Lawyer Doug Christie's final SUBMISSION IN RESPONSE to Finn Jensen's closing summation was delivered on behalf of the Baynes on November 4, 2010. Yesterday you read points 15-17 and today in Christie's own words, it is.... Submissions and Analysis, points 18-20 beginning, "First the testimony of team leader Mr. Berhe Gulbot." This is the seventh installment in a brief series of quotations from this public document.
18. "We wish to continue with looking at the non-medical evidence. First the testimony of team leader Mr. Berhe Gulbot. Mr. Gulbot spent a good deal of time on the witness stand going through a record of the process that they had gone through. This was mostly factual and uncontroversial, because it simply dealt with times and dates and places. He acknowledged that the case was principally medical. His testimony threw little light on the case one way or the other. He had never seen the Baynes harm a child and he had never spoken to anyone who had. He did acknowledge that he knew that Dr. Colbourne was a firm believer in the shaken baby syndrome theory. He also acknowledged that he and Loren Humeny had taken training in it and that they both believed it was true. Based on their belief in the reliability of Dr. Colbourne’s medical opinion that Bethany had been shaken, he concluded that Mr. and Mrs. Bayne must be liars. He had to make one amendment to his presentation evidence under cross-examination. He had originally stated that Baden had at one time sustained unexplained injuries. He admitted that this was erroneous and that the doctors had explained that the boy had a medical condition, It is demonstrated that Mr. Gulbot already approached the Bayne family with some strong prejudices and was predisposed to interpret everything they said or did in the worst light. This being so obvious, we maintain that his evidence should be given no weight."
19."Loren Humeny and Risk Assessment. It is important to address the issue of risk assessment, because it recurs from time to time. The risk assessment device is simply a form to fill in. It is a means of recording the social worker's opinion about a client in various areas of social functioning and it organizes that opinion on a rating scale. There is no requirement for rigour or discipline as to how this is done. The social worker does not have to support any of the opinions or ratings with factual evidence. The document has no validation in any social science or by any means of research. It has no value as a forensic tool. It was originally devised for use with people who had addiction problems in order to help them evaluate how they were doing in various aspects of their lives. This is essentially a tool for self-assessment and was never intended for any other purpose, certainly not a means by which to determine whether someone was a risk to be injurious to a child, or whether someone was a fit and safe parent. Because of the extremely subjective nature of the device, it should never be used in a court of law. The testimony delivered by Loren Humeny confirms the danger of this document form. When he set about doing the risk assessment, the case had already been before the court for 18 months and the ministry was in an extremely adversarial position with the Baynes. One cannot get more adversarial than asking for a CCO. It was evident under cross-examination that the risk assessment was being used as a weapon for character assassination. Even with no evidence to state, Humeny could not give them any positive marks. Over and again he kept on presenting insufficient information. He had been the Baynes' social worker for 18 months and he did not know the first thing about them. He had never taken the most basic step of making a home visit. This is one of the most elementary tools of the protection worker. When filled in by a resolute adversary it must be plain that the assessment can have no validity whatsoever. The hostility of the social worker was especially spelled out when it came to page 35 of the assessment, which is to state the strengths to be worked with. It was blank. Under cross-examination Humeny was shown a number of achievements by the Baynes but could hardly admit that any of them was a strength. One wonders why such a blatantly hostile and shoddy piece of work could be seriously entered as evidence. It did great discredit to the worker and it brought just as much discredit to Mr.Gulbot who had signed it off and to the director who had approved submitting it as evidence. There was also one more piece of evidence that showed Mr Humeny in a very poor light. The matter of a previous intake on Baden. A doctor had reported that his bone structure indicated signs of abuse and a protection investigation followed. Following consultation with various specialists it was determined that the first diagnosis was erroneous and that the lad suffered from a medical condition. The ministry social worker gave the Baynes a letter confirming that they were completely cleared. In spite of being shown this, Mr. Humeny continued to insist that there was an unexplained injury and he would stick with the first diagnosis This is obviously a very hostile approach and what is of great concern is that he was fully supported in this type of testimony by the director and others. By putting this witness on the stand, the director had managed to discredit the witness, his supervisor himself and the risk assessment device all in one day’s work."
20. "Adrienne Glen is the hospital social worker attached to the child protection team. Her testimony is not of a great deal of use to the director because she has little to add to the evidence. She confirms that she interviewed Zabeth Bayne, who repeated that she thought that Baden fell on Bethany and she was worried about it. Once more those who belittle this testimony fail to consider that the mother would not have taken the child to the doctor the next day, if she did not have good reason to do so. (Do they think that all the times that they took the child to hospital desperately seeking help was just a symptom of Munchausens by Proxy?) Glen tries to make a great deal of the fact that Zabeth was unable to stay overnight with Bethany and is dismissive of the reasons given by the Baynes. The woman seems to be oblivious of the stress that the parents have been under for weeks and she does not understand the practical difficulties facing the Baynes at the time, nor does she attempt to discuss it with any empathy. As far as the court is concerned, she clearly shows the bias and antagonism evident in the rest of the protection team."
To be continued ….......................