A former Haringey social worker who ignored a
summons requesting her presence at the Victoria Climbie inquiry
appeared in court last week charged with failure to attend.
Baptiste, who was responsible for supervising Victoria’s allocated
worker Lisa Arthurworrey, had failed to give evidence to the
inquiry for seven months, behaviour that amounted to “obstruction,
obfuscation and non-co-operation,” the court heard.
defence counsel Peter Herbert argued that Baptiste had been unable
to attend the inquiry because she was suffering from mental
Brian Altman, prosecuting, said Baptiste had failed to provide a
medical certificate to support her claim that she was mentally
unwell and unable to attend the inquiry.
summonses ordering her appearance had failed because Baptiste could
not be found at any of the addresses she had provided.
third was hand-delivered to her by an official who had tracked her
down to a hospital, where she was waiting for an appointment with
her psychiatrist, the week before she was due to give evidence on 3
December last year.
said Altman, Baptiste had refused to accept the summons and had
jumped up from her seat and shouted: “I have told you people
before. I don’t want anything to do with it.” At this point in the
court proceedings Baptiste interrupted shouting “that’s not true”
and was asked to be quiet.
court heard that her doctor, Ikechukwu Azuonye, had informed the
inquiry team that she was “fit and well and able to give evidence ”
less than a month before she was due to appear at the
Questioned by Altman, Azuonye
said that he had discussed with Baptiste his view that she was able
to give evidence and she “accepted that she could give evidence but
expressed anxiety about it”.
prescribed two lots of anti-anxiety medication, one of which was
Diazepam, but she failed to attend the inquiry on the due date and
eventually gave evidence the following January.
Baptiste pleaded not guilty at
Camberwell magistrates court. The offence carries a six month
prison sentence and a £1,000 fine, or both.
case was adjourned until 15 August and Baptiste was released on