SADS006 Argus - 10-Jul-09 Alison CRIDLAND
Sussex couple lose battle to stop daughter's adoption3:00pm Friday
10th July 2009
By Alison Cridland »
A couple whose daughter was taken into care more than two years ago after she witnessed their belligerent confrontations with police and teachers have failed in a final court bid to prevent her being adopted.
Three appeal judges in London held that any improvement in the parents' insight into their own attitudes was "too little and too late" to give them the chance of trying to overturn an adoption placement order.
The 32-year-old father and his wife, 43, who live in Hailsham were refused permission to appeal against orders granted to East Sussex County Council by a judge at Brighton County Court.
The Court of Appeal was told that the bitterly contested case had involved no fewer than 73 hearings.
Alison Ball QC, for the mother, said that chaotic and unsanitary conditions found at the couple's home by police during a heated and confrontational incident in April 2007, during which the girl saw her father handcuffed, were not typical.
They were good parents, she said, and their daughter, now aged seven, had been happy at home and there was no question of her having been harmed in any way.
Yet, at the age of five, she was taken away from them within hours of the incident, had remained in foster care ever since and was now up for adoption.
Miss Ball claimed the parents, whose immediate reaction was that their precious child had been kidnapped, were not given a proper chance to disprove a finding that they put their own interests before the welfare of their child.
The father admitted he had "lost it" on occasions - including the confrontation with the police and an incident at their daughter's school - and the mother was now willing to undergo a psychological assessment of her abilities as a parent.
Miss Ball urged Lord Justice Thorpe, Lord Justice Longmore and Mr Justice Bodey to cancel the adoption placement and make a further interim care order pending an assessment of the parents.
But Mr Justice Bodey, giving the court's judgment, said that, "sadly for the parents", there were no grounds for challenging the county court judge's finding that the girl was at risk of psychological harm
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