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Man took son to see grandma ends in court

Man took son to see grandma ends in court
15:20 AEST Tue Aug 11 2009

Reference source: NineMSN

Quote: Legal Aid solicitor Anne Roy, representing the father, said her client had an agreement with the mother to have custody of his son on Sundays and Tuesdays. The defendant's mother was visiting Sydney from interstate and was keen to spend time with the boy, Ms Roy said. On Sunday, however, the child's mother had denied the father access to the boy, claiming he had shown up smelling like alcohol on a previous visit.

A Sydney man charged with assaulting his ex-partner while collecting their young son denies he was violent and says he just wanted his child to see his grandmother, a court has been told.
The 33-year-old Bondi man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, took his 23-month-old son from his ex-partner's Kingsford home on Sunday, sparking a desperate search.

The child was returned unharmed late on Monday, at which time the father was charged with assaulting the child's mother and refused bail.

On Tuesday he faced Waverley Local Court, where police documents alleged he had repeatedly kicked, punched and headbutted his former de facto wife during a dispute over the child on Sunday.

Legal Aid solicitor Anne Roy, representing the father, said her client had an agreement with the mother to have custody of his son on Sundays and Tuesdays.

The defendant's mother was visiting Sydney from interstate and was keen to spend time with the boy, Ms Roy said.

On Sunday, however, the child's mother had denied the father access to the boy, claiming he had shown up smelling like alcohol on a previous visit.

"It was just a situation where they were wanting to see the son," Ms Roy told the court.

"He felt unjustly denied in relation to that."

Police opposed the father's application for bail, citing a two-year good behaviour bond imposed for an assault on the mother in 2007.

The father and his new girlfriend had argued with the mother that they be allowed to spend time with the youngster, at one point pleading for him to be able to have "just a hug with his grandma".

After the boy was grabbed from his mother, she got into the car hoping to stop them from leaving with her son, police said.

However, the father tried to remove her from the car.

"The victim kicked out at the accused. However, she was overpowered as the accused leant over her, grabbed her, pulled her towards him and headbutted, kicked and pulled her hair, before the victim realised she was now on the grass nature strip," police said.

The mother suffered pain and bleeding to her face and was taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment.

Ms Roy said it had not been her client's initial intention to take the son away from his mother.

The father pleaded not guilty to the assault in court and was granted bail.

Smiling and waving to three women sitting in the public gallery, the father - a remedial massage student - sat quietly in the dock.

Bail conditions require him to report daily to police, deposit $400 and not approach or contact his ex-partner or go within 500m of her home.

"Any breach of any of these conditions and I will keep you in custody," Magistrate James Garbutt told the man.

The matter was adjourned to September 15 at the same court.


Additional news item

Reference source: Daily Telegraph

Quote: The boy's father was allowed access every Tuesday and Sunday. Denied access last Sunday, after he was granted a visit on Friday, he allegedly turned up and took his son.
The Daily Telegraph
11 August 2009

Can children survive the hate?
By Paul Kent

Here is the abducted boy. He is now 25-years-old. It is 2032 and he goes to the internet, or whatever it is they'll have then, and he Googles himself.

Just Bring Him Home, Says Mum

The anxious mother of a toddler taken from outside his home has pleaded for his return, while police have launched a state-wide search for his father …

Missing Toddler Found

Police have found the missing toddler taken from his mother at Kingsford yesterday afternoon and reunited them at Bondi Police Station …

And suddenly the boy's life becomes clear. This is when it begins, two parents at war and unable to resolve their differences without using him as a weapon.

Of course, this might not happen and this young child might grow into the most well-adjusted kid in this city.

If so, he has some start to overcome.

Last night he was reunited with his mother while his father remained at Bondi Police Station helping police with their inquiries.

A state-wide search for the boy, a month away from turning two, ended about 4pm yesterday when negotiations between police and lawyers representing his parents ended in the child being reunited with his mum.

How long negotiations took place nobody knows. What conditions were sought or granted is unknown.

Where is the right and wrong in what actually took place? Who knows. We could sit here until Sunday and still not know the truth.

What is clear is that once again a child has been used as the stakes in a high-grade game that can only end badly. At least one of those adults has fallen down in their parental responsibility.

The boy's father was allowed access every Tuesday and Sunday. Denied access last Sunday, after he was granted a visit on Friday, he allegedly turned up and took his son.

It is not unusual for parents to use their children as weapons, cocked and loaded, against estranged partners.

For instance, some parents insist that the custody exchange always takes place at a police station. It does nothing but give the child a negative view of the parent coming to pick them up. One they might not even understand . . . just sense.
Wayne Butler, executive secretary of the Shared Parenting Council of Australia said
It's looking to punish the other partner for the ills in the relationship.

Far too often an estranged parent will deal with their stress by taking their children to a bridge, or a tall building . . .
Butler said
It happens far too often. Separation brings out the absolute worst in humanity
In some ways, it would be fine if the damage was done only to the parents. Go off into a paddock and fight it out.

What continually gets overlooked is the damage to the children.

Three years ago a Perth man lost his wife and children. She simply took off with them. It emerged she changed hers and the children's passports and got on a plane to heaven knew where.

She was finally found in Switzerland.

Naturally, the father wanted his children back, so he began going through normal legal channels.

Until the legal argument could be resolved his children were put into foster care in Switzerland. For nine months.

It was then ordered they return to Australia but, because of ongoing legal action, they were given not to their father but to Western Australia's Department of Community Development.

Over two years they were passed through five foster families as the courts tried to reach a decision, which they were apparently incapable of doing.

The children were ordered back to their mother in Switzerland. They no longer speak English. They have lost all contact with their father.

Through no fault of their own, or even the father who fought for them, these children spent almost three years in foster care. And they have still lost their father for the rest of their lives.

Changes to the Family Law Act in 2006 have helped resolve such problems.

Parents can no longer hold their spouse to ransom by threatening to move away. They certainly can not inflict the emotional damage it does by packing up and fleeing.

But there are still too many cases where the children are the collateral in blood feuds between spouses.

Sunday's alleged abduction appeared to be a family dispute gone wrong. Now it all seems to be resolved.

Yet you wonder, somewhere down the line - in 20 years, 25 years - what the true price will be?

Edited

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