Sunday Herald-Sun (Melbourne, Australia)-
March 1, 2009
A MELBOURNE father of three has been jailed for sending a birthday card to his daughter.
The man ``Mick'' who cannot be identified for legal reasons was locked up in a suburban police station for seven nights and spent another in the tough Melbourne Custody Centre. He says he was surrounded by drug addicts and people charged with violent offences during his ordeal last month.
Mick claims he is a victim of a family law system that is biased against fathers. ``I was jailed for nine days and eight nights for sending my 11-year-old daughter a birthday card,'' he said. ``Apparently I broke an intervention order. It's ludicrous and it breaks your heart.''
The 51-year-old is estranged from his wife and claims she has brought a series of intervention orders against him, banning him from contact with his children, without any evidence. ``Until my wife divorced me I was a legally unimpeachable citizen now I'm being treated like a criminal just because I want some contact with my kids,'' Mick said yesterday. ``And that contact was ended arbitrarily without even a hearing or the presentation of evidence.
``In a court of law, if you are accused of something you are supposed to have the ability to cross examine your accusers and call witnesses. `In the secret chambers of the Family Court you are not guaranteed that at all.''
Mick says the experience has cost him $20,000 and his career as a writer. ``It's a plundering and looting exercise on the part of lawyers involved in this and there are no juries or scrutiny by media to keep them accountable,'' he said.
The Sunday Herald Sun was denied access to documents relating to Mick's case and lawyers for his estranged wife declined to be interviewed. Historian and academic Prof John Hirst this week called for an overhaul of family law. ``The court is not enforcing its decisions, the costs of going to court are onerous and there is little public accountability,'' he said.
Are fathers being treated unfairly? Have your say at heraldsun.com.au
Edition: 1 - FIRST Section: NEWS Page: 002
Record Number: SHS_T-20090301-1-002-266530 Copyright, 2009, Nationwide News Pty Limited
Editor saidThere is much more to this story that has not been said. The arrest was made for an outstanding warrant. The local police did the arrest and he was held under local police intervention order provisions. Seems to be very shoddy reporting to me