In the introduction, Mr. Christie's remarks were these. "This has been a long and complicated case....."
“This has been a long and complicated case with 22 days of evidence and three days of submissions by the director, generating 237 pages of transcript. However, cases are decided on the quality of evidence and not on quantity, so we hope to convince the court with far fewer pages that the director’s request for a continuing care order should be denied. Please consider this hypothesis and keep it in mind at all times; let us assume that the Baynes never did anything to harm any of their children, nor are they the sort of people who ever would. Then think about the unbearable stress and cruelty that they have had to endure for the last three years.
A court case is not like a jigsaw puzzle, where all the pieces fit together nicely to form a nice clear picture. Many of the pieces of evidence do not belong in the picture and should be discarded. It is important to stand back and to try to see the whole picture and make sense of it. One needs to understand the whole context of the milieu in which the evidence is produced. It is just as important to understand the context at the start of the trial as at the end, because this will impact on how and why the evidence is produced and interpreted.
In this context it is important to understand that there are several special interests that could be threatened in this case should the director’s request be rejected. The first person to have a special interest is of course the director himself. This case is now entering its fourth year, with the Bayne children left in limbo. There was at one time considerable interest given to the case in the media and the alliance for justice members fill the courtroom quite often. If you should make a ruling against the director in January or February that will be after three and a quarter years in process. This will not put the director or the ministry in a good light and the media will certainly pick it up. So it is understandable that the director is desperate to win this case and will spare no effort to win. Another reason is that two judgements have already gone against the director and Dr. Colbourne and these judgements were filed on August 13th. There are other reasons why the director decided to spare no effort against the advice of his counsel and we will deal with this later as we go through our response to Mr. Jensen’s summary.
The other people who have a special interest in this case are the members of the children’s hospital protection team. Dr. Colbourne is a well-known proponent of the shaken baby syndrome hypothesis and her team has always supported her in this. As you know from the evidence, the SBS citadel has come under sharp attack from various international experts in Canada, the USA and in Britain. If that citadel crumbles and goes the way of other discarded hypotheses, all those doctors who diagnosed shaken baby will have to live with the horror of the harm they have wrought. So a ruling against the director will be another important brick taken out of the citadel. One cannot ignore the party political implications either, because the Minister for children and families has in the last year announced large sums of money for training in detecting the shaken baby syndrome.
All the defence medical experts supported the Baynes in saying that the medical evidence was consistent with the history given of accidental trauma. Not one supported Dr. Colbourne’s position, most of them saying that her diagnosis was an unwarranted assumption, unsupported by any medical evidence. Some were extremely critical pointing out her complete failure to consider alternative differential diagnoses and having an obvious bias toward finding SBS. Most of the experts expressed serious doubt about the SBS hypothesis, with some expressing it more strongly than others. One pointed out that even if one were to accept the SBS hypothesis, her diagnosis did not meet the criteria required by the theory.
This vested interest explains why it was necessary to go all the way to Florida to recruit someone who would support Dr. Colbourne. Dr. Randall Alexander is another strong proponent of shaken baby syndrome hypothesis and is a director of the national shaken baby resource centre in the United States. He was brought in because he could be guaranteed to support any shaken baby prosecution, sight unseen. It is important to bear all this in mind, because it can be seen on how this can impact on the interpretation of evidence. Even the rigorous science of medicine can be open to bias and interpretation. This is even more so in looking at the profession of social work, which is a very soft social science.”
to be continued …...............