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(Court of Appeal, Richards, Sullivan, McFarlane LJJ, 11 September 2012)
Care proceedings were initiated in relation to four children, all under the age of 3. The 11-month-old girl presented at hospital with injuries consistent with serious sexual abuse. The mother and father were the only possible perpetrators and they remained together after the children were removed from their care. The family had a history of domestic violence and the father was previously accused of the assault of an older child.
The parents initially had supervised contact on an interim basis pending the conclusion of the fact-finding hearing but at the local authority's request an order for no interim contact was made and renewed 2 weeks later. The parents appealed.
Allowing the appeal; discharging the s 34(4) directions. The judge had allowed himself to predetermine the issues of the fact-finding hearing that were not before him.
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