Papa Inbc, standing for 'People Assisting Parents Association.' The author follows numerous cases closely, particularly when parental rights have been trampled unjustly by bureaucratic thoughtlessness and deliberate malice.
The closing argument *may* be over by the end of April according to the schedule I heard just today. From that point, the judge studies the evidence and takes a few months to write his ruling.
If you thought the 3-days of closing argument of Finn Jensen in the Bayne family month-long trial was unduly lengthy, the two months and many more hundreds of pages of written submissions in this case puts that into perspective.
This is indeed a fine job by Ray in summarizing this complex and lengthy case.
The crux of the lawsuit is the "mental health" basis that the Vancouver Police Department Sex Crimes investigator Gwen Rowley diagnosed "independently" from a "variety of credible sources" (such as the dad who was found to have sexually abused his four children, family members, which they testified as to NOT saying any such thing). MCFD social workers say their removal actions were based on that police assessment. That assessment being that mom was in hiding, was suicidal, might possibly kill her kids, might flee across the border, and so on. The social workers and police really laid it on thick.
In second lawsuit trial, the social workers testified (keep in mind that NO evidence was brought forward by MCFD in the first trial, so NONE of the social workers testified then, but ALL of them testified this time around.)
MCFD AND VPD agree that no social worker "told" police mom had mental health problems. Again, the VPD "independently" arrived at this conclusion. Based on this, the removal was performed by MCFD.
The father had no access before the apprehension. Less than a week after the removal, the MCFD gave access to the dad two days before the police were to interview the children, but not the mom. MCFD tried to hide this first visit, because of the obvious inference dad would convince the kids not to say anything to the police.
The children were interviewed, the critical disclosure mom video-taped her children saying was not repeated and the result was VPD closed the investigation, clearing the father.
Even though the dad had a BC Supreme Court no-contact order with the mom and supervised-only access, incredibly, MCFD was advised by their lawyer that it was fine to allow unsupervised access - despite the existence of BC Supreme Court Orders.
Judge Walker later re-imposed supervised-only access during trial and expanded supervised access to both parents at 11 hours weekly.
There was significant evidence presented during this second trial, that during the time the children were foster care, the dad had unsupervised access and sexually abused the youngest child.
When this horrific sort of abuse happens to children while they are in care of the Ministry, this magnifies the violation of public trust in the concept of child protection as practiced by MCFD.
MCFD filed a Form B withdrawal from proceedings without stating the reasons as they are supposed to. Protection concerns evaporated, as did their obligation to the children and parents to provide remedial services for the damage they caused in the 2-1/2 years the children were in care.
No one could come up with the reason for withdrawal during this trial. It is not a criminal proceeding, so MCFD as the initiator can withdraw anytime they want, exactly as Ray says.
The original lawyer Corrine Feeney was replaced by Gary Somers QC, who, presumably promptly advised MCFD to withdraw (attorney client privilege I believe applies here.)
As it stands now, dad currently has zero access. But, he is running around free. The Crown is essentially defending him. They have to, or admit, by charging him with criminal sexual abuse towards children, they failed in their duty to properly investigate and protect children not in care, AND while the children WERE in care.
Recall that a $13 million dollar settlement was reached for a child in foster care who was abused by the foster parents, and the child was significantly brain damaged, requiring life long care. The Crown did offer a settlement that has been rejected. Those mediated terms have be hidden until the judgment is rendered and costs are discussed. Then the settlement offer letters come out and costs are assessed.
All of the children have been diagnosed with PTSD and have been severely traumatized by the ordeal, as has the mom, who has attended every day of the trial.
As one small point of detail, their are three separate trial numbers, the CFCSA Provincial Court file "Fxxxxx, the BC Supreme Court file "Exxxxx" FRA (Family Relations Act) trial for custody and divorce, and the lawsuit file "Sxxxx". Heard together, or concurrently is more appropriate than the word "join" when speaking of the interplay of multiple Acts.
All three are heard by the same judge, for the reason of efficiency in having one tryor of fact hear the base evidence that relates to all files. In CFCSA proceedings, the BC Supreme Court judge sits as a Provincial Court judge, meaning that hearsay evidence of a limited nature is allowed (which is not the case in BC Supreme Court proceedings.)
The last, and current trial that is underway, is the lawsuit. It partially benefits from the finding of facts made in the first trial. Misfeasance examines the level of malice or incompetence demonstrated by the Director's agents. Category "A" misfeasance is being applied for, given the premeditated nature of MCFD's actions.
If you thought the judge had a low opinion of social workers without their testimony from the first trial, hearing each of them state under oath to his face that his judgment is wrong and they are right.... well, I can't wait to read what he thinks of them now.
There is a significant issue of jurisdiction. The judge made orders of supervised access that one would think, a Provincial authority should defer to, but they did not. Compounding matters, the results of ignoring that order was that another child was sexually abused while in care OF THE MINISTRY!!! The magnitude of this cannot be understated enough. I have no idea of the millions of dollars of punitive damage must be awarded to deter this behavior, but there is no question it must be stopped.
The call for public inquiry is the obvious next step on the Ministry as a whole, not just the typical whitewash report and ignore routine on this specific case.
PAPA is a civilian run non-profit organization formed under the Society Act in July 2007 in British Columbia, Canada. Exclusively funded by free will donors, PAPA is not affiliated with any ethnic community, religious group or political party. PAPA has no connection with any government or Crown corporation.
- build a safer and better future for our children;
- protect the best interests of children by preserving their families, if possible, and restoring healthy parenting ability;
- safeguard the rights and dignity of parents in state-sponsored child protection activities.