On an application for contact there was no flaw in the judge's conduct of the trial before him or in his judgment and reasons. The judge carefully recorded the relevant evidence, made clear findings of fact, and reached a carefully reasoned conclusion that was fully open to him on the evidence.Father's appeal against the dismissal of his application for contact with his daughter ('R'). The parents married in 1996 and R was born in 1997. After the parents separated the father had regular staying contact on alternate weekends and additional contact by agreement. Concerns were raised however when soreness was noticed by the mother in R's genital region and R soon after described incidents which amounted to allegations that the father had sexually abused her. Contact was accordingly withdrawn by the mother and investigations commenced. The police were informed but no criminal proceedings were launched against the father. R was examined by a paediatrician who concluded that the history was highly suggestive of sexual abuse. The paediatrician found that there was no diagnostic signs of abuse, but concluded that the soreness to R's genital region was more likely to have been caused by sexual abuse rather than by hygiene reasons. The father applied for contact to be resumed and that application was before the judge who heard the evidence of the paediatrician, the parents and grandparents. The judge found that it was more likely than not that R had been abused and that the father had inflicted such abuse. He accordingly dismissed the father's application. The father appealed from that decision on the grounds that the paediatrician based his conclusions mainly upon the history which he considered had suggested abuse, and that it was his evidence that there was no diagnostic evidence of abuse. It was the father's case that the mother and her parents had made up the allegations as they were jealous of his relationship with R.HELD: (1) A factor that the judge considered as important was that the father had stated that he had on occasions bathed with R in the same bath and had allowed her to sleep in his bed with him. What was prudent for a united family to have done might well have been different from that of a single father with staying contact. Sensible but not excessive precautions were required to minimise the risk that suspicions or mistaken conclusions developed which lead to a trial of issues which were always distressing to the family involved. (2) There was no flaw anywhere in the judge's conduct of the trial before him or in his judgment and reasons. The judge carefully recorded the relevant evidence, made clear findings of fact, and reached a carefully reasoned conclusion that was fully open to him on the evidence.Appeal dismissed.
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