Jonathan Sampson KC in Re W (A Child) (Inflicted Injury – Delay) [2024] EWCA Civ 418

7th May 2024 | Cases

Jonathan Sampson KC, instructed by Waldrons Solicitors, led Kristina Brown of No5 Barristers Chambers in Re W (A Child) (Inflicted Injury – Delay) [2024] EWCA Civ 418; an appeal by the mother against findings in care proceedings that she or the father had inflicted injuries to their child. Jonathan represented the Second Respondent father.

On 26 November 2023 the court at first instance found that fractures to both the tibias of a little girl W, then 10 months old, had been inflicted either deliberately or recklessly by either the Appellant mother or the Respondent father.

On 30 September 2021 W suffered a fracture to her femur after a low fall. Her parents immediately took her to hospital. A skeletal survey revealed older fractures to her tibias. Neither the parents or grandparents were able to give any explanation as to how these older fractures had occurred. The local authority issued care proceedings and W was made the subject of an interim care order on 8 October 2021 and placed into foster care where she remains. There was a significant delay in handing down the judgment which resulted in W being in foster care for nearly two and a half years by the time the appeal was heard. The Court of Appeal found this delay to be unacceptable. 

The Court of Appeal found that the court of first instance had failed to consider the evidence as a whole. The judge had not given enough weight to W’s medical history, which could have predisposed her to bone fragility. Other than the findings of inflicted injury, there was no other basis upon which the threshold criteria could be satisfied, especially as the mother and father’s parenting was found to be ‘exemplary’. Appeal allowed. 

Reported in Local Government Lawyer.

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