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Jailed mum would do it all again

Jailed mum would do it all again

The Daily Telegraph
11 July 2007

Jailed mum would do it all again
By Janet Fife-Yeomans

A mother who went to jail in a tug-of-love row with her ex-partner was quickly reunited with her son and daughter after her release from prison. As she hugged her young children yesterday, the mother - who made legal history - told The Daily Telegraph that she would do it all again.

I would but it's not easy,the woman, who cannot be identified, said.

I'm just giving them as much love as I can.

She was jailed in March by the Federal Magistrates' Court after refusing to allow her ex-partner access to their children, a boy, 8, and girl, 6.

She was already on a good behaviour bond for defying court orders when Magistrate Michael Jarrett, sitting in Lismore, took the rare step of jailing her for four months.

In May, the Full Bench of the Family Court, made up of three judges, halved her four-month sentence and released her immediately from jail.

Lawyers expect the judgment, yet to be published, to set fresh guidelines, raising the bar for the jailing of parents who contravene court orders.

In jail for two months, the mother received support from fellow inmates, who praised her for being gutsy in standing up for her children and baked her a 31st birthday cake.

Yesterday she revealed how she got through with prayer and believing she had done the right thing.

It was very rough, she said of the first night in a cell, with her children ordered by the court to live with their father.

Our families are the most important assets our country has and we need to keep them together. They had never lived with their father since we separated. Refused Legal Aid, the woman organised an appeal from her cell with financial help from family.

She said her children were extremely confused after the court ordered the father to return the children to their mother the day after she got out of jail.

'What can I say? They've had a really hard time of it," she said.

Our children are precious but they are treated like slabs of meat by the courts in many cases and it's very sad.

Steven Tester, the solicitor for the woman's ex-partner, said the children had "a ball" living with their father.

Court orders have now restricted the father's access to six hours a month.

What is done for you, let it be done, what you must do, be sure you do it, as the wise person does today that what the fool will do in three days - Buddha
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This article was also reported in the News section of this site.

Also see:

Dobbs and Brayson (2007) FLC 93-346 Successful appeal against orders of a Federal Magistrate

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