Baby girl placed un­der care of Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices

In­fant was likely vic­tim of vi­o­lent shak­ing

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - SYD­NEY

A Cape Bre­ton Supreme Court jus­tice has ruled that a 16-month-old girl is in need of pro­tec­tion and or­dered the child be placed un­der the care of the Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices.

Jus­tice Lee Anne MacLeodArcher ruled there was con­vinc­ing ev­i­dence to sup­port the find­ing that the baby was in need of pro­tec­tion in ac­cor­dance with the Chil­dren and Fam­ily Ser­vices Act.

“She suf­fered se­ri­ous, non-ac­ci­den­tal in­juries while in the care of her par­ents,” said MacLeod-Archer, adding she deemed the fa­ther the most likely per­son to have in­flicted the in­juries while the mother failed to ad­e­quately su­per­vise and pro­tect the child.

The names of the par­ties in­volved are pro­hib­ited from pub­li­ca­tion as is any in­for­ma­tion that could lead to their iden­tity.

The judge also ruled all of the in­juries oc­curred at the same time and were the likely re­sult of the child be­ing a vic­tim of a vi­o­lent shak­ing.

Some 15 weeks af­ter the child was born in 2014, her par­ents took her to hos­pi­tal in Syd­ney. She was sub­se­quently trans­ferred to the IWK Health Cen­tre in Hal­i­fax, which spe­cial­izes in chil­dren’s medicine.

Af­ter a se­ries of tests, it was de­ter­mined the child was suf­fer­ing from ex­ten­sive bleed­ing on the brain, as well as brain bruis­ing. She also had in­curred ex­ten­sive in­jury to her eyes, along with a leg frac­ture.

The IWK team that as­sessed the child de­ter­mined the in­juries were the re­sult of a non- ac­ci­den­tal trauma, which prompted the in­volve­ment of po­lice and so­cial work­ers. The depart­ment filed an ap­pli­ca­tion to deem the child in need of pro­tec­tion.

No crim­i­nal charges were laid against ei­ther par­ent.

In her de­ci­sion re­leased ear­lier this month, MacLeodArcher said there are a num­ber of in­con­sis­ten­cies in the tes­ti­mony of the par­ents.

“Both par­ents have an in­ter­est in the out­come of the hear­ing. One of them has lied by deny­ing they in­jured the child. If the other par­ent knows the role played by the per­pe­tra­tor and has been pro­tect­ing them, they too have a mo­tive to lie or twist the truth,” said MacLeodArcher.

Af­ter hear­ing ev­i­dence in the case dur­ing an eight-day trial, MacLeod-Archer con­cluded the full story may never be known. She noted the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the par­ents was marked by dys­func­tion and vi­o­lence and at the time of the in­juries to the baby, the fa­ther was self-med­i­cat­ing with methadone he was buy­ing on the street.

The mother ini­tially de­nied know­ing about the drug use and even lied about ter­mi­nat­ing the re­la­tion­ship with the fa­ther, although there was ev­i­dence to the con­trary.

“She (the mother) does not un­der­stand why she is not en­joy­ing life as a new mother of a beau­ti­ful child, liv­ing with the man she loves in their own home.

Her fo­cus through­out her ev­i­dence was on the im­pact this pro­ceed­ing is hav­ing on her life, rather than the baby’s fu­ture,” MacLeod-Archer said in her de­ci­sion.

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