My second of Numerous Synopses
This was a thirty-nine page ruling. (Judge Crabtree's actual wording is in quotations. Everything else is my understanding of the statements for the ruling.)
Judge Crabtree expressed that the case was before his court because the Director applied pursuant to s.41 (1) (d) that the three children, Kent, Baden and baby Bethany, be placed in the continuing care of the Province. Judge Crabtree aptly stated that the primary issue to be determined in this case was how the baby Bethany at age approximately seven weeks, was injured. He cited the relevant legislation, that is the guiding principles of the Act (The Child, Family and Community Services Act), its section on the best Interests of the Child, its sections pertaining to the required orders to be made at protection hearings, and then the application of these sections specifically to the Bayne Case. Judge Crabtree indicated that the baby suffered injuries ...
Judge Crabtree indicated that the baby suffered injuries while in the parents' care and that the court case intended to resolve what happened to her, that is uncover the circumstances by which she incurred the injuries. He indicated that the Director submitted that given the unexplained nature of the injuries, all three children were at risk to be physically harmed by the parents through their failure to protect them or through neglect. Therefore the Director maintained the children are in need of protection.
Of course the Baynes and their supporters for the past many months have been anxious to know whether Judge Crabtree agreed with the Director's assessment. On Tuesday March 2nd, we learned that he did, and we also learned his reasons.
The Document recited the chronological events in great detail, (Points 13-89). Even for one familiar with the story details, the specifics that the Judge heard throughout the court case, and the material that he processed is gripping. These will be posted in a later blog entry. Then Judge Crabtree rehearsed every detail of the significant body of medical evidence presented in court, assessed the weight of their evidence and opinions and he drew his conclusions on that which he believed or rejected. This is an extensive portion of his report (Points 90-165).
Then the judge wrote to address the all important question “Are the Children in Need of Protection – The Test” and he covered this in points 166-172. The test to which Judge Crabtree referred was another case dealing with unexplained injuries, that of British Columbia (Superintendent of Family and Child Services) v. G(C)  B.C.J. No. 1577 (B.C.C.A.), and of course a subsequent ruling. There are enough similarities between that case and the Bayne case that Judge Crabtree could use it as precedent in helping him to make a judgement about need of protection. In the cited case, two twin baby girls aged 7 months were both found with injured ribs. While the parents had an explanation, the doctor believed this was a non accidental injury. The judge in that case was not assigned to determine blame but rather, in consideration for the safety of the children, whether they should remain in the care of the parents or the temporary care of the Superintendent. The children were placed in the Superintendent's care.
Judge Crabtree cited several other cases each of which supported the position that if the need for protection is proven to a requisite standard, even if it cannot be proven who perpetrated the harm, the ruling must favour the protection of the child. A requisite standard is not evidence beyond reasonable doubt but as little as ten percent risk of future harm. Judge Crabtree concurred that on the balance of probabilities, the interests of the child are of such importance that the lower test is appropriate. He deemed this amount of risk is in evidence because of the unexplained injuries to the child while in the care of the parents.
My Concern is two-fold: It is common for a judge to rely upon previous judgements in similar cases, but no two cases are identical, and the cases cited by Judge Crabtree, while relevant, do not speak to children with issues born of prematurity. That could be an unfortunate oversight. Second, although Crabtree does not assign blame, a number of you commenters, without the benefit of the judge's information, appear to be doing that - but of course, anonymously! He at least signed his name to his comments.