Darlington Social Services had failed in its statutory duty

SOCIAL services bosses have been ordered to attend court today after they apparently failed to carry out assessments on a vulnerable 15-year-old boy.

An accusation that Darlington Social Services had failed in its statutory duty emerged at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Magistrates were due to hear a bail application for the Darlington boy who had been remanded into custody the previous Monday.

He is charged with kidnapping and sexually touching two 12-year-old boys, one of whom he allegedly assaulted occasioning actual bodily harm.

Paul Green, who represents the defendant, said social services had effectively denied his client of his legal right by failing to assess his suitability to be granted bail and demanded an explanation.

He told the court that he was putting social services on a warning notice and if they did not willingly come to court he would issue a witness summons forcing bosses to attend.

Mr Green said social services had been given seven days to assess the teenager – who is unable to stay with his parents – and come up with alternative proposals for him.

The court heard that foster parents would not be appropriate for the boy and that social workers would need 72 hours to assess him properly.

Mr Green told magistrates he was unwilling to adjourn for another three days so social workers could do what they were supposed to have already done.

Mr Green said: “This is a young man who is entitled to a bail application. In effect, that bail application cannot take place through no fault of the defence, through no fault of the Crown and through no fault of the young man downstairs.

That fault lies at the feet of social services.”

Ciaran Grogan, prosecuting, made an application to extend the boy’s remand in custody, which went unchallenged by Mr Green.

Magistrates ordered that relevant professionals attend court to provide an explanation.

The offences allegedly took place in Darlington on January 23 and 24. The boy has not entered any pleas.