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Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Discretion to Admit Evidence, Evidence, Recorded conversations
Judges:  McClelland J


Background: This is a case where the applicant mother secretly recorded the respondent father making threats of violence against the children. Counsel for the Applicant mother sought to tender these voice recordings and transcripts of these conversations, made without the father's consent, to the hearing. The recordings and transcript were only provided to the father's legal representatives less than a week prior to the commencement of the hearing. This did not comply with the pre-trial directions for the filing of evidence.  
 
  [Legal Issue]The Court found that the audio recordings fall within the exception contained in sub-section 7(3)(b) of the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW), as the recordings were reasonably necessary to protect the lawful interests of the mother. The Court also exercised its discretion to admit the audio recordings and transcripts into evidence. A certificate was issued to the mother pursuant to section 128 of the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth).   [Court Orders]The bulk of the audio recordings and the transcript of the audio recordings between the parties were accepted as evidence in the proceedings.     


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Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Allegations of Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Entrenched Parental Conflict, False Allegations of Child Abuse, Meaningful Relationship, Parental Disorders, Property, Psychological Disorders, Recorded conversations, Risk of Psychological Harm, Unacceptable Risk, Unsubstantiated Allegations, With whom a child lives with
Judges:  Hannam J


Background: The mother is 42 and the father is 43 years old. The parties commenced a relationship in 1999 when they were in their late twenties. The case involves competing claims of domestic violence and property dispute. In relation to parenting matters there are three significant factual disputes. First, the father contends that he was the victim of serious systematic violence perpetrated by the mother for most the relationship. The mother contends that it was the father who was violent towards her and that if she also engaged in violence, it was in response to the father’s antagonism. Second, the mother contends that the father and his (second) wife Mrs H abused the children after separation, which is denied by the father. Finally, it is central to the father and the ICL’s ca 
 
  [Legal Issue]No doubt in the majority of cases there will be a positive benefit to a child of having a significant relationship with both parents, but there will also be some cases where there will be no positive benefit to be derived by a child by a court attempting to craft orders to foster a relationship with one parent if this would not be in the child’s best interests. The ICL’s proposal is based to a large extent upon the recommendations of Dr K. In his report Dr K was of the view that the children should live with their father and he should have sole parental responsibility for them. He then said: After a significant period of time to allow the children to develop security and connection in their father’s home, it would be ideal for the children to maintain some time spent with the m   [Court Orders]The children shall live with their father, Mr Huffman (“the father” or “the husband”). The father shall have sole parental responsibility for the children. The children shall spend no time with their mother, Ms Gorman (“the mother” or “the wife”), for a period of 12 months from the date of these orders. Thereafter, the children shall spend supervised time with their mother each second month, at a supervised contact centre. The father shall do all acts and things neces     


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3: Thornton & Thornton [2015] FamCA 92 |
Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Allegations of Child Abuse, False Allegations of Child Abuse, Recorded conversations, Unacceptable Risk, Unsubstantiated Allegations
Judges:  Murphy J


Background: The parents of two girls, aged 10 and 6, engaged in failed financial negotiations after separation. Soon after these negotiations, the mother raised allegations of child sexual abuse by the father against their two female children. The children were medically examined but were found to have no physical indications of sexual abuse. The children were also found to have made inconsistent statements to police, family members and carers. The children also made conflicting statements as to their desire to see their father.  
 
  [Legal Issue]Where the mother alleges that the father had engaged in sexual misconduct against their two female children – Where relevant rules of evidence are excluded pursuant to s 69ZT of the Act – Where expertise need not be established as a result – Where the trial judge holds that the appropriate qualifications, training or experience of an expert is a significant factor in the attribution of weight. Where the evidence is insufficient to establish the risk as unacceptable.    [Court Orders]The mother has been handed sole parental responsibility for the girls. The father will be allowed to spend unsupervised time with the girls, aged 10 and 6, for up to half of each school holiday period, but the mother will make all major decisions about the girls. The Judge explained that the Sole Parental Responsibility Orders were to avoid conflict between the parents.      


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Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Allegations of Child Abuse, Discretion to Admit Evidence, Emotional Abuse, Recorded conversations
Judges:  Hannam J


Background: The mother is 42 years old and the father is 43 years old. The parties commenced a relationship in 1999 when they were in their late twenties. The case involves competing claims of domestic violence and alleged child abuse. To support his case, the father has submitted transcripts of recorded conversations between himself and the mother. These recordings were made covertly, without the knowledge of the mother.  
 
  [Legal Issue]At issue is the admissibility of transcripts of covertly recorded conversations made by the father, alleged to have captured various unguarded conversations between the mother and the father. The mother objected to the admission of the transcripts of audio recordings on the basis that the evidence was unlawfully obtained and was inadmissible. Both the father and the Independent Children’s Lawyer sought to have the evidence admitted and argued that even if it were prima facie inadmissible the court should exercise its discretion to admit it.   [Court Orders]The evidence, which refers to transcripts of recorded conversations in the father's affidavit in paragraphs 25, 128 to 150 and 235 filed on 23 September 2014, is admissible.      


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