Wednesday, March 30, 2011

CHRISTIE'S FINAL SUBMISSION installment 1of10 Introduction /489

I begin today a series of posts which are quotations from Doug Christie's final SUBMISSION IN RESPONSE to MCFD Counsel Finn Jensen who concluded his three days of summation in October 2010. Judge Thomas Crabtree had to decide whether or not to grant the MCFD a CCO, Continuing Care Order for three children born to Paul and Zabeth Bayne. Christie's submission was delivered on the Baynes' behalf on November 4, 2010. Judge Crabtree released his final ruling on March 2, 2011. He ordered not a CCO but TCO (Temporary) for six months. In this submission Christie countered MCFD allegations and evidence.

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 …...............


  1. Thanks so much for posting this! Very interesting and helpful.

  2. What is the link to the judgment in August 2010 regarding Dr. Margaret Colbourne losing another shaken baby case that Mr. Christie refers to?

    I recall hearing Dr. Colbourne testify and she was questioned early in 2010 on a case where her medical advice was not given weight by the court.

    I want to know if there is a pattern to her testifying on behalf of MCFD and judges not finding her evidence credible.

  3. Anon 11:34 AM, you referred to this excerpt, "Another reason is that two judgements have already gone against the director and Dr. Colbourne and these judgements were filed on August 13th." --- I do not presently have the link to those cases handy. I will consult. If we can retrieve, you see it here.

  4. Roadkill radio has now posted the entirety of the interview with the Baynes in four parts.

  5. It looks like the ministry is up to its old dirty tricks. They have discovered another way of keeping kids indefinitely. Just keep hearing more and more presentation hearings. They obviously think that they can do any dirty trick that is not specifically forbidden in the act. It says that a presentation hearing must be summary and concluded as quickly as possible. Presto! The act does not say that you cannot adjourn a presentation hearing. Protection hearings can be adjourned from time to time, so all you need is a little loop hole license and off you go. Just like "the best interests of the children" the term as quickly as possible is not closely defined. Is it one hour, one week, one month or one year? They have jerked it along for almost two months now. Make sure no judge hears it twice and they can get away with anything. When you ask them how they can have a presentation hearing six weeks after the first one, they just ignore the reply. The director thinks that it is very unkind to say he is adversarial. He also punishes severely anyone who uses the media. This time he punishing a seven week old baby.

  6. What a difference there is between someone like Bruce McNeil and a herDoug Christie. Doug Christie is a hero, a real protector of human rights and children. Bruce McNeil is just the opposite. I wonder how he can live with himself, but I guess he's been doing it for so long he's used to it.

  7. In comparing the style of the closing arguments made by Doug Christie vs. Finn Jensen, it is clear Doug is speaking from a higher level perspective.

    By comparison, Jensen uses a highly detailed shotgun approach that has enabled Judge Crabtree to cherry pick through evidence.

    Jensen clearly had an added advantage in that he knew the judge would decide in favour of MCFD in "some" way that would save his employer from an expensive lawsuit.

    So, while speculation by readers on the blog was focused on Crabtree being careful with evidence to ensure Jensen could not appeal an order for a return, the reality was the judge was really trying to figure out which of Jensen's weasel words would look best in his judgment.

    It would have look bad for Crabtree and the office he represents, had he said all the Baynes experts were wrong but the Ministry non-experts were right, so he did the next best thing and said the Ministry's experts didn't know what they were talking about either. Apparently all these experts cancel each other out. Six for MCFD and ten for the Baynes; that is quite a lot of horse...power.

    In less than an hour (compared to Jensen's three days), Doug Christie focused on "shaken baby" as junk science. He was clearly successful. After all, he dispatcheded the U.S. SBS hustler Dr. Randall Alexander and B.C.'s homegrown SBS cheerleader Dr. Colbourne, and put a very serious dent in the shaken baby institution worldwide. Not bad for someone with no CFCSA experience.

    Where I see some of Mr. Christie's shortcomings is in perhaps not elaborating on case example details for the judge to read through transcripts later. At the very least, a case post mortem would make it more clear what Crabtree chose to ignore.

    The best example is the case of the Rahman family who was successful in overturning a CCO when they were in a worse situation that the Baynes, because they initially lost.

    The Rahman matter was an example of a case Jensen discarded as irrelevent. The judge did not mention this important case likely as a result of Jensen's comment and lack of emphasis or details of it's relevance by Christie.

    On a technical note, it would be useful to see the closing argument(s) in a single PDF to permit better offline searching and analysis.


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