Couple loses baby after using stuffed lion as lawyer

A stuffed lion.
A stuffed lion. Photo credit: Getty

An extremist Christian couple in Canada have lost custody of their daughter after a bizarre trial in which they presented a stuffed lion as their lawyer.

The unnamed British Columbia couple had been banned from a number of churches for trying to "purge" them of "evil influences", reports the Vancouver Sun.

Authorities removed their daughter when she was only a month old after they refused any medical tests, vaccinations or a vitamin K shot. There had also been reports of family violence, and the mother once told a social worker her husband believed children should be encouraged to have sexual relations.

After the daughter was taken into state care, her mother tried to have her name changed to Jesus Joyofthelord, the Vancouver Sun reported. She tried to have her own name changed to Risen Lord Jesus Christ. 

The couple refused legal aid when the case came to trial, saying Jesus Christ was their "lawyer, witness and judge", and he was speaking to them in the form of a stuffed toy lion.

They lost the case, but appealed on the basis they had freedom as "Christian parents" to raise their child however they wanted.

Justice Diane MacDonald disagreed.

"The parents obviously love their child and wish to raise her in their home with their Christian values," she said, upholding the original ruling.

"It is clear that there was sufficient evidence before the trial judge to allow him to come to the conclusion that a continuing custody order was warranted in the circumstances."

She said the parents' extreme religious beliefs had nothing to do with the court's decision - instead citing the mother's reports of domestic violence, her refusal to get proper health care for her infant, her mental state and both parents' refusal to accept assistance from anyone - including their own family or doctors.

It's expected the young girl will be placed up for adoption.