse? It breaks my heart to think that a government body whose mandate is to protect children is in fact the cause of the greatest harm to those innocent children of innocent parents.

    I realize there are other innocent children suffering from the actions of non-innocent parents and that the system was designed to protect those children. And I'm glad it was! But something seems wrong if innocent families are being harmed at the same time.

  4. Ray,

    I see where you are going with the new evidence bit, but Doug was correct in that there is no new evidence as at the initial hearing (a farce if there ever was one)as there is no opportunity to present the parents side. Even questioning the completely obvious defects of a MCFD complaint(No less disruptive measure available-- this is rarely true, yet perjury charges are NEVER laid.) is passed over "in the best interests of the child."


    Supervised visits do have written notes from every visit. If it is before the courts then access to the completed reports is available, but getting access to the rough notes or dissenting opinion is nearly impossible. Further complicating this is the sharing and comparison of notes by MCFD workers to present the desired unified picture. Frequently I have seen written reports of visits or events that MCFD staff wrote reports on and if there are independent notes(sometimes medical staff do not agree with MCFD or write the notes prior to being persuaded to see it MCFD's way), they appear to be from two entirely separate events.

    Often on the blog I see many questioning how someone could be presumed guilty and then must prove their innocence. The reality is actually much worse. Parents are actually in the penalty or appeal stage right from the start. To understand merely look at the criminal system. A person found guilty has two choices. One, admit their guilt and by doing so they are usually eligible for a sentence reduction and/or treatment programs designed to rehabilitate the person. Two, appeal the sentence, but by doing so they run the risk of a harsher penalty due to their refusal to admit guilt.

    Sharla asked, "how many of those parents were subsequently cleared of any charges of abuse?"
    This is were the analogy to criminal court really breaks down. As one can see by the endless delays Baynes have endured, MCFD merely has to play a waiting game before must parents will agree to whatever "services" MCFD wants to impose on them if they ever want their children back. Even if MCFD loses interest in pursuing a case, the parents are not actually found "not guilty" unless they tough it out for a full trial. Usually MCFD just "withdraws", meaning they can refile the charges at any time in the future or use the charges as "prior contact", thereby maligning the character of the parents.

    The only solution to this problem that I can see is for every parent to press for a full trial and thereby expose MCFD for the liars and charlatans that they are.

  5. Sharla; Please understand that aceess visits can be a good tool for further assessing parental capacity. When one has an adversarial and hostile ministry, every tool becomes a weapon. Access visits are used as an occasion to concoct evidence. As with the Baynes, the social workers took every opportunity to smear them. The most ordinary child hood naughtiness was because of buried memories of prior abuse and nonsnense like that. Never just because a kid was tired or hungry. These people are pathetic. They are ignorant and lacking in social work skill.

  6. Sharla,

    Go to and you can read as many Ministry cases as you can stomach. If you find a case where the judge actually gave the children back, let me know, because they are very, very rare.

    I remember one case where the judge let the parents have the kids (but who knows, maybe they were subsequently taken away, since MCFD never has to quit) but only because the parents got some unexpected money and were therefore able to move into a larger residence. If they hadn't received that money, the judge would have ordered their children into "care" (what a ridiculous word this is to describe an awful horror story for children). Just because their house didn't have enough square feet.

    People think these judges are wise, learned, maybe even kind. The reality is most of them don't seem to care at all. Read their judgements, they spout of all the usual empty meaningless phrases, and take the social worker's word as gospel, even though you and I know they should, and probably do, know better.

    When you come across a good judge it's like coming across a good lawyer - like Doug Christie - you are so thankful.

    These judges can do enormous damage, and many of them do. They are kind of like social workers and police and doctors. You have to be an extraordinary person to have that kind of power and not abuse it. Unfortunately, many of them are less than ordinary.

  7. There is a story in the news recently that highlights the dangers of unchecked power with respect to judges:

    "A former judge has been convicted of taking a $1million kickback from the builder of a juvenile jail in the notorious ‘cash for kids’ scandal.

    Mark Ciavarella sent hundreds of children and teenagers to the private prison for minor crimes after being given the money by the company which ran it.

    Some of the children jailed were as young as 10 and at least one killed themselves because the excessive sentences ruined their lives...

  8. Ray Ferris, thanks for your efforts in clarifying so many points! Thumbs up for you and your valiant efforts fighting for these principles and for the Bayne family.
    More than anything else, I am concerned that our judiciary is in violation of the laws that judiciary people are sworn to enforce and uphold.We would not have such a dysfunctional MCFD in this province if it was not in collusion with the judiciary.
    Our legal system will become accountable when people are willing to demand the system enforce the spirit of law. That means, we get off the couch, get involved, raise money etc. Get influential leaders involved. We would not have such a dysfunctional MCFD in this province if it was not in collusion with the judiciary.
    Requiring proper legal process is imperative to ending abuse of power. See Miriam's suggestions on this blog from a few days ago. Going viral with this Bayne case would be a good start to change for BC families in difficulty because of MCFD abuses against them.
    University curriculums teach much of the attitudes we see working in MCFD and the judiciary. Check it out. Get some textbooks and read it yourself. Some of this info was on a blog here months ago.
    By the way, Ray, I like the 60 foot "nice down deep" humour.

  9. -All of you readers need to know how invaluable Ray Ferris has been for the Baynes and their legal counsel. He has laboured to research and to write to the end that the just thing be done for this family. He came to this project voluntarily and from a career in social welfare and child protection in B.C. and has written a book on the subject, which if it were read by young trainees, would be a continuous resource for equitable and effective service. Thank you Ray.
    -And Sharla you commented that visitation information gathering should be used by MCFD to record the positive and good things that parents are doing. Agreed. In the Bayne case, the final affidavit for the case of the three children, did not even use the provided page for positive remarks about Paul and Zabeth. No, Mr. Humeny could not write one good point about them. Curious, isn't it that, fifty passionate people were in court on Thursday who think highly of the Baynes.
    -MCFD affidavits can make statements which in a court setting such as this past Thursday would never customarily be challenged. 'Abuse of Process' was the apropos term that Christie used to describe what happens.
    -The writer called 'Child Protection Exposed ' speaks many valid and insightful things today.
    -Thanks Anon 8:35 for the reference to and the info there.

  10. Thank you so much to Ray Ferris and to Ron, for your monumental efforts in getting this case to the public, and in working with the Baynes and their legal counsel and others.

    I agree with the poster who states that this injustice could not continue without the collaboration of the judiciary. If the judges were taking away the children of their colleagues, this wouldn't be happening. It's because they perceive these families as being a class below them, despite what judge Arthur-Leung says about never judging someone by what they wear. These judges are judging all the time, every second, that's how they determine "credibility." One of the things they judge is how much flack they are going to take or not take if they make a particular decision. Judges are political, don't kid yourself. Do some research on the Law Society, etc., the whole system is very political, they have favourites and those they find a way to punish (and they've punished Doug Christie for not being one of them; they pretend to take into account his years of service, but if they really appreciated him, they wouldn't have made the judgement that they did).

    Judges would never want to admit that class plays a role in their decision, but the fact that you almost never (I think it may have occured once in BC) see MCFD family destruction happen to wealthier families does not mean that that MCFD doesn't think abuse occurs there, it means that a) MCFD knows better than to go after families with lots of money for high profile, downtown lawyers, and b)judges wouldn't be impressed with MCFD bringing them these kind of cases.

    Many people become lawyers because they want to improve their class lot in life. If they are ambitious, and aren't necessary the greatest lawyers (good lawyers often make make big money, and therefore probably don't want to become judges because it would mean a real pay cut and drastic change in fancy lifestyle), they will do all the right things in order to advance their career. This includes volunteering at all the right places, getting to know the right people, appearing to be the right person.

    In short, we need to realize the role judges and lawyers are playing or not playing. If they all had the ethics of Doug Christie, we would never be in this state. Too many lawyers frown upon conservative values, and don't really care about such boring political movements as preservation of the family. They are more interested in promoting adoption, and what they call "toleration," which is often just a way to get the masses to swallow their version of Family and the ever increasing State power.

    Most of all, these people (e.g. judges) are government employees, and rarely if ever will bite the hand that feeds them.

  11. Thank you to everyone for such helpful information. I see themes of great accountability required in (all levels of) the MCFD and in the judicial process. How do we work towards this greater accountability? Are there any organized advocacy bodies already doing this work?

    I did look around this week and came across the website of Leah Gainor Flagg, of Kamloops, who has personal experience in 2010 with MCFD. You can check out their story if you are not familiar with it. The Bayne story is also detailed on her site. Also check out this page of her site and sign a few online petitions.

    I have not yet followed some of the links she has on BC advocacy groups.

  12. I feel it important to also say a deep thank you to Dr Ron Unrau and Ray Ferris (and other longterm supporters of the Baynes) for your self-sacrifice and the time and energy you have obviously put into the last few years. The Baynes are fortunate to have you as advocates, and you are setting a great example for those of us who are newer to their story. Your work is not in vain!

  13. Sharla,

    If you go to websites such as, you'll see what we could do, if we were really, really organized and committed to change. In Canada, one of the biggest problems in fighting the injustices of child protection is organization. This blog is a huge start, and has done wonders to expose the injustice that we need to address, and to organize support and protests.

    There are a number of organizations in Canada who are working effectively to bring problems to the attention of the public, but because Canadians have limited selection in media (e.g., CBC, which is state owned, and will publish 1000 pro-child protection stories, in one way or another, for every anti-child protection story), it's very difficult to get the truth out.

    One of the organizations that deals with the issue of changing the judicial system is Canada Court Watch. A great deal of their work is devoted to making CAS (Childrens Aid Society, Ontario's version of MCFD) accountable.

    Here is their website, which also has a child protection registry, a link where people can provide information about child protection workers, and their experience with them:

  14. And if those in positions of trust abuse their power, especially when they are employed by the taxpayer, they should be exposed. Heaven knows that parents have been slandered long enough in the media, even when they are innocent. It's time to make those who are destroying innocent families accountable. Charles Smith's name has been published, as well as his destructive actions. It's time to do the same for others who are destroying families. To think otherwise is in my opinion misguided. If these people were exposed to the public they might think twice, for example, about stuffing a less than 4 pound baby into a car seat, just so that the parental rights could be thwarted.


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