Posted by Patrick Hart, Partner
On 1 September 2016 Withy King LLP merged with Royds LLP. The trading name for the merged firm is Royds Withy King. All content produced prior to this date will remain in the name of the firms pre-merger.
Vindicated parents seek the return of their adopted child
Campaigners are calling for a change in the law after a couple whose baby was taken away and adopted were cleared of child abuse.
The parents, Karrissa Cox and Richard Carter, were exonerated at Guildford Crown Court of causing any injury to their six-week old baby, three years after the baby was taken from them. The couple are now to seek the return of their child.
They said: “We took our child to the hospital seeking help and they stole our baby from us.”
The couple, both 25, had taken the youngster to be seen by doctors at Royal Surrey County Hospital after discovering bleeding in the mouth following a feed.
But when hospital staff noticed bruising and marks on the baby’s body, an X-ray was carried out that showed what were thought to be fractures.
A few days later the couple were charged with child cruelty and their baby was taken into care.
Ms Cox and her fiancé maintained their innocence and were finally cleared last week when a criminal case against them collapsed after new medical evidence showed there were no signs of abuse.
Defence lawyers argued the X-rays were consistent with rickets and it was later discovered that the child had a vitamin D deficiency, which causes infantile rickets.
The baby was also suffering from the blood disorder Von Willebrand II, which causes someone to bruise more easily.
Michael Turner QC, defending, said: “These innocent parents have been spared a criminal conviction and a prison sentence for a crime they never committed. Their life sentence is that they are likely never to see their baby again.”
The couple plan to appeal the adoption order and say that if their appeal proves unsuccessful because of the current laws, they will try to persuade politicians to pass new legislation which takes account of circumstances such as their own.
Labour’s shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer said changes need to be made.
He said: “There’s a problem which is that the criminal case took place quite a long time after the main hearing in the family case.
“You would want them to be heard closely together so that if one case threw light on the other, both courts would have the same degree of information before coming to their different conclusions.”
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