Saturday, February 26, 2011

THURSDAY-COURTROOM REPORT - Installment #7/ Part 456 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

This case with its complexities and inhumanities is being followed across the provinces of Canada.

CBC, Global, CTV and countless affiliate news agencies are waiting for the word from Judge Thomas Crabtree on Monday February 28th, for his ruling concerning the three children, Kent, Baden, and Bethany Bayne who have been in Ministry care for most of three and one half years since October 2007. That's most of the lives of the oldest two, and all of the youngest child's life.

In order to come to his decision he allowed himself six months which began at the conclusion of the trial proper in September after a year of court time spread sporadically across the months. Taking this amount of time, the speculation is that His Honour will do more than speak to the Bayne family status but as well, address the operations of a regional branch of child protection as it is administered by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Or he may go beyond that to speak to the Child, Family and Community Services Act which propels so many social workers into the homes of B.C. families to interrupt them, fail to develop them, confuse them, render them broken and broke. If he were to do that, that would become headlines as large as the B.C. Rail Sale. To do that, Judge Crabtree would have to be one of the bravest men in B.C. public life. If he does this, he will inspire within the legal community an invigorated respect for honourable leadership. He is after all the new Chief Justice of British Columbia. If he does this, we may once again make a serious attempt to rectify the inflammatory and deconstructive aspects of the Act and the insensitivity of its delivery. There might be a hope for change. The new Liberal premier may recognize this important area of redress.

Yet getting back to the Bayne Family - Monday's decision, if it is the long anticipated restoration of their unity as a family, is now, only part of the solution. Their youngest, the two-week old, 4 lb baby boy named Josiah is presently in Ministry care, just as the others have been. It was unnecessary, particularly in view of the pending decision by Crabtree on Monday, for the Ministry to apprehend a 4 lb. Two week old baby. That was precisely Counsel Doug Christie's argument on Thursday when he pointed out to Judge Kimberly Arthur-Leung, that the affidavit in support of this most recent intake of a Bayne child was compiled not of something new to allege against the Baynes but rather all of the allegations used within an affidavit that had supported the Ministry's application for a Continuing Care Order for the three children. Those allegations have all been heard by Judge Crabtree and he rules upon them on Monday. The intake could have waited.The baby was safe in hospital.

Another post at 11:00 am

Information about making a donation to the Bayne Trust Fund here.

"There is no refuge from memory and remorse in this world. The spirits of our foolish deeds haunt us, with or without repentance."Gilbert Parker


  1. Ron thank you for such a good blog today. Now for a miscellany of matters.
    A correspondent asked that if the judge returns the kids, will they go home at once, or can Bruce McNill still jerk them around? The answer to that one is that the judge has the power here and what he orders must be followed as closely as is possible. The judge does, of necessity, have powers of discretion to be flexible.This is to allow him to take immediate circumstances into consideration in order to serve the best interests of the family. For instance he might ask the Baynes what day would suit them the best and postpone it or a day or two. Whatever he decides is what must be done.
    Secondly, I want to emphasise that Thursday's court was not a futile waste of time. A strong statement was made that many British Columbians care deeply about social justice in the child protection system and they are prepared to go to a lot of trouble to make a statement about the injustice that is so obvious in the Bayne case. There are thousands of blog readers and many writers who feel the same way. Nothing futile about that.
    My next topic "the best interests of a child". This is a matter of opinion and depends on good judgement. For the director the best interests means keeping young children in limbo for three and a half years on one piece of shaky evidence. It means snatching a newborn from a mother's breast where it was perfectly safe. He did not believe for a minute that the child was at risk. He did it in a stupid attempt to justify what he had done to the other children. As for Judge Arthur-Leung, she chickened out completely. She decided along with McNeill that the best interests of the child demanded snatching him from a mother's arms and putting him in a foster home. If she had looked at the tender care given to Josiah by Paul and Zabeth during his stay in hospital and the mother's determination to breast feed, she would know that there was no risk to that child and interim custody could go to the parents. She was scared to make a ruling and involve herself, so she maintained the status quo and tried to convince herself that it was in the "best interests", although all the people crowding the court room knew that this was nonsense. Indifferent judges again. No Portias in this province.

    Every Ssturday morning it cheers me up to know that Paul and Zabeth Bayne will have all their children together in their own home for six hours. For six hours there will be an oasis of happiness in the desert heartache that the director has imposed on them. I think of those lovely pictures of the family spending that precious time together. Can anyone in their right mind look at those pictures and imagine for one minute that these people could harm a child? I also wonder if the director grinds his teeth every Saturday morning, remembering that Judge Crabtree thwarted his attempts to ruin those happy occasions.

  3. And Ray, Zabeth told me today that Josiah is coming together with Kent, Baden and Bethany. Bethany may have got a bit of the cold that Kent had this week, so it remains to be seen whether she will be there. But Zabeth was thrilled that her whole family might be there, beautiful and yet pathetic in a way, right, that this is abnormal for them?

  4. What is so remarkable is how these parents, Paul and Zabeth Bayne, have carried themselves. They haven't been beaten, by any means, because their goodness and graciousness still shines through. I believe their family will be re-united, and if it is not, there will be massive outrage.

    And the fact that all those people took time from their day to go and support the Baynes at court sends a very strong message to the judge, because she knows that if that many people are protesting and showing support, it's only a matter of time before a media firestorm ensues. She wants to be part of the status quo which can so easily rip families apart, but she's also afraid of democracy.

  5. I will be thinking of you on this day, and sending my best wishes for a fair decision!
    Good luck and hug,
    ~ Olga


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