The provincial government is appealing a scathing B.C. Supreme Court ruling in a Lower Mainland child abuse case, hoping to get “clarity.”
Last month, Justice Paul Walker concluded the Ministry of Children and Family Development was liable after it ignored a court order and let a woman’s abusive husband have unsupervised access to her four children, despite her warnings, during which time he sexually abused the youngest.
The judge lambasted the ministry’s social workers for portraying the mom as mentally ill, while supporting the father.
The mother, only known as JP, has issued a statement through her lawyer:
“I think it’s completely rude and inhumane to go on against children that have been hurt so horribly.
What they have done for six years and now continue to do is cruel and sadistic. They are like the people running the MCFD. We are suffering because of them – terribly.
I can’t do this all by myself. At a minimum it would be nice to see all my fellow taxpayers step in and say they are not funding this.”
Minister in charge Stephanie Cadieux recently appointed a former deputy to review how social workers handled the case, to be handled by human resources.
“Not about the family involved”
In a statement, she says the appeal is not about the family involved, but “about every family that the ministry may interact with in the future.”
She says lawyers have advised her the trial judge may have erred, and that an appeal is warranted.
The lawyer representing the mother and her four children says the government decision to appeal the ruling is re-victimizing the family.
Lawyer says appeal “re-victimizes JP and her children”
Jack Hittrich says it’s ironic coming from a government that says it puts ‘families first.’
“We have Premier Clark who campaigned on an agenda of families first and certainly her actions with respect to this case have been anything but in line with that.”
Hittrich says the appeal also illustrates the government’s refusal to take any responsibility for its actions.
“The mother is devastated. This government has shown complete disregard for her children’s concerns and her concerns that was a large part of the trial, their refusal to listen to her cries for help and they have continued to essentially ignore egregious wrongs.”
Child’s advocate opposes appeal
BC’s representative for Children and Youth – Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond – says the government decision to appeal doesn’t come as a surprise….
“I had every indication that they would appeal from day one and I urged them to please respectfully be clear to the public and be clear to mom about this because telling mom through the media on a Friday that they are going to appeal the case gives us no time to prepare her.”
Turpel-Lafond says she’s dealing with a devastated family right now and picking up the pieces isn’t going to be easy.
“I have an extremely distressed family today in light of this and I have my work cut out for me as an advocate to keep them supported.”
Turpel-Lafond says the family’s already been through a 178 day trial in which very intimate detail of their lives has been put on full view and now they have to endure even more.
Read the full statement from JP’s lawyer here: