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Shoesmith can appeal sacking ruling

Sharon Shoesmith has been granted leave to appeal against a High Court ruling that upheld her sacking after the Baby P tragedy.

In April she lost the first round of a legal battle to overturn her dismissal as director of children's services at Haringey Council in north London.

But Mr Justice Foskett has ruled that she can challenge his judgment in the Court of Appeal - and ordered that Ms Shoesmith should pay only a fraction of the legal costs incurred in the case.

Ms Shoesmith, 57, brought a High Court challenge against Haringey Council, regulator Ofsted and former children's secretary Ed Balls over her sacking from her £130,000-a-year job in December 2008.

She said her career had been ruined by a media witch-hunt, political pressure and a "flagrant breach of the rules of natural justice".

Mr Justice Foskett said in his earlier ruling that the evidence before him was not strong enough to back her claims that she was made a scapegoat after the death of Baby P, now named as Peter Connelly.

But he said it was "by no means fanciful" that the Court of Appeal could differ from his view.

The judge said Ms Shoesmith could appeal against his decisions relating to Mr Balls and Haringey, although she will have to seek permission from the Court of Appeal before attempting to overturn his ruling in Ofsted's case.

Peter was just 17 months old when he died in August 2007 at the hands of his mother Tracey Connelly, her lover Steven Barker and their lodger, Barker's brother Jason Owen. The little boy had suffered 50 injuries despite receiving 60 visits from social workers, doctors and police over the final eight months of his life.

A series of reviews identified missed opportunities when officials could have saved his life if they had acted properly on the warning signs in front of them. Ms Shoesmith was sacked after a damning Ofsted report into failings in her department exposed by Peter's death.


From Belfast Telegraph