Unprovable and medically allegations 'Waney Squier'

4th February 2009

Story (By Nick Tarver)

If their case had been heard in any other court in the land, this couple would now be posing with their four-year-old daughter – but the High Court, which has also forced their anonymity, has instead decided it will allow Social Workers to have her adopted because of unprovable and medically disputed allegations


The parents of a baby girl put up for adoption by social services faced an uphill battle to win her back. The burden of proof rested on the family being able to prove the medical verdict of non – accidental head injury was wrong.

But representing themselves against social services’ barristers and unable to use scans of the disabled boy’s injuries as they had been lost or destroyed by the hospitals which treated him, their struggle proved to be fruitless.

The family hoped the testimony of their medical expert neuropathologist Dr Waney Squier, who was based at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, would be enough to convince the judge.

She testified there was no evidence tom show the boy’s injuries were caused by the father. There were no bruises on his body and he had no damage to his neck – injuries usually present when a baby has been shaken hard enough to cause brain haemorrhage, she also believes the brain damage may have been caused by a pre-existing medical condition. But the judge was not swayed by her arguments and chose to support the testimony of Enfield Council’s expert, Dr Neil Stoodley, from Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, who claimed it was most likely that the brain damage was caused by non-accidental head injury. 

The family were praised for there conduct by the judge, who said they had acted with courtesy, restraint and ability.

“The court can have nothing but admiration for the persistence of the parents in this case or any doubt but that the father’s belief in his innocence and the injustice done to his families is genuinely held,” he said.

Andrew Fraser, Enfield council ‘s joint acting director for education children’s services and leisure, said: The judgement confirms the validity of the original medical evidence before the court, means the child remains in her current placement.

“Our main concern is, and must always be, to ensure that children are safe and protected from harm.”