Baby P social workers lose court appeal against their sacking

Pair could now take their appeal to the Supreme Court, and later the European Court of Human Rights

Two social workers sacked by Haringey council in the wake of the Baby Peter case have lost their court appeal against their dismissal.

Maria Ward, Baby Peter’s social worker, and Gillie Christou, her team manager, first appealed against an employment tribunal ruling, which in 2010 found they were fairly sacked after the 2007 tragedy.

The tribunal ruled against the pair, who argued they were unfairly dismissed by Haringey in reaction to public outrage following the death of 17-month-old Peter Connelly.

In May last year, both women appealed against the ruling but were unsuccessful. In August they were granted leave to appeal at the Court of Appeal, where they appeared last month.

It took judges Lord Justice Laws, Lord Justice Elias and Lord Justice McCombe three weeks to uphold the employment tribunal’s ruling.

If the women decide to take their appeal further, the next step would be the Supreme Court and, after that, the European Court of Human Rights. It is not yet clear whether they will continue to appeal.

Ward and Christou have been supported by former Haringey director of children’s services Sharon Shoesmith who was also sacked after the toddler’s death. Shoesmith won her own appeal against her dismissal in a landmark High Court ruling in 2011.

Peter Connelly was killed by his step-father Steven Barker and his brother Jason Owen in August 2007. In November 2008, Barker and Owen were convicted of causing or allowing the child’s death. Peter’s mother, Tracey Connelly, had already pleaded guilty to this charge.

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