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Australian Judge jails mother for refusing to comply with access court order.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on March 30, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Australian Judge jails mother for refusing to comply with access court order.
Thursday, 29.03.2007, 10:19am (GMT12)

March 29, 2007 12:00

A MOTHER-of-two is behind bars for defying court orders in a tug-of-love fight with her ex-partner.

In what family law experts said was a rare case, the woman, 31, was  given a heartbreaking choice by the Federal Magistrates’ Court – let the father see his children or go to jail.

Magistrate Michael Jarrett adjourned the case for 15 minutes but  when he returned to the bench, the woman, already on a good behaviour bond for refusing access to her ex-partner, remained unrepentant.

Mr Jarrett, sitting at Lismore in northern NSW, took the rare step of jailing her for four months.

She was last night in Grafton Jail and her children, a girl aged six and a boy aged eight, were with their father, 41, who was granted full custody.

Her new husband yesterday told The Daily Telegraph yesterday his wife was distraught.
 
“She has been crying,” he said. 

The families cannot be identified.

The father’s solicitor, Steven Tester, said the magistrate had no choice after the mother refused a lifeline.

“No one wanted to see the mother go to jail. The point of these kinds of cases is that there are laws in place and they apply to everyone, Compliance is not optional,” Mr Tester said.

“The Family Court heard evidence and allowed the father to have unsupervised access to his children.

“Despite the mother being warned about the likely result of her not complying with the order, she took matters into her own hands.

“The result is regrettable but ultimately it was the mother’s choice.”
 
Family law expert Michael Taussig QC said it was an extreme case.
 
“They are highly emotional cases and it has to be a blatant and flagrant breach of court orders before a magistrate will consider jail,” Mr Taussig said.
 
It was the culmination of six years and 22 Family Court and Federal Magistrates’ Court hearings since the couple split when the woman was a few weeks pregnant with their second child.

Her claim that her children would be in danger from their father, who has a number of criminal convictions, was rejected by the Family Court.

In December she was placed on a good behaviour bond by the Federal Magistrates’ Court after she refused to allow supervised visits by the father and hid with the children for six months.

 Her new husband said she intended to appeal and was preparing the case herself after being refused Legal Aid.

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