A child who was abducted by his mother and taken to Europe will live with his father full time in Australia — and spend no time with his mother.
When the boy was three, the mother became convinced the father had sexually abused the boy and feared he had involved him in a pedophile ring. She secreted him to Europe for 2½ years, where his father found him in September 2010. The boy and his father returned to Australia in January 2011. The mother was extradited to Australia two months later.
The mother has since been convicted in the NSW District Court of taking the child, now nine, out of Australia. She faces a jail term of up to three years.
Family Court judge Garry Watts said he accepted the mother “unshakably and implacably” believed the boy was sexually abused by his father, but he found the mother suffered from a psychotic illness and sometimes was deliberately untruthful.
“Placing the child with his mother in circumstances where there is no short or medium-term prospect that the mother will gain the insight to seek treatment for that disorder is in fact a highly risky position into which to place the child,” he said, adding a court would not grant custody or access to a child if doing so would expose the child to “unacceptable risk” of sexual abuse.
“The decision about whether or not there is a risk and, if so, whether that risk is unacceptable, cannot be made lightly and can only be made after substantial consideration of the facts in a particular case,” he said.
Justice Gary Watts found there was no unacceptable risk the father had sexually abused the child or that he had been involved in a pedophile group. He ordered the boy live with his father, and have only phone or Skype contact with his mother, when the child requested to do so. A photo of the mother was to be prominently placed in the boy’s bedroom.
Justice Watts said the road back to the mother having a relationship with her son was for her to seek treatment for her mental illness. “I understand the mother will not be able to accept my findings at this time and that she believes I fit into a profile of judges which she thinks exist in the Family Court, who brand as ‘mad’ mothers who make sexual-abuse allegations against fathers of their children,” he said.
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