Guildford couple's child adoption complaint rejected

Karrissa Cox and Richard Carter
Image caption Karrissa Cox and Richard Carter challenged a family court ruling

A couple forced to give their baby up for adoption, even after being cleared of abuse, did not suffer a miscarriage of justice, a judge has ruled.

Karrissa Cox and Richard Carter, from Guildford, had challenged a family court ruling that criticised them and backed the baby's adoption.

They claimed they had been treated as "guilty until proven innocent".

However, Judge Sir James Munby said their child had been the victim of "really serious" abuse and "cruelty".

Ms Cox and Mr Carter lodged a legal challenge in 2015, vowing to clear their names.

But after reviewing the evidence of that hearing, Sir James said the family court "process" overseen by Judge Peter Nathan had been vindicated and neither the parents, nor their child, had suffered a miscarriage of justice.

The baby, who cannot be identified, was taken away from Ms Cox and Mr Carter, a former soldier, who served in Afghanistan, in 2012 when it was just six weeks old.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The judge backed Surrey County Council's intervention, which resulted in the baby being adopted

The couple were charged with child cruelty after hospital staff found a number of bruises and what appeared to be bone fractures.

But they were acquitted on the direction of the judge at Guildford Crown Court after an expert witness said he could not be sure the X-rays showed fractures.

The baby was subsequently adopted and the parents - who have since separated - dropped their demand to have the child back during the course of Sir James's review.

In his ruling, Sir James, former president of the Family Division of the High Court, backed the judge who had overseen the earlier hearing.

He said the couple carried a "high measure of responsibility" for "serious parental failures".

Sir James said that during the first few weeks of its life, the child had suffered an "extraordinary constellation" of "inflicted injuries for which there is no innocent explanation".

In his ruling, he said the "constellation of marks and bruises... were inflicted by one or other or both of the birth parents... using unreasonable force".

Mr Carter did not attend and was not represented at court for the judgement. Ms Cox's barrister has not responded to BBC approaches for comment.

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