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Tom Rees | Criminal Defence Lawyer Winnipeg
9
Feb

Manitoba Woman Charged with Child Abduction Acquitted

A Manitoba woman was charged with Child Abduction for attempting to take her child to Australia. The woman’s marriage broke down after she found her husband, father of the child, cheating on her with another woman. The woman told the father that she needed to return to Australia with their child to be with her family. He refused to give her permission to take the child.

[7]  Without consulting Mr. Heinrichs, the accused decided to withdraw Aiden from school two days before the Christmas vacation and take him to Australia.  The accused testified it was her intention to take Aiden for a holiday to see her family and to get away from Mr. Heinrichs for a period of time to allow her to think.

[8]  Returning home on December 14th, 2011, Mr. Heinrichs discovered both the accused and Aiden were gone.  Their American money and passports were gone.  Unable to locate the accused or Aiden, Mr. Heinrichs contacted the RCMP.  The investigation by the RCMP resulted in the arrest of the accused as she and Aiden were boarding a plane for Australia in Los Angeles.

The Court reviewed the law:

S. 283(1) Every one who, being the parent…of a person under the age of fourteen years, takes…that person, whether or not there is a custody order in relation to that person made by a court anywhere in Canada, with intent to deprive a parent…of the possession of that person, is guilty of (an offence).

In order to be convicted of the Abduction offence, the Crown must prove an intent to deprive the other parent of the child, beyond a reasonable doubt. This was the issue to be decided by the Court.

[16]  In her testimony, the accused testified her intent was always to return to Wawanesa with Aiden.  She held a job in the area and Aiden was enrolled in school in Wawanesa.  The accused did not waiver in her commitment to include Mr. Heinrichs in Aiden’s life in a significant and meaningful way.  The accused felt a need to create some space between herself and Mr. Heinrichs to consider their separation.

[17]  I believe the accused in her testimony.  I found her demeanour convincing and she appeared earnest in relating her version of the events.  I am not satisfied the Crown has proven the accused intended to defeat, deny or take away Mr. Heinrichs’ ability to regain physical control or custody of Aiden.  There was no proven intent to put Aiden beyond the reach of Mr. Heinrichs.

The Court ultimately acquitted the woman finding that the Crown had not proven an intention to deprive the father of the child.

 

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