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We Need An Inquiry Into Dysfunctional Family Court

The case of a father cut off from his children because of the injustice of the Family Court and the actions of a child psychologist has prompted ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman to renew her call for a comprehensive inquiry into the Family Court.

"The Wellington father who was branded a paedophile and kept from his children has experienced the very worst of New Zealand's unjust Family Court system," Dr Newman said.

"This father is a victim of the hysteria whipped up around the time of Peter Ellis' trial. His rights have been trampled by the closeted nature of the Family Court.

"For natural justice to be done, there must be an open review of the Family Court's handling of this father's case. Further, the Psychologist's Board must be required to publish the names of those it disciplines.

"This case highlights the tragic outcomes of a closed court system where open scrutiny is prevented, where evidence is not properly tested, and where lives are ruined. Not only am I renewing my call to open up the Family Court, but I am also supporting the call for an independent judicial inquiry into the entire Family Court. Public and media scrutiny is absolutely necessary if justice is to be done.

"Courts need to have rigorous standards for their decisions to be seen to be beyond reproach. Clearly, that doesn't happen in the Family Court. How many more lives have been destroyed? How many suicides and heartbreak have been caused because fathers have been branded as child abusers without any evidence? How many children have lost all contact with their Mum and Dad, not because they don't love them, but because the Family Court has kept them away?

"The entire Family Court system is flawed. Major reform - by opening up the Family Court - is essential. A judicial inquiry would be a good first step," Dr Newman said.

ENDS


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