I couldn’t help being disgusted by the story of the couple who had their baby taken away from them and saw it adopted after they were charged with child abuse – only to have charges against them dropped three years later. If ever there was a case of an appalling lack of justice this is it. Britain prides itself in having one of the most just and fairest justice systems in the world. Sadly a total lack of humanity displayed by Surrey social service department, medical staff and the justice system has totally failed this couple. Surrey County Council and the courts should move without any further delay to return the child to its rightful parents. Karrissa Cox and Richard Carter, of Guildford, faced assault charges after health staff found bruises on the baby and X-rays appeared to show fractures. The couple maintained their innocence for three years, but the adoption went ahead while the case continued against them. This is an appalling example of a council acting as judge, jury and executioner – prejudging the issue before it had been heard by the courts. It is also appalling on another level – how on earth can it possibly take three years for a case to get to court? This is no justice, it is a disgrace. If the government expects doctors to provide a 24/7 service to the public, it should also expect judges and barristers to get off their backsides and execute justice far more efficiently than they are presently doing – if it means evening and weekend courts, then so be it, after all, they’re paid enough. And doctors involved need a massive kick up their backsides as well!
In April 2012, the couple took their six-week-old baby to hospital after they spotted blood in the child’s mouth. But hospital staff noticed bruising and marks on the child’s body, and X-rays were carried out which a radiologist said showed healing fractures on the baby’s limbs. The injuries were considered to be non-accidental and the heartless bureaucratic machine swung into action. The child was first removed into foster care and then later adopted. During the court case, defence lawyers said the X-rays were consistent with rickets, and the bruising with von Willebrand’s disease.
Three weeks into the trial, the prosecution said one of their own medical experts could not be sure that X-rays showed fractures and therefore it would not be possible for a jury to reach a conclusion.
Why couldn’t this so-called medical expert say that three years ago?  I hope the couple sue him to hell and back and so he never gets the chance to ruin some other couple’s lives. They plan to appeal against their child’s adoption, but legal experts say it will be a long uphill struggle for them to get their own child back. If ever there was a case for David Cameron to personally intervene and get this case fast-tracked, this is it. Can you possibly imagine how terrible it must be, firstly to be wrongly accused of harming your own child and then see him or her permanently taken away from you without even the chance to clear your name in court before that decision is made? The council say they always put the interest of the child first in considering such cases, which is justifiable, but if that policy is taken to its illogical extreme conclusion, then every youngster with a bruise would be removed from their parents “just in case”. Why am I so incensed over this appalling case? Because the situation happened to me when my younger son was aged about four. His mother and I knew something was wrong with him when he would have screaming fits and became uncontrollable. One day we took him to the zoo and had a lovely day but he got overtired. He slept in the car on the way home but when we arrived he had one of his ‘turns’ and threw himself around the kitchen, hitting his face on a cupboard door handle and he too had blood in his mouth from the injury. I was given the third degree in hospital and it was a dreadful experience.  My son was eventually diagnosed as having an allergy to dairy products and some fruits but it took a long time to get to the bottom of the problem, like the Guildford couple with their baby. I wish them well in their battle to be reunited with their child and hopefully some lawyer with an interest in human rights will take on the case free of charge.
Last week acres of UK media time were given up to the news item of the century. Listening to it, anyone would have thought the entire nation was going to be turned upside down and impending disaster was about to happen. What was all the fuss about? The introduction of a 5p charge on plastic bags in supermarkets! This should have happened years ago, why England has followed limply behind other parts of the UK beats me, and of course we’ve had this here in Spain for the last five years, and nobody has lost any sleep over it! Imposing a 5p charge is fair enough, although I think it’s not enough money. But if we really want to have a cleaner world not filled with rubbish everywhere there is a much more productive answer. If you’re my age you will remember buying bottles of pop and on the label was a note which said if you returned the bottle the shopkeeper would give you 3d (that’s three old pence, worth just over one penny in today’s money). Tesco introduced a fantastic clean-up campaign a few years ago where people could earn the store’s green points by returning cans and plastic bottles, with one enterprising couple even paying for their wedding by touring the streets “Wombleing”.  It didn’t surprise me the initiative didn’t last long – it probably cost too much money for Tesco. So, why can’t the government get us all collecting and recycling rubbish by paying us to do it? At a stroke, instead of kids throwing their rubbish in parks, streets and the beach you would see them taking cans, bottles and bags back to depots to supplement their pocket money. It’s a win, win. Among all the puerile rubbish reported about the introduction of the 5p charge, one story stood out. A shopper was accosted by supermarket security staff and accused of theft after she used a basket to carry her groceries to her car to avoid paying the new 5p carrier bag charge. She had been shopping for her lunch at a Tesco Extra store and decided not to pay for a plastic bag as she had one in her car. However, as she walked out of the branch with her purchased shopping in the basket she was confronted by two guards who accused her of stealing. Another shopper filmed the incident in the shop’s car park – including the moment one guard grabbed her basket after accusing her of trying to steal it. The security workers explained to her that the new 5p charge for bags had seen a rise in the number of people using baskets to carry goods to their cars, with some taking them home. ‘I hadn’t even got to my car when the security guards chased me and then grabbed my basket and wouldn’t let go,’ she said. Apparently there have been many other similar incidents all because of the 5p bag charge. Is it rocket science to get people to keep a few re-usable bags in the boots of their cars and get them out when they go shopping? “Every little helps”, as Tesco might say if they used some common sense!

Isn’t it plan crazy that a 77-year-old man was allowed to drive a bus which ploughed into the front of a Coventry supermarket killing two people?  This is just plain crazy. The bus company said: “No driver we employ is allowed behind the wheel of our buses without us being satisfied that they are fully qualified, safe and meet all necessary legal requirements. In this case, our driver has many years’ experience and has also passed a mandatory annual medical.” The driver was a former mayor and from reports was an all-round good chap. That is all very well, but I challenge anyone to prove to me that someone aged 77 has as quick a reaction as someone say in his 40s. And can anyone suggest that a person aged 77 is as unlikely to suffer a sudden heart attack or stroke than someone aged 40?
People should not have their lives put at risk by a person aged 77 driving a public service vehicle.
Oh yes, it’s UK government policy to allow people to continue working beyond retirement age, but surely not in jobs such as bus, train or lorry drivers and other occupations where people can be put at increased risk.

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