Baby girl placed under care of Department of Community Services
Infant was likely victim of violent shaking
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.