Sharon Shoesmith ‘compares her treatment to that of James Bulger’s murderers’
Sharon Shoesmith, the social services chief who was sacked over the Baby P scandal, compares her treatment to that of the killers of James Bulger in a legal challenge, it has been reported.
Mrs Shoesmith’s lawyer draws a parallel between Government intervention in the decision to dismiss her from her post at Haringey Council to that in the Bulger case.
He accuses Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary, of a similar “knee-jerk reaction” to the outcry over the social services failings in the run-up to the death of 17-month-old.
Mrs Shoesmith was head of children’s services in Haringey when Peter Connelly, later referred to in court as Baby P, died after abuse at the hands of his mother Tracey’s boyfriend Steven Barker, 33, and his brother Jason Owen, 37, in August 2007.
She was removed from her £130,000 a year post without compensation by Mr Balls last December after the schools inspector Ofsted highlighted failings in her department over the tragedy.
But she has now launched a series of legal actions including seeking a judicial review against the way in which she was sacked without compensation.
She claims that Mr Balls acted beyond his powers and that she was not given the chance to respond to the criticisms.
In a summary of the case her solicitor, Tony Child, likens Mr Balls’s actions to that of Michael Howard, the Conservative former Home Secretary, in the James Bulger case.
Mr Howard ordered that Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, the two boys convicted of James’s murder, should serve a minimum of 15 years but the House of Lords later overturned the decision.
Mr Child claims that, like Mr Howard, Mr Balls was swayed by the public revulsion over the case in making his decision.
In extracts of his legal submissions reported in the Daily Mail, he argues that the two cases have “strong parallels” adding: “The Secretary of State has fallen into the same error.”
“The Secretary of State in acting as he did, acted unlawfully in what seems to have been a knee-jerk reaction to press coverage,” he is quoted as saying.
Mrs Shoesmith’s judicial review application is due to be heard at the High Court next month.