Testimony From Social Worker Under Scrutiny

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 107 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne


Testimony Phase – Graduating with a Bachelor in Social Work, Loren Humeny has been a social worker for ten years and is presently an Intake Investigative Social Worker for the Ministry of Children and Family Development based out of Chilliwack. The Bayne file was his responsibility in collaboration with his supervisor, so he was the author of the report presented to Court. Mr. Humeny was in court to give testimony one week ago on February 2, 2010. At the end of that Tuesday, the cross examination by Bayne lawyer Doug Christie was postponed until Tuesday, February 09, 2010, in order to accommodate the testimonies of Dr. Colbourne and Dr. Randall Alexander both of which took place last week. Yesterday, Tuesday February 9, 2010, Mr. Humeny was back in the witness box for the cross examination portion.

According to Mr. Humeny’s testimony, the child protection unit of VCH (possibly Ms. Glen and/or Dr. Colbourne) alerted his office concerning the injuries to Bethany Bayne in the autumn of 2007. His investigative process included reports by and/ or conversations with Dr. Colbourne; and Vancouver Children’s Hospital social worker, Adrienne Glen, who was a member of the child protection unit; and Pastor Michael Hoffman* and his wife Elizabeth; as well as members of the Bayne extended family and Zabeth and Paul. His primary information sources were Dr. Colbourne and Ms. Glen and he told the court Dr. Colbourne’s opinions, treatment and prognosis. In a meeting on October 31, 2007 Humeny and his supervisor met with Paul and Zabeth, Zabeth’s parents, Zabeth’s sister and her husband and Ruth Hunt (friend) to review what he termed non-accidental injuries based on the medical report. Humeny was assigned to author the application for the Court Order as well as the narrative that supported the application.

He was in attendance together with his supervisor when apprehending the three children initially. Bethany was in hospital from the 19th to the 25th of October 2007 and on October 25, 2007 Bethany was placed in a Chilliwack foster home. No visits to Bethany were allowed to the Baynes during those initial weeks. He spent time with Zabeth Bayne’s parents prior to leaving the boys there with the stipulation that Paul and Zabeth could not be alone with the children in that home. He had numerous conversations with Zabeth during these days and weeks. He looked into sources of ‘collateral’ information about the Baynes. In looking for potential foster/ care homes for the boys should the need arise, Marvin (Surrey Council member) and Ruth Hunt offered their home in August 2008. They are Bayne family friends.

Testimony under Cross Examination – There was discussion about the Risk Assessment of which he is the author. It includes statements against the Baynes by what Humeny calls half a dozen ‘collateral witnesses’ who cannot be disclosed presently. The Risk Assessment also included statements from caregivers of the three children, the medical history from Dr. Colbourne and Humeny’s own findings. When Doug Christie asked why page 35 of the Risk Assessment was left empty, it was learned that this page would have contained a summary of the parents’ strengths. Mr. Humeny chose not to include such comments as the parents’ dedication and love and commitment to their son Baden during his three month hospital stay due to premature birth, the commendations from their family doctor on their superior care of the boy during the at home care phase. Humeny did not include mention of the 350 visits that the Baynes have made to their children, and that they ask for more visitation opportunity. He did not include the mother’s piano teaching experience with children over several years. Still pressed about this omitted page, Mr. Humeny stated that he did not feel that he knew the parents. This didn’t wash with Christie because it was pointed out that Humeny had many meetings with the Baynes. He was reminded that countless letters were written to the Ministry by friends and family and professionals which spoke positively to Paul’s and Zabeth’s home, character, forms of discipline used, interactions with their children, their involvement with others socially and otherwise, and the perceptions of students about Zabeth’s professional instruction. Mr. Humeny acknowledged that he was aware of this mail but he did not read the correspondence saying he did not have the time for it. He had relied upon the ‘collateral witness’ data and when cross examined, admitted that he did not seek to verify the information given to him. It became clear that the support letters could have provided at least a balanced view of the Baynes if not call the ‘collateral witness’ data into question. Christie stressed that Humeny’s risk assessment was written so obviously from an adversarial position it might be deemed hostile. It might be argued that Humeny did the MCFD no favours on this day. Mr. Humeny’s testimony under cross recommences on Thursday at 9:30 AM at the Chilliwack Court House and you are encouraged to attend.

*The CBC News article entitle ‘Surrey Couple Challenge Shaken Baby Allegation’ published Thursday, January 14, 2010 | 2:51 PM PT is found here.

*That piece reported this. “But on Wednesday (January 13, 2010) the court heard from two witnesses who originally informed the court about their suspicions that the couple’s children were being abused. Pastor Michael Hoffman and his wife Elizabeth were in charge of a church in Hope and were friends with the couple at the time. Michael Hoffman advised police that based on psychology classes that he took at seminary that he believed the mother was suffering from post-partum depression and that she had Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy, an uncommon condition in which a person harms another in order to gain attention. The pastor’s wife testified that the two boys seemed small for their age and that the little girl started looking increasingly listless.”




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