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(Court of Appeal; Rix, Wilson and Stanley Burnton LJJ; 26 January 2011)
The father has been convicted of four serious offences involving indecent photographs of a child and attempting to procure an underage girl for sex. The father had served a prison sentence and underwent treatment. Expert reports said he had made significant progress but he remained on the sex offenders register. The mother subsequently discovered she was pregnant.
As there was expert evidence that the father posed a low risk to his own daughter and that with further work it might be possible for the family to live together, the judge had been wrong to make a full care order at the stage that she did. She had proceeded by reference to a level of risk that was unsupported by expert evidence and refused further expert assistance that could have been obtained without significant detriment to the child. In the context of both Art 8 and Children Act 1989, s 1, her decision had to be one of last resort.
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