13 Nov 2008

Affidavit potentially misleading - CYF social worker

3:54 pm on 13 November 2008

A Child, Youth and Family social worker has conceded that an affidavit used to take a boy from his home could be interpreted as misleading - but if so, it was not deliberate.

Auckland woman Louise Martin and her separated husband Craig are seeking damages from the agency after their four-month-old baby Patrick died while in its care in 2002.

They allege affidavits from two social workers were misleading and inaccurate.

One of the workers, Mark Postow, has given evidence at a civil hearing at Auckland District Court, saying he acted on information that Ms Martin shook her baby.

He noted in his affidavit that the couple refused to sign a temporary care arrangement, but admitted that he could have added that he was never able to raise the matter with Mr Martin.

Mr Postow has also contradicted other evidence from the Martins.

He said he believed he did the right thing in taking the baby, and would do the same again.

Ms Martin claims she blew out of proportion a call to her husband that she violently shook the infant, who then called Maternal Mental Health Services.

She and Mr Martin are seeking damages for the psychological affects they say they have suffered.

Their son died after just two weeks in foster care, in May 2002, but a coroner later cleared the agency.

Lawyers for Child, Youth and Family say the agency had the infant's best interests in mind, and it has evidence from a psychiatrist that the Martins have not suffered post-traumatic stress disorder.