(Family Division, Theis J, 31 January 2014)
Care proceedings - Withdrawal - Injuries to young child - Causation
The, now one-year-old, child was admitted to hospital experiencing fitting where she was found to have suffered chronic subdural haematoma and retinal haemorrhages. The local authority initiated care proceedings and a fact-finding hearing took place to determine the cause and timing of the injuries. On the fifth day of the hearing, it had become less clear that the local authority were going to be able to prove their case and they sought permission to withdraw proceedings pursuant to FPR 29.4(4).
Taking into account all of the medical evidence, there were many uncertainties making it less likely that the local authority would be able to prove their case. In considering the mother and father as part of the wide canvas, they had been consistent, co-operative and had responded appropriately to the child's health needs. The court was left in a position with a number of possibilities but no consistent thread that the injuries were caused deliberately by one of the parents. The local authority were granted permission to withdraw proceedings.