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Baby Peter social workers claim unfair dismissal

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Two of the social workers who worked on the tragic case involving baby commenced legal action for unfair dismissal this week.

Baby Peter died in August 2007, aged seventeen months, as a result of terrible abuse at the hands of his mother Tracey Connolly, her neo-Nazi boyfriend Steven Barker, and Barker's brother Jason Owen.

In the eight months before his death, he received 60 visits from Haringey social workers and was placed on the council's child protection register.

Following his death, then head of Haringey children services Sharon Shoesmith oversaw an inquiry into the conduct of Peter's social workers Gillie Christou and Maria Ward.

The pair initially escaped dismissal in May 2008, but six months later Ms Shoesmith was herself sacked, which led to a second inquiry in April 2009.

After the second inquiry, the council opted to dismiss the pair for "gross misconduct".

Haringey Council Assistant Chief Executive Stuart Young has described the initial inquiry by Ms Shoesmith as "deeply flawed"; whilst Ms Christou and Ms Ward claim that the local authority sacked them solely because of "political and media pressure" and as such their dismissal was unfair. "Heads had to roll -- regardless, I suggest, of the evidence," said their legal counsel Nick Toms.

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