Court of Appeals orders new hearing in Ontario custody case

A new hearing has been ordered by the Ontario Court of Appeals after it ruled that a trial judge focused too much on the events surrounding an alleged attempted murder in the case instead of testimony centered on the welfare of the children.

The children’s mother alleged that their father had attempted to kill her by slitting her throat and leaving her alone by the side of the road while they were on vacation in the Caribbean around the Christmas holidays in 2010. The Court of Appeals also ruled that there had been other errors in the custody case, including improperly allowing evidence to be introduced, misapprehending evidence and credibility issues.

The mother was reportedly trying to get the father’s access to the children formally removed by the courts last year. The custody case, however, was soon overshadowed by the events of the alleged attempted murder. The father was tried in Jamaica for a reduced charge related to the case but was found not guilty.

The custody case ended with the trial judge saying that he was not persuaded that the father had attacked the mother, and the judge awarded the man increased access to the children. The mother appealed the ruling, and the Court of Appeals agreed with her reports of errors involving the judge and how the case was handled.

The new hearing has yet to be scheduled, but the Court of Appeals made it clear that the focus should be on the needs and welfare of the children and not the events that may have transpired between the two parents. While this is certainly an unusual case, it is not all that unusual for parents to attempt to bring up their issues with each other in custody battles. It’s important to remember that the courts are focused on the best interests of the children in these matters.

Source: DurhamRegion.com, “New hearing ordered in Durham family court case that included allegations of Caribbean knife attack,” Jeff Mitchell, Sep. 12, 2015

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