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Woman chooses abortion over facing Child Services again (UK).

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on March 26, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Woman chooses abortion over facing Child Services again (UK).
Monday, 26.03.2007, 12:43pm (GMT12)


By Ben Leapman, Home Affairs Correspondent, Sunday Telegraph

Last Updated: 12:00am GMT 25/03/2007

A mother, whose baby son was taken away after she was wrongly accused of harming him, had an abortion because she could not bear to have a second child removed from her family.

The woman’s first baby was taken into council care aged two months after doctors and social workers concluded that she, or her partner, had deliberately shaken the child.

While the couple fought in the courts to clear their name and get their son returned, the woman fell pregnant again but decided that she could not go through with the pregnancy.

Medical experts only allowed the family to be reunited 12 months later when they found that the baby’s brain injury had been caused naturally before birth by a lack of oxygen in the womb.

Last week, a High Court judge said that the parents had experienced a “nightmare” after a “false finding by a court”.

The family, from Oldham, cannot be identified for legal reasons. In court, the child was referred to only as K.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Ryder said: “The parents bore an almost intolerable burden of being unjustly accused of inflicting serious injury on their infant son. They lived for 12 months with the opprobrium and suspicion of friends and neighbours.

“On finding herself pregnant during the course of proceedings, the mother decided to terminate that pregnancy, unable to face the inevitable separation from her baby that would have followed. I am told that just as she grieves for the loss of those many crucial months with K, she carries an additional loss of another -potential life.”

The judge pointed out how a senior neuroradiologist, Dr Wellesley St Clair Forbes, had used language which was “too absolute” in relation to the possible cause of the baby’s alleged injuries.

The case emerged as victims of miscarriages of justice prepared to unveil a campaign aimed at changing the way medical evidence is considered in court.

Among those at the launch at Westminster this week will be Angela Cannings, who spent 18 months in prison after being wrongly convicted of killing two of her children, both victims of cot deaths; and Ian and Angela Gay, cleared in a retrial this month of poisoning their adopted son with salt and shaking him. The couple served 15 months in jail after being convicted of manslaughter in 2005.

The event will begin with a minute’s silence for Sally Clark, the solicitor who died two weeks ago. She served three years in prison for murdering her two babies before her conviction was quashed and she was freed in 2003.

Prof Roy Meadow, who told her initial trial that the chances of a family suffering a second cot death were 73 million to one, was later struck off the medical register after statisticians said the true odds were 200 to one. John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP who is organising the campaign, said: “Family courts have to stop acting like witchfinders and start having some intellectual rigour in their operation.”

Two weeks after K was born in November 2004, his parents called a doctor after finding him floppy with his eyes rolling. Hospital scans detected a brain haemorrhage which, according to Dr Forbes, a senior consultant neuroradiologist, was characteristic of a deliberately-caused injury.

Social workers began care proceedings in January 2005 and the baby was sent to live with his grandmother. A circuit judge, Judge Newton, repeatedly refused the parents’ requests for a second expert opinion from a doctor.

When the opinion was -finally obtained from Dr Neil Stoodley, a consultant -paediatric neuroradiologist, in July 2005, he called Dr Forbes’s findings “fundamentally flawed” and “incapable of withstanding logical analysis”. A panel of four experts eventually agreed that K’s brain injury probably occurred when he was starved of oxygen in the womb.

Mr Justice Ryder said: “This is not a case where there is ‘no smoke without fire’, this is a case where a family court and the expert who advised it got it wrong. K’s parents deserve an explanation, as will K when he is older.”


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