Child protection hearing adjourned

A court hearing mandated by legislation for the possible return of a newborn baby to a former Hope couple already fighting the B.C. children’s ministry for custody of three older children was abruptly adjourned last Thursday.

A court hearing mandated by legislation for the possible return of a newborn baby to a former Hope couple already fighting the B.C. children’s ministry for custody of three older children was abruptly adjourned last Thursday.

“I was prepared to argue a few points, but the ministry wanted it adjourned,” Zabeth Bayne said in a telephone interview Friday.

However, a ministry spokesperson said in an email Monday that in fact it was the judge who adjourned the hearing after receiving a report from the ministry director that included the circumstances that caused the removal, and an interim care plan.

“A copy of this is shared with the parents,” the spokesperson wrote. “It is the judge who makes the decision to adjourn a case.”

The Baynes could not be reached for comment by press time Monday.

But during the Friday interview, Zabeth said the Thursday hearing was adjourned for seven days without a request for an extension and without any ruling on who has custody of her infant son in the interim.

“There was no court ruling given … it was crazy,” she said. “I don’t understand. We’re left in limbo.”

Bayne also said she and her doula were “cut off” from talking to the pediatrician who is looking after the baby, born premature on Feb. 10 and removed by the ministry several hours later.

The ministry refused comment on the latest removal because the Baynes are already in a court case with the ministry involving three older children, who were removed after allegations were made that an infant daughter was shaken causing brain injury.

The Baynes claim an older brother, a toddler at the time, tripped and fell on top of his sister. The couple has enlisted the support of medical experts to back up their claim in court hearings over the past three years.

A ruling from Chilliwack provincial court judge Thomas Crabtree is expected by the Baynes sometime this month.