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Father found in contempt for failing to return son to UK

A father has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for contempt of court after failing to return his son to the UK from Singapore.

As previously covered on this blog, the man had left his son, referred to as M, in the care of his parents in Singapore against the mother’s wishes.

Upon hearing the evidence, Mrs Justice Russell ordered the father to return M to his mother by 18 March 2014.

Mrs Justice Russell noted that the father had failed to comply with that and subsequent orders to return the child.

When brought back before the court, the father claimed to be without funds, but the judge noted his efforts to avoid obeying the court order suggested otherwise.

She stated:

“Of course the court was unaware that [the father] was in funds, as he had said he was not, and was equally unaware that he was planning to attempt to have the order of the High Court set aside by applying without notice to a different High Court Judge.”

She added that the “fact that [the father] paid lawyers to make this wholly misconceived application gives lie to his claim that he is without funds.”

Mrs Justice Russell ruled:

“[T]he steps taken by [the father] to have the orders effectively set aside amount to a determined and organised course of conduct which is contemptuous of the jurisdiction of this court.”

When considering a sentence, the judge quoted Kayani and Solliman [2011] EWCA Crim 2871:

“The abduction of children from a loving parent is an offence of unspeakable cruelty to the loving parent and to the child or children, whatever they may later think of the parent from whom they have been estranged as a result of the abduction.  It is a cruel offence even if the criminal responsible for it is the other parent.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Paul says:

    A father is found in contempt for breach of an order but, scroll down the articles and read about mothers who fail to comply with family orders. What happens to them? The courts conveniently ignore that and worse, go on to legitimise the permanent loss of contact between father and child.

  2. Luke says:

    The father deserved the sentence in my opinion, but you’re right Paul, women seem to get away with it time and again without spending any time at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

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