The High Court has ruled in favour of a father who insisted he had not deliberately inflicted injuries on his three month-old child.
In Lancashire Council v R, the baby suffered a serious head injury, as well as a scratch to her eye and an abrasion on her chin. He insisted that he had tripped and fallen accidentally while holding the child but the local authority believed he had assaulted the baby and launched proceedings to take her into care.
In court Lancashire Council put submitted evidence regarding the man’s history. He had convictions for assault, and on one occasion had put his hands around the mother’s throat. He had also lost his job not long before and the family had been living in “cramped” conditions.
A paediatric ophthalmologist was convinced the injuries had been inflicted by violent shaking, but when pressed, said he could not rule out the father’s explanation.
Conducting a fact finding hearing at the Family Division earlier this month, Mr Justice Mostyn said the father was intelligent and had expressed embarrassment and shame about his history. He did not think the father’s criminal convictions had any bearing on the situation and concluded that a violent assault was unlikely.
He concluded that the father’s detailed account of what had happened was most likely the truth and met the legal standards for a decision in his favour.