(Court of Appeal, Thorpe, Lloyd, Black LJJ, 5 October 2012)
The child was adopted at the age of 10 months. When aged 7 the child was placed in voluntary foster due to concerns about her treatment at home at which point she alleged sexual abuse by her father. Medical evidence showed signs consistent with sexual abuse but there remained questions about the identity of the abuser.
During care proceedings the parents admitted causing emotional abuse and neglect and did not seek the child's return to their care or direct contact. The judge held a fact-finding hearing would not, therefore, be necessary. The local authority appealed.
Since the decision was taken fresh medical evidence had come to light and the parents indicated that they may seek to have contact with the child in the future. The matter would be remitted to the judge to consider all the material together to determine whether a fact-finding hearing should take place.