John Foy QC, for the authority, told the court of appeal: "It's not disputed that the mother administered a noxious thing, it could be described as a destructive thing, to her daughter and it inflicted grievous bodily harm on her. The child was born with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder... We say it's on all fours with manslaughter."
This is not a question of whether or not the mother has harmed her child, she has - even if it was unintentional. But does this constitute a criminal act and can the child be counted a legal individual in the eyes of the law when the injury was sustained.
In this particular case it is vital to take into account that by the time the mother in this case became pregnant she was addicted to alcohol. According to John Foy QC: "She explicitly discussed with her social worker on two occasions the dangers of drinking excessively."
Discussing your high alcohol intake with your social worker twice hardly constitutes undergoing a 12 step programme.
Neil Sugarman who represents the local council alarming said that the case is: "simply about proving that if there was recklessness and it has resulted in damage, the child is then entitled to an award which will improve their lives"
There is little mention of whether the mother received the care and support that might have enabled her to cope with her addiction. The case is not about why this woman was failed by the maternity system. Rather it is more in favour of framing her alcoholism as a malicious act.
As Beverly Turner wrote in the Telegraph: "The failure lies with an under-funded maternity system which offers patchy support for women. One-to-one midwifery is globally accepted as the best way to care for pregnant women but is almost non-existent on the NHS. If this woman had one dedicated midwife, she would at least have been somebody's responsibility...
I'm not absolving her of responsibilty. But we simply cannot leave women like this to struggle-on alone and then turn on them when the outcome becomes problematic."
We should be concentrating on how we support pregnant women, not criminalising them and hoping for a positive outcome.