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Child trapped in Egypt by bizarre custody battle

Australian court ignored as wife, child trapped in Egypt by bizarre custody battle
By Rania Spooner, Court and crime reporter
The Victoria Age
4 October 2013

An Egyptian national whose wife and daughter remain trapped in Egypt in an increasingly bizarre custody dispute secretly married a second woman, a court has heard.

The man has failed to honour an Australian court-ordered obligation to support the lifting of an Egyptian order that prevents his wife and 4-year-old daughter returning to Australia.

The wife travelled to Egypt in an attempt to take her daughter back after the child's overseas visit with her father's family extended to months, the Family Court in Melbourne has heard.

But, through Egyptian authorities, the husband obtained an official travel ban on his wife and daughter, preventing them from leaving the country.

In September, Family Court judge Paul Cronin ordered the husband, who has remained in Australia, to do all acts and things necessary to have the ban lifted.

But on Friday the court heard he had yet to sign relevant documents to assist, instead, he had written an affidavit that failed to explain why he'd not taken steps to have the ban lifted in almost a month, the court heard.

He was warned by his solicitors that if he did not attend court on Friday he would likely have a warrant issued for his arrest. He still did not appear.

His barrister told the court he was unable to even contact his client by telephone.

Barrister Anne O'Connell, representing the wife, said it was clear the husband was treating the proceedings as a game.

He's just playing games with the court now, she said. It's all a game, your honour, and it has serious consequences - there's a young child.

Ms O'Connell said revelations of the man's second marriage in June 2012, to a woman living in Egypt, had added a new level of urgency to the proceedings.

It's clear the husband has a strong motive to keep his daughter in Egypt, she told the court.

The husband has previously claimed he was held captive on a yacht off the Queensland coast while his wife fled the country to snatch their child with the help of a child-recovery specialist.

The mother has been stranded in Egypt with her daughter since early August.

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