Friday, August 12, 2011


Gillian Findlay, Bob McKeown, Hana Gartner, Linden MacIntyre
The Fifth Estate has a lengthy record of confronting ethical issues and doing it well. It is a form of journalism and the stories that are tackled have a high risk factor. That is, the people whose stories are told have faced and may still face profound consequences. They voluntarily provide information because they cannot evade the compelling conviction that the stories are too important to remain silent. These are brave people and fortunately Fifth Estate producers and directors are determined to treat these subjects with care.

This September, CBC’s Fifth Estate will air a documentary concerning Shaken Baby Syndrome. To that end, a crew were in attendance at last weekend’s Conference on Evidence Based Medicine and Social Investigation. The venue was advantageous for the producers because Dr. Chris Van Ee and numerous other experts were presenters and were willing to be interviewed.

Zabeth and Paul Bayne were accused of SBS in 2007, charged briefly, and within hours charges were dropped by RCMP due to insufficient evidence. That should have been a clue to MCFD. However, the Ministry of Children, concerned for the protection of children generally, were concerned for the Bayne children, understandably I might add, because their youngest at the time, the third child, a daughter had sustained very serious head injuries. The Baynes’ explanation of a household accident, one child falling on the infant while she lay on a blanket on the floor did not satisfy the MCFD. Further, they were grounded upon the respected opinion of a pediatrician and Children’s Hospital who diagnosed the injuries as being the result of shaking.

Without question this is a complex case. SBS is a theory. When medical practitioners are convinced that SBS is decisively and exclusively the explanation for the triad of symptoms that described the Bayne baby’s condition, they look no further. It has become steadily and increasingly clear that SBS cannot be viewed as the default diagnosis for such symptoms without risking grave injustice to innocent parents. Prisons all over North America have incarcerated innocent people based on this SBS theory. Children are in institutional or foster care because their physical injuries were considered to be willfully induced. They were the result of abuse.

In March 2011, close to four years after the baby’s initial medical crisis, Judge Thomas Crabtree ruled that he dismissed the Ministry’s claim that SBS was the cause of the child’s injuries. That should immediately mean the Paul and Zabeth cannot be considered responsible by reason of abuse for their infant daughter’s injuries. It was not that simple. The judge still struggled with unexplained injuries because he was dissatisfied with their explanation of an accident between children. It wasn’t that he disbelieved it, but he deemed there were inconsistencies in the testimony. For that reason he did not return the children immediately, but kept them in care for three months and expressed that the Baynes and the Ministry needed to work toward agreement and the return of the children. That family restoration is scheduled to be completed by August 25th 2011.

That is all there is to it. The Ministry has been satisfied with the Parental Capacity Assessment of the Baynes and all of the efforts the Baynes have made to comply with Ministry requirements. SBS and the Baynes are not to be mentioned with the same breath. The baby’s injuries may never be adequately explained, but there are now numerous plausible alternative explanations that fit with a household accident. And that is all that is left.

It will be of interest to us all how Fifth Estate handles the shaken baby debate and the life changing ramifications of hasty and false accusations of SBS.


  1. Look at that, Anon 10:06 PM alerted us to the recent appointment of Robert Hamilton, to the Surrey bench. In recent months, Mr. Hamilton represented Paul and Zabeth to the Ministry, until MCFD made the decision to return the children. He was in consultation with Doug Christie. His efforts have been greatly appreciated and we congratulate him on his appointment to the Provincial Court Bench. Mr. Hamilton will be serving as a Provincial Court Judge in Surrey, BC.

  2. Oh Ron, Ron. When you say in your penultimate paragraph " That's all there is to it." I think you are trying to goad me into a response. Yes of course that it all there is to it, if you ignore a number of facts. For instance it is up to the director to prove his case and not up to the Baynes to disprove it. If you ignore the fact that the director pursued the case relentlessly for two years after his lawyer advised him to drop it. If you ignore all the guidelines under section 4 and are prepared to say that it is in the best interests of the children to keep them in turmoil for four years. If you ignore the fact that the judges passively condoned the snatching of Josiah at birth on unproven inferred evidence. If you ignore the fact that the judges looked the other way when the social worker refused to allow the feeding of breast milk. Are those staff totally ignorant of the huge benefits of breast milk to an infant? If you ignore the fact that all the evidence of the abusive treatment of the Baynes was studiously avoided in his judgement and he showed no concern for the length of time that the children were in limbo. If you ignore the fact that the judge tried to extend that limbo beyond the time that the law allowed and had to re-write his judgement. Did he do this out of ignorance of the law, or was he biased against the Baynes.
    Yes Ron if you ignore all this and a dozen other things I could mention, indeed, as you say "That is all there is to it."

  3. The goading actually worked. What a set up.

  4. I often wonder about the "public" nature of the court system. It is set up so that any citizen can sit in a courtroom, in the Baynes case for 22 days over a period of a year so that they can confirm that justice is fair and impartial. If it is not fair and impartial according to these citizens, what then?

    Judge Crabtree in this case agreed with Mr. Christie to publicize the case. Meaning, that the names of the participants and children could be reported by the media. Mr. Finn Jensen QC appeared to me not to be in agreement, but he was not going to argue the point.

    Many of use saw first hand the injustice that was dealt to the Baynes family. Mr. Ferris' comments does not begin to address the appalling path of "justice" that was illustrated in Judge Crabtree's courtroom.

    First off, I would like to congratulate Rob Hamilton on his appointment to a Surrey Provincial Court Judge. I have little doubt judges do not make as much income as successful lawyers, as Mr. Hamilton did, so I am hoping he is doing this for more altruistic reasons. I know he offered to represent Dianna Holden in her wrongful removal lawsuit against the Ministry just three weeks ago, and Derek Hoare was hoping to hire him as well.

    The number and importance of cases he was part of while acting for the Director and for many parents facing MCFD are a testament to his expertise on family law (as well as insurance law, according to his bio.)

    But Judge Crabtree... how in god's name did he get an appointment as Chief Justice? Where is his participation in the Continuing Legal Education and other activities that justify his appointment? I could not find any CFCSA judgments or many other judgment that would justify this appointment.

    I suspect that his appointment right in the middle of the Baynes trial carried the implication that he was expected to craft his decision so as not to embarrass the government. Well, he certainly delivered on that point.

    Look at Judge Crabtree's reference to a Provincial Court case law of 10% risk as the reason for finding the Baynes children "in need of protection." I certainly see a 10% component of doubt by Mr. Crabtree, but I do not see any 10% "risk" demonstrated by evidence.

    The debate should why child protection authorities should deem themselves relevant if they cannot more quickly come to the same conclusions as the psychologist Dr. Bowden and Project Parent counsellor. The children were returned inside a month after Dr. Bowden's PCA report was read.

    I have now clue what the Project Parent involvement was for. All I know from my personal experience is this service that is designed to address MCFD parenting concerns is a complete and utter joke.

    As a concerned citizen, I want the complete transcripts of the trial published. Lets take a close and public look at what went on in the courtroom Mr. Judge Crabtree presided over. Lets take a close look at what this judge did NOT deem of importance to reference to in his judgment and then ask why.

  5. What is needed is a pit-bull investigative journalist to examine the Bayne's case.

    Similar to Alex Tsakumis work on exposing Christy Clark and her involvment in the BC Rail sale. See:

  6. To Anon 8:51 AM
    You are correct that confidentiality of courtroom proceedings is the usual rule and although Finn Jensen asked for this, Judge Crabtree permitted publication of the daily outcomes.

    Robert Hamilton does indeed possess both knowledge of the Ministry and his operations and the personnel at least in the Surrey offices, but also a keen sense of what is right, and I believe an untarnished objectivity. In that sense it will be unfortunate to lose him as a legal representative, but I expect he will be an asset behind the bench.

    Many of us questioned Judge Crabtree’s the subjective 10% risk application to the Baynes as parents. I take comfort only in the fact that he acknowledged that the family home is where these children should be and provided a window for that to happen, albeit with a bit more hoop jumping by the Baynes.

    The inefficiency of MCFD child protection workers and practice is underscored by your reference to the exorbitant and unnecessary amount of time they require to investigate, come to conclusions, to produce resolution. I am convinced some social workers and some offices of MCFD are far more proficient and diligent than others and the Bayne case demonstrates that.

    The entire transcript costs hundreds of dollars so it will not likely be published anywhere.

  7. The transcript of the court case involving the Baynes should be available at no charge to their legal counsel in the form of a audio CD or DVD. It is free for legal counsel.

  8. It would be nice to think that the CBC would actually do their job and expose this massive corruption and destruction of children and families. We shouldn't get our hopes too high, however, since the CBC is a left-wing propaganda machine, which has done a great deal to promote the belief in Shaken Baby Syndrome. If you don't believe me, search their website and you'll see - as I did - that they have (or had) a great many articles promoting the idea that SBS is real.

    Furthermore, the CBC is just another example of how those who use our money believe they do not have to answer to us. All the power, but no accountability:

    As far as I am concerned, the CBC is just like the RCY office, loudly pretending to expose injustice (on a very small scale), while in reality upholding and perpetuating the corruption.

    If people really want to get rid of the corruption that leads to MCFD and other child protection atrocities, they have to have a fundamental shift in their philosophy and therefore politics. Start by thinking like Doug Christie, or at least examine Libertarianism. What we really need to solve so many of society's problems, is less government.

    Government, it should be clear by now, is not your friend. It will not act as your servant when it is as big and powerful as it is. People should know this by now, just from their day to day interaction with, and evidence of, government workings. But for some reason, too many of us still keep believing that government is innately benevolent.

  9. There are all these naysayers promoting their belief that Shaken Baby Syndrome doesn't exist, but I guarantee that not a one of them would risk shaking their child for fear of the injuries that it would cause.

  10. Has the Fifth Estate SBS documentary been broadcast already? I haven't seen it yet? Please advise.

  11. For Dec 16th Anon - I have not heard when or now if the Fifth Estate will air the documentary. I am looking for it to come as well. If I hear a scheduled date, I will be sure to place it on a current dated post. thanks for asking.


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