Social worker defends failure to attend Climbie inquiry

The senior social worker who failed to attend the Victoria
Climbie inquiry told a court it was always her intention to give
evidence, reports David Brown.

Carole Baptiste has been accused of conducting a six-month
campaign of obstruction and non-cooperation with the inquiry. It
culminated in her failure to give evidence in December last year.
Baptiste, a former team leader at Haringey council, told Camberwell
magistrates court that: “It was always my intention to give

“The issue was really about my medical well-being and that I was
experiencing a lot of symptoms or adverse affects, that I wasn’t
clear about or I couldn’t remember things.”

Earlier her psychiatrist, Dr Irechukwu Azonye, told the court
that Baptiste had suffered a serious psychotic episode in January
2000. But he felt she was fit to give evidence in December last

He told the court; “I was unable to do as she requested – to say
that she was not fit to give evidence to the inquiry – because that
would have been dishonest.”

However Anthony Maden, a consultant forensic psychologist, said
she may well have been too unwell to give evidence. He described
coming away from one meeting with her and thinking “how on earth
did this woman ever cope as a social worker”.

Baptiste faces six months in jail and a £1,000 fine if
convicted. The case was adjourned until 27 August.

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