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11 JUL 2013

FACT-FINDING HEARING: Re A (Fact-Finding Hearing: Non-Accidental Injury)

(Court of Appeal, Rimer, Tomlinson, McFarlane LJJ, 4 July 2013)

The two children were removed from the parents' care after one of the children attended hospital and was found to have sustained fractured ribs.

During proceedings the judge heard from the parents, health visitor and medical experts and found that while the parents' explanations for the injuries were highly unlikely it was not possible to conclude that the injuries were non-accidental. The local authority appealed.

It was well established that the appeal court had to allow the trial judge, who had heard all the parties' evidence first hand, a wide margin of discretion when deciding whether to interfere with the decision. This judge had been entitled to depart from the medical expert view and provided an explanation as to why she had done so. An important factor was that the judge had heard the parents given evidence and had been impressed by them. It was not for this court to second-guess the judge.

The appeal was dismissed.