The lawyer representing former Haringey social worker Carole
Baptiste, who was fined for failing to attend the Victoria Climbie
inquiry, has attacked the decision to convict her and warned that
she may appeal, writes Sally Gillen.
Peter Herbert said the guilty verdict had been reached because
Baptiste had “become a repository for all the frustrations felt by
He added that failures by Haringey council and the NSPCC to
provide documentation to the inquiry had caused problems, but no
individual from those organisations had faced the same action as
“Haringey collectively ‘disappeared’ quite a few documents, and
the NSPCC altered records on the Climbie family. These are major
institutions. But it is an individual that has been hauled over the
coals,” said Herbert.
He said that Baptiste, who was fined £500 at Camberwell
Green magistrates court after judge Hayden Gott decided that she
had recovered from her mental illness sufficiently to appear at the
inquiry, had “definite grounds for appeal”, and was also
considering her career options.
“At the moment there is still a lot she has to contribute in
terms of the voluntary sector. But it is highly likely that if you
convict someone in this way you are ruining their chances of coming
back. She is considering all the possibilities, but all this makes
it harder,” he said.