The natural parents of two children, aged under 10 and alleged to have been sexually abused in a family environment, have told the High Court they will not take steps before February next year to overturn an agreement for them to remain in care.
Ms Justice Marie Baker ruled that, in the meantime a risk assessment study by the Child and Family Agency, if necessary under the direction of the District Court, be carried out on the possibility of the children returning to their natural parents.
They will continue in the care of their foster parents, who applied to have the children made wards of court in a bid to block their being returned to the care of their natural parents.
Judge Baker was told yesterday that the Director of Public Prosecutions has decided not to bring any criminal prosecutions against the natural parents. She heard that an uncle of the children has been charged with serious offences.
Rosario Boyle SC, counsel for foster parents currently looking after the children, said the DPP’s decision was a new development in proceedings being heard by Judge Baker, who reserved a decision on whether or not the court’s wardship process was the appropriate way of dealing with the protection of the children.
Judge Baker adjourned generally the question of the appropriateness of the High Court’s wardship jurisdiction to deal with the care of the children. She said this meant the High Court would retain a residual supervisory jurisdiction with regard to the children.
On August 18, High Court president Mr Justice Peter Kelly, directed that the question of wardship jurisdiction be considered by another judge after he made reference to “disturbing evidence” about alleged sexual abuse and brutal treatment of the children.
He temporarily restrained the children being reunited with their parents and said the alleged sexual abuse and brutal treatment of the two children was the most disturbing evidence he had read in 20 years on the bench.
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