Child abuse allegations, Coaching allegations, removal from mother



FAMILY LAW – CHILDREN – CHILD ABUSE – allegations against father of sexual abuse  – near delusional beliefs of mother – allegations of sexual abuse unsubstantiated – “coaching” of the children to make disclosures of sexual abuse found to be emotional abuse – the trial Judge made an order removing the children from the mother’s care – order for the mother’s time with the children to be supervised – alleged failure by the trial Judge to consider risk to the children from the paternal grandparents – evidence about the paternal grandparents properly considered by the trial Judge

FAMILY LAW – CHILDREN – PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY – where an order for sole parental responsibility was foreshadowed in the reasons but was not reflected in the orders – the trial Judge made an order for the father to be responsible for the children’s long term and short term care – such order not sought by the father – effect of order is to prevent the mother making any decisions about the children when in her care – where the trial Judge’s orders did not provide for changes to decision making responsibility if contact with the mother becomes unsupervised – order varied to provide for the father to have sole parental responsibility

FAMILY LAW – CHILDREN – BEST INTERESTS – whether the trial Judge adequately considered the impact of the orders on the children – where the trial Judge considered the extent of the mother’s emotional abuse of the children warranted their immediate removal from her care – where the trial Judge recognised the difficulty the children would experience being separated from the mother – no error demonstrated

FAMILY LAW – CHILDREN – with whom a child spends time – whether the trial Judge erred in making orders for indefinite supervised contact – whether the trial Judge should have incorporated a “review mechanism” to consider removal of the supervision requirement in the future – no complaint made by the mother – accepted the mother could commence fresh proceedings

FAMILY LAW – CREDIBILITY – weight given to the mother’s evidence in absence of cross-examination – open to the trial Judge to reject the mother’s evidence – whether the trial Judge’s findings about the maternal grandmother were against the evidence – possible substance in the complaint – the trial Judge’s findings about the maternal grandmother’s credibility did not form part of his chain of reasoning

FAMILY LAW – DISCRETION – weight given to the children’s “disclosures” – weight given to evidence of the children’s behaviour – reliance on reports of expert witnesses – the trial Judge accepted the children had made “disclosures” – the trial Judge gave adequate weight to the children’s “disclosures” in the context of evidence of the children being “coached” – weight given to psychiatric evidence – the trial Judge appropriately interpreted and considered psychiatric evidence – the trial Judge entitled to accept evidence of psychiatrist
FAMILY LAW – EVIDENCE – complaint that no psychiatric assessment of the father was undertaken – complaint without merit

FAMILY LAW – FURTHER EVIDENCE – application by the mother – further evidence from a psychiatrist  – where the psychiatrist had taken on the role of advocate – further evidence from a children’s contact service – where the evidence from the contact service does not satisfy the CDJ v VAJ test – further evidence from another psychiatrist – where the evidence of the psychiatrist had been available but was not relied upon at trial – application by mother dismissed – application by father to adduce further evidence of Family Consultant – relied upon only in event of re-determination of trial Judge’s decision – application dismissed
FAMILY LAW – APPEAL – allowed in part

FAMILY LAW – COSTS – some merit in appeal – costs certificates granted – costs thrown away due to vacation of previous appeal hearing – the mother’s former legal representatives said to have been unprepared at previous hearing – no notice to the mother’s former legal representatives of any costs application against them – the mother ordered to pay costs thrown away

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