Ray Ferris commented further to Derek Hoare's account of the Case Conference held last Monday the 23rd of January 2012. It is an encouraging assessment of what seemed like such a disappointing outcome. Whereas thousands of supporters were hopeful that MCFD would propose at the very least a plan for a graduated return of Ayn Van Dyk to her father, instead a court date for trial was set for December 2012 and lasting until February 2013. Further, whereas some readers may have faulted Derek for minimizing the mediation and wanting the trial, Ferris looks at this differently and actually applauds Derek. Read his reasoning here. The point is the Ministry of Children has no substantive reason for doing what they are doing to this family, have no evidence of weight it can bring to trial, and would love nothing more than to wallow around in mediation talks that appear conciliatory but simply drag on indefinitely with no serious intention to deal fairly. It requires a judge's directive to the Ministry to make a restoration of parental custodial rights happen, and that's what occurred in the Paul and Zabeth Bayne case.
Here are Ray Ferris' comments.
Two useful things came out of the conference, which maybe I will write on at a later date. First I was pleased that Derek absolutely insisted on going to trial before having gone to mediation. As you know my position has consistently been that the ministry should not be allowed to use mediation to derail the trial process and block parents from getting their day in court. That is why I have strongly recommended to the inter-party committee that mediation be removed from the legislation.
Second, this puts real pressure on the ministry because they do not like the need to press for more budget for contested hearings. The Fraser Region has already caused enough concern and they must surely be in the ministerial radar watch by now. No surprise to me that they want to come up with another offer. They cannot afford to lose this one, which would be a media disaster. This is one of the values of your blog. You can keep a lot of discomfort going for you know whom.
I presume that the judge was at the table and this is also an advantage. He has had the chance to meet face to face with Derek and to see the intense love he bears his daughter and how deeply this action by the social workers has affected everyone. He must already have some grave doubts about the wisdom of prolonging everything. I am pretty certain that there were some behind the scenes communications in the Bayne case. No doubt judges find a way of communicating their concerns to the AG’s department when they think it important. Well done Derek. I don’t think this case will go on to trial, but I would not bet my shirt on it.