Belfast Telegraph

Sacked carer wins High Court challenge

BY ALAN ERWIN

A sacked care worker has won a High Court challenge over being categorised as posing a risk to children.

The finding was quashed after judicial review proceedings were issued against the Health and Social Services Trust, who decided he was a threat.

The man, who cannot be identified, is now expected to sue for damages.

He had previously worked for a private sector firm who helped deal with troubled youngsters in residential care units. But after three children alleged inappropriate contact he was suspended from his duties.

Although his employer found the claims to be unsubstantiated and unsupported by evidence, his case went to a sharing-to-safeguard meeting.

Following that process it was decided that he posed a risk to children.

The Northern Ireland Social Care Counsel also examined his case and found the evidence against him could not be relied on.

Despite its conclusion, he was dismissed by his employers in May 2011, based on the sharing-to-safeguard decision.

Following out-of-court discussions on the second day of the case, the parties agreed on a draft order to quash the decision. However, the outcome does not mean he will get his job back.

Mr Justice Horner was told the case is now set to be converted into an action for damages.

Before rising, the judge referred to issues in how the authorities deal with those convicted of no offences and entitled to be treated as innocent.

He said: "There's a difficulty in lumping offenders and non-offenders together."

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