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Non-Accidental Injury

Have You Been Wrongly Accused Of Abusing Or Injuring Your Child?

If you have been plunged into the nightmare of being wrongly accused of abusing or causing injury to your child, you have come to the right place.  Our non-accidental injury team, headed up by Rebecca Ward, understand exactly what you are going through, they have seen it all before. As experts in the field of alleged non-accidental injury to children, they will advise you, support you and represent you with the aim of keeping your family together and clearing your name.

We know the feelings of shame and humiliation you are feeling, but rest assured, we know you have done nothing wrong, (you would not be reading this otherwise), and we can point you to countless case studies where we have helped others who have found themselves in the same situation as you are in now.

We represent parents who have been wrongly accused of causing injury to their child whether this be in respect of bruising, fractures, injuries to the eyes, head injuries and unexplained infant death just to list a few. We also represent parents when they have been accused of Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII) also sometimes called Munchasen Syndrome.  There are also cases that concern alleged poisoning of a child.

Where matters move over to the legal arena, we will provide you with legal representation and help you to put your case before the court.

Our Approach on Non Accidental Injury

Brendan Fleming Solicitors are committed to providing justice for parents who have been wrongly accused of causing injuries to their children.  To this end, we have created a dedicated Non-Accidental Injury Department.  Brendan Fleming Solicitors have earned a UK wide reputation as being experts in this specialised field of family law, and deal with all clients in a caring, down to earth and professional manner.

Due to our years of experience, we have developed working relationships with medical experts, who, with the Court’s permission, we can instruct to provide valuable medical opinion within proceedings as to the nature, causation and mechanism of injuries caused. Where it is considered necessary we will apply to the court to instruct independent medical experts of various disciplines based on the individual circumstances to establish causation of injuries and to explore if there is any underlying medical condition which may pre-dispose or make a child more vulnerable to injury such as Vitamin D deficiency, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), Osteogenisis Imperfecta (OI), Menke’s Disease, Coagulations Disorders etc.  Some examples of experts that may be approached to assist the court understand what has happened to case an injury to a child are: Paediatrician, Paediatric Neuro-Surgeon (brain), Paediatric Radiologist (bones), Paediatric Ophthalmologist (eyes), Haematologist (blood), Geneticist etc.  It is important to get the right expert depending on the alleged injury.

Our team has earned enormous respect from the Judiciary and Child Protection Agencies for representing parents who find themselves in the difficult position of facing allegations of causing injury to their children and working towards keeping loving families together.

Here are just some of the cases that they have been involved in:

Re G (2018): In this case we represented a mother. The child had sustained a fracture to the skull and subarachnoid haemorrhages.  There had been an unwitnessed fall from the sofa. It was not accepted by the hospital that a fall from this height could have caused the injuries.  A paediatrician, neurosurgeon and radiologist/ neuroradiologist was instructed.  They accepted the explanation of the family as being possible.  The neuroradiologist also confirmed that the presence of the subarachnoid haemorhages could even be dated back to birth due to the child having Benign Enlargement of the Subarachnoid Space (BESS). Case withdrawn by the local authority and the child was returned to the care of his parents.

Re C (2018): In this case we represented a mother.  The youngest child who was just 25 days old had sustained a fracture to the skull.  The father had been taking the child out of the bedroom in his moses basket when it slipped. The child fell out of the moses basket onto the metal carpet gripper.  It was not accepted by the hospital that a fall from knee height could cause the injury.  It became clear that the height was higher than this. A paedaitirican, neurosurgeon and neuroradiologist were instructed and accepted that the explanation could have been plausible. The local authority alleged that the parents were lying about the height of the fall and the case proceeded to a finding of fact hearing.  The court dismissed the case as the injuries were deemed to be accidental and the children were returned to the care of their parents.

Re H (2018): In this case we represented the maternal aunt who had the care of the two eldest children out of the sibling set.  The youngest child had sustained retinal haemorhages.  It was eventually accepted that the injuries could have been caused due to the child’s severe prematurity.  The children were returned to the care of their mother and the local authority withdrew their application.

Re D (2018): In this case we represented a mother.   One of the children had sustained multiple rib fractures.  It was the initial opinion that the injuries were non-accidental, and the parents were in the possible pool.  A number of medical experts were instructed in this matter.  It was identified that the child had underlying medical conditions which nobody could pinpoint.  Her failure to thrive may have made her more vulnerable and may have resulted in her bones not developing in the way that they should have done and thus making her more vulnerable to injury.  The child also sustained a further rib fracture whilst in hospital at a time when the parents were unable to handle the child.  The local authority withdrew their application and the children were returned to the care of their parents.

Re D (2018): In this case we represented a mother.  Previously, the court had not been able to say that she had not caused bruising to her older child.  Within these proceedings, the mother had made substantial changes to her lifestyle to a point whereby it was considered safe for her newborn child to remain in care initially under strict supervision and this supervision was relaxed over a period of time.  The case concluded with the mother back in her own home with her newborn child under a 12-month Supervision Order.

Re D (A Child) [2017] EWHC 3075 (fam) and Re D (A Child) [2017] EWCA Civ 196: In this case we represented a father.  His child had sustained subdural and retinal haemorrhages. A number of experts were instructed, and a finding of fact hearing was heard in the High Court. The court at first instance dismissed the case due to the local authority not proving its case that the injuries had been caused non-accidentally.  The child was returned to the care of the mother.  The local authority appealed.  This was allowed.  The case was then remitted for a re-hearing.  Please see case reporting’s for full details.

Re K (2017): In this case we represented a mother. The youngest child had sustained a spiral fracture to his left femur. The mother accepted causing the facture accidentally right at the end of the finding of fact hearing.  The children had been permitted during the proceedings to reside with their parents under the strict supervision of their grandparents.  A psychological risk assessment was carried out of the parents in light of the admission of the mother.  Findings were also made that the father had failed to protect.  At the conclusion of the psychological assessment a plan had been put into place to enable the children to remain in the care of their parents, supported by the local authority under a Care Order.

Re C (2017): In this case we represented a mother. The child had sustained a fracture to the skull.  The parents had described a fall backwards on a dining room chair.  They did not think that the child had hit their head.  After the medical evidence had been received, the parents conceded that they could not rule out the possibility of the child hitting her head during the fall.  As such, the local authority withdrew their application. 

Re B (2017): In this case we represented a mother.  The parents had been accused of causing a skull fracture to their non-mobile child.  All 3 children went into foster care.  A paediatrician and radiologist was instructed in this matter.  An application was made to remove the mother from the pool of possible perpetrators upon receipt of the medical reports. The children were permitted to return to the mother.  There was then a finding of fact hearing upon which findings were made against the father. The case concluded with a Child Arrangement Order being made in favour of the mother.

Re B (2016): In this case we represented a father.  One of their twin boys had sustained subdural and retinal haemorrhages.  It was alleged that these were non-accidental in nature.  A number of experts were instructed to assist the court.  It was identified that the child had Benign Enlargement of the Subarachnoid Space which may have made the child more fragile to injury. The court proceeded at a finding of fact hearing to make a finding against the father as having caused the injuries.  Assessments were done with the family and the children were returned to the care of both parents under a Care Order.

Re R (2016): In this case we represented a mother. The youngest child had sustained unexplained markings.  It was initially considered that these marks were bruises and that they may have been caused by either parents.  A paediatrician was instructed.  The child had odema of infancy which explained the markings.  The local authority withdrew their application. 

Stockport MBC and AM, DT, L + K and SM, LS, T and E 25 February 2016 [2016] EWFC 12: In this case we represented the father.  The child had sustained subdural and retinal haemorrhages.  It was considered by the hospital that these injuries were non-accidental in nature.  Medical experts including a Paediatrician, neuro-surgeon, geneticist, ophthalmologist was instructed. This case was considered in the High Court due to a number of intervenors being involved, some of whom were children.  At the end of the finding of fact hearing, the court concluded that the mother had been responsible for the injuries to the child. The father was exonerated. The children remained in the care of family with the father enjoying regular contact.

Re M (2016): In this case we represented a father.  Mother and father were accused of shaking their young baby.  The baby had also sustained fractures and bruising which the parents were accused of being responsible for.  The case was considered in the High Court.  A number of medical experts were instructed including a paediatrician, ophthalmologist, neurosurgeon, neuroradiologist and a radiologist.  The medical experts were unanimous in their view that the injuries were non-accidental in nature.  Mother was found to have caused all of the injuries.  It was accepted that father was not present during the time-frame in which the injuries could have been caused.  Father was exonerated.  The child was returned to the care of the father.

LB Hounslow v M and F 17 December 2015 [2015] EWFC B214: In this case we represented a mother who had been accused of causing subdural and retinal haemorrhages to her son.  The family claimed that the injuries were caused followed the child pulling himself up on a washing basket and falling backwards and hitting his head.  This was not accepted by the hospital.  Experts were instructed including a paedaitirican, neurosurgeon, neuroradiologist and ophthalmologist.  The case proceeded to a finding of fact hearing.  2 other family members were intervened into the proceedings.  Upon hearing evidence, the court concluded that the injuries had bene caused by the short fall as described by the family and that this was an unfortunate event in which the child had been an outlier.  As such, the child was returned to the care of his mother under a Supervision Order.

Case History in Re N (A Minor) [2014] EWFC 54:

In this case, we represented a father.  The parents were accused of shaking their baby after he was presented to hospital with bleeding to his brain and eyes.

Initially, the baby was placed in foster care but following a successful family assessment he was placed with the Maternal Grandparents.  The case was considered by the High Court.  A number of medical experts were instructed to assist the Court including a Paediatrician, Paediatric Neuro-Surgeon, Paediatric Neuro-Radiologist, Paediatric Ophthalmologist, Haematologist and a Forensic Pharmacologist. 

After considering the evidence at the Finding of Fact Hearing, the Court found that the injuries had been sustained by accident by the mother in a state of panic when she believed that her child was not breathing and, therefore, feared that he was dying.  The Local Authority’s application for a Care Order was dismissed. Read Full Judgement: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/HCJ/2014/54.html

Do not lose hope.  Accusations of child abuse can be fought with the positive outcome of the allegations not been found by the Court and the family being reunited.  Let us help you by contacting us today.

Call us on 0121 683 5000 or 0800 246 5147 (out of hours mobile or for texting: 07730 143 432), or  complete the online enquiry form.

Why You Need Brendan Fleming Solicitors for Your Case

Brendan Fleming, [is] the most formidable of the few British solicitors prepared to fight for parents whose children have been seized by social workers for seemingly no good reason.

– Christopher Brooker, The Telegraph 2013.

 

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