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.
“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  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.”