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Judge returns baby to exorcism grandma
5:10pm Sunday 16th September 2012 in News
A judge has overturned a Watford court’s decision to remove a baby from her grandmother’s care after she had her daughter exorcised.
Last month Judge Farooq Ahmed, at Watford County Court, ordered the infant's removal from her grandmother's home, saying it would be "deeply unsafe" to leave her there.
Hertfordshire social workers had expressed concerns over the devout Christian grandmother's mental health after learning of she had her daughter exorcised by church elders fearing she was "possessed by demons" .
However, Lord Justice McFarlane, sitting at London's Civil Appeal Court, has now ruled that was an over-reaction and put the family back together again.
The judge said the grandmother was the girl's primary carer, due to the fragile mental health of the child’s mother, and had done her best to raise her in a loving environment.
Judge Farooq Ahmed had based his decision to order the girl's removal on an episode three years ago - two years before the child’s birth - in which the grandmother spoke of her own daughter being possessed by demons.
She had called in elders of the church where she worships who performed an exorcism before contacting health professionals. Judge Ahmed said he was "very concerned" that the woman might come to think her baby granddaughter was also "possessed" and "do something to the baby to remove the demons".
However the family’s lawyers argued that the judge’s finding that the grandmother posed a risk to the child were "speculative" and should be overruled.
Lord Justice McFarlane, sitting with Lord Justice Ward, said the normally careful judge had gone too far when he ordered the girl’s removal. There was no clear evidence that the grandmother had actually experienced hallucinations when she expressed fears about her daughter’s demons, he said.