Have I missed something, has Paul Worthington been found guilty of sexually assaulting his daughter before she died by a criminal court? As far as I am aware, he has not but reading the papers this morning you would be forgiven for thinking he has.
There are many articles surrounding this story and the allegations are horrendous but do we not remain in a world where each and every one of us is innocent until proven guilty, and the test for guilt remains beyond reasonable doubt?
We read that, in the Family Court, Mr Justice Peter Jackson decided within care proceedings relating to Mr Worthington's other children that, on a balance of probabilities, he more likely than not committed the sexual assault. This is very different and is part of the evidence before the Judge who is to decide whether Mr Worthington's other children are at risk of harm (in general) if within his care. The proceedings are not to determine his guilt per se.
If this man is guilty, he disgusts me and I truly hope he gets what he deserves but I think we need to be careful of assigning guilt too quickly. Everyone is entitle to a fair trial by a criminal court. Our family courts are there to protect where necessary, not to assign guilt. As a result the burden of proof is much lower, and rightly so to protect our most vulnerable. However, if we too readily qualify this as guilt we run the risk of almost as unpalatable miscarriages of justice.
The father of Poppi Worthington, who was named by a judge as having sexually assaulted his daughter before she died, has received £117,000 in legal aid for care proceedings relating to his other children