A Family Court judge has criticised the parents of a seven month-old child for their “significant” failure to protect him.
The boy, identified in the judgment as ‘R’, was taken to hospital in July 2014 by emergency services after suffering multiple injuries. Shortly afterwards, the local authority took R into care and applied for a placement order, which would allow him to be adopted.
They argued that “neither parent can be trusted as a protective parent” and the fact that neither of them had offered any reasonable explanation for R’s injuries “limit[ed] the evaluation of risk”. Additionally, neither parent sought to blame a third party for the injuries.
Sitting at the Family Court in Wrexham, His Honour Judge Gareth Jones ruled that R suffered the injuries while in his parents’ care. However, the judge said that he “simply cannot identify on the evidence as a whole which parent was responsible”. He said that they both knew who was responsible but “both have chosen to keep silent for reasons of their own”.
While the mother objected to the local authority’s application and sought R’s return to her care, the father’s participation in the proceedings, and indeed in the limited contact he had with his son, was described as “tokenistic only”.
Judge Jones said that as he could not say with any degree of certainty which parent had inflicted R’s injuries, he could not risk allowing either of them to care for their child.
He concluded that adoption would be in R’s best interests to guarantee the boy’s safety. Judge Jones said that would be “an essential prerequisite for a happy childhood and as a building block for a healthy adulthood”.
To read A County Council v G & Ors in full, click here.