Page last updated at 17:11 GMT, Thursday, 2 November 2006

Judge lifts family reporting ban

The Websters said they are victims of a miscarriage of justice

A High Court judge has lifted a court order hiding the identity of a Norfolk couple at the centre of a battle with the county council over their children.

Nicola and Mark Webster, previously referred to as Hardingham, are trying to save a fourth child from adoption as three others have been taken from them.

This followed allegations one or more of them had been physically abused - accusations denied by the couple.

The future of their fourth child will be decided in court on Friday.

Bone disease

The proceedings can now be reported by the media following the landmark ruling in the High Court which overturned the restrictions.

The decision followed a legal battle by the BBC programme Real Story to report the parents' story.

The action was supported by the parents themselves and the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

Lifting the order, Mr Justice Munby said: "If, as the parents allege, they have lost three children and stand at risk of losing a fourth due to deficiencies in the system, then there is a pressing need for the true facts to be exposed.

"If, on the other hand, the parents are wrong, and the system has performed conscientiously, competently and correctly, then it is equally highly desirable that this should be known and publicised."

All the care proceedings are based on allegations that the children had been physically abused by the parents.

The couple said a fracture suffered by one of the children was caused by brittle bone disease which they claim runs in the family.

Real Story has broadcast two programmes on the case and now plans a third following Thursday's decision.

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