B.C. mom asks court to halt government-ordered review of child abuse case

VANCOUVER — A British Columbia mother is waging a court battle to halt a government-ordered review of a case in which her estranged husband was allowed unsupervised visits despite sexually abusing their children.

The mother, identified only as J.P. in court documents, has filed a petition that will be heard in B.C. Supreme Court today.

The B.C. government asked former civil servant Bob Plecas to review the case after a judge ruled social workers knowingly violated a court order banning the father from unsupervised visits.

At the same time, the government is appealing the blistering ruling from B.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Walker, who found the province liable for social workers' failure to protect the children.

The mother's petition asks the court to stop the review until after the appeal process is over and ensure that Plecas cannot challenge any of Walker's factual or legal conclusions.

Her lawyer Jack Hittrich says the review is an abuse of process because the judge already determined the mistakes made by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

"At the end of the day, it's impossible for Plecas to do what he's been asked to do without reviewing the very same areas that Walker did," Hittrich said.

In a reply to the petition, the ministry says the review is not intended to "re-try" the court case but to examine policy and practice and provide recommendations where there are gaps.

The mother also filed a complaint with B.C.'s privacy commissioner, who ruled the ministry didn't break any rules when it shared the family's files with employees involved in the review.

Plecas was supposed to submit his report by Oct. 13, but his work has been delayed by the mother's complaints to the commissioner and the court.

The Canadian Press

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