July 14, 2008
Kennedy and Jensen
Barristers and Solicitors
PO Box 1718
Hope, BC VOX 1L0
Dear Finn Jensen:
RE: BAYNE FAMILY
Further to our conversation yesterday, I have had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Bruce McNeill. We have reviewed some of the latest information and I have informed him of some of your concerns respecting this matter as it proceeds through the court process.
Specifically there is concern that a plan was in place to return the two older children to the parents under supervision order, due to a lack of evidence indicating they would be in potential harm in the parents care. This plan changed, as I indicated yesterday, due to concerns that the grandparents, were not effectively in control of the care of the children in their home.
Since this action was taken, my understanding is, that no new evidence has come to light, which would indicate risk to these children. You and I spoke of the concerns the social worker, (redacted to LH) has uncovered about the father's own upbringing and the abuse he allegedly suffered. However, you indicated that you did not feel this would be sufficient in court, given that there is no evidence of harm to the older two children. Dr. Korn's medical report of November 2007, completed shortly after the two older children came into care, indicates that there was no evidence of harm or injury to the children.
We spoke of the disclosure of the oldest child Kent, that the maternal grandfather and the father Paul Bayne hit the middle child Baden. I believe you indicated, that this disclosure by itself was again insufficient to sway the court.
At this point it is your belief, that the Director should consider a return of the two older children to the parents under supervision and thus be in a position to assess directly the parents' ability to parent. Furthermore, you made the observation that with the numbers of people advocating on the parent's behalf and active in the parent's lives, it is unlikely that harm might come to the children without it being observed.
If the Director did consider returning the two oldest children, this would in your opinion allow the court to more diligently focus on the situation of Bethany in which Dr. Colburn has diagnosed Shaken Baby.
In our conversation yesterday, you indicated a number of issues have arisen regarding our case. Apparently Dr. Colburn either missed diagnosing a skull fracture in Bethany or failed to make note of it in her report. It would be helpful to know, which is the case and what bearing this might have on her credibility to the court.
There are now four different opinions from other medical professionals, which have been forwarded to Dr. Colburn for her opinion. Mr. Bruce McNeill currently has three of the alternate medical . opinions, but would appreciate receiving the others. I understand that there is at least one more opinion being sent to you by the Bayne's lawyer.
When we spoke yesterday, you indicated that it is your understanding, that all of these opinions have some degree of credibility as do the medical professionals themselves. Dr. Colburn has made the statement that none of these doctors have examined Bethany and all of these doctors are hired to provide an alternate opinion to that arrived at by Children's hospital.
I understand that Dr.Colburn is still convinced that this is a case of Shaken Baby and is consulting with other medical professionals. Will these other professionals also begin providing written medical opinions?
I realize that Dr. Colburn has requested a meeting with yourself prior to giving testimony to review "grey areas" in her report. Are you aware of what these "grey areas" are and any degree of significance they might have to our case?
When you and I met yesterday, you spoke of the court being presented with multiple medical opinions by many different highly regarded medical professionals and having to ultimately weigh the relative probability of one opinion versus another. You've suggested that it is unlikely that the court would have the depth of knowledge to appreciate the more technical aspects of the medical diagnoses being presented. I believe you indicated, that the amount of material presented one way or the other, is apt to have some significance to the court as it makes its decision. Assuming t understood this correctly, would it be prudent to seek a separate independent assessment of all the medical diagnoses prior to proceeding to court? I know we spoke of this when meeting with Mr. McNeill some weeks earlier, but I believe at that time it was not felt to be necessary.
Finally, besides receiving all the medical opinions, Mr. McNeill would like to be a part of a meeting with Dr. Colburn in order to better appreciate the range of differing assessments and their relative significance.
At this point in time we remain concerned about the parent's ability to parent any or all of the children and the lack of a definitive explanation for what happened to Bethany.
There is concern, that despite a lack of clear evidence indicating that harm has come to the older children, there is a likelihood of harm and until we better understand the case we are reticent to consider a return of the two older children.
With the number of medical opinions it appears prudent to assess the various opinions and then examine the case of all three children and what course of action is best to ensure their safety and well being. I am not sure at this point if you are aware of when you will receive the final alternate medical opinion but it would be of great assistance to meet with Dr. Colburn after she has had time to assess these reports, and consult with colleagues to then explore what course of action the Director should consider taking.
Your assistance in this is greatly appreciated.
/ signed /
John Fitzsimmons, CSM
cc: Bruce McNeil