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Mrs Justice Hogg has ordered the return of two children, now aged 5 and 3, to their parents after proceedings lasting over 5 years.
The father was found guilty of causing non-accidental injuries to the 5 year old child when she was just 7 weeks old and spent 7 months in prison before his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal. In care proceedings the mother was also found to have failed to protect the child and a special guardianship order was made in favour of the maternal grandparents.
When the mother became pregnant for a second time the couple relocated to a different part of the country but were eventually traced when the child was 6 months old and she was removed by police and taken into foster care. The local authority sought final care and placement orders.
After hearing extensive medical evidence Mrs Justice Hogg concluded that the local authority had failed to discharge the burden of proof, the parents were able to provide an innocent explanation for all of the injuries which was medically possible and she said it was ‘a rare joy' to be able to reunite the family.
For further comment on this case please see: A ‘miscarriage of justice' corrected: the difference expert evidence and a full re-hearing can make to the outcome: Sutton LBC v Gray and Butler, Jo Delahunty QC and William Tyler in the November edition of Family Law.