Court told of obese children put in care
A judge yesterday criticised prosecutors for bringing a child neglect case against a mother whose "significantly obese" children were taken into care by social workers, and asked if the case would serve any purpose.
Judge Graham Cottle said he was unsure why the case was brought to court when the two young alleged victims were said to have been doing well since they had been taken into foster care.
Prosecutor Philip Lee said the case – involving brothers of school age, said to have been "too old for adoption" – was a "shocking case of neglect", with the boys suffering "serious physical threat".
He said: "She didn't hurt them in any way, she was just not very good at looking after them."
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The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies two charges of cruelty to a person under 16 years, over a two-and-a-half-year period to 2010.
Mr Lee told Truro Crown Court the boys were "significantly obese" before they were taken into care.
He said: "This is the worst case that has been seen by many of those involved."
Defending, Jo Martin said the mother said she had "done her best in difficult circumstances", and that she now sees her children only five times a year.
Judge Cottle said he agreed that the mother was "very poor at looking after those children", but added: "I don't know what purpose [criminal prosecution] serves.
"The matter has been resolved as far as the care of the children is concerned. If my suggestions fall on stony ground, so be it. [A trial] will take up four days of valuable court time."
The judge also hit out at social services, saying: "They were somewhat slow off the mark – and that [description] might be on the charitable side."
The mother was released on bail to appear at her trial, listed for April 2013.