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Father Faces Jail For Wanting Shared Custody

Union Of Fathers
News Release
for immediate release September 24, 2001

Father Faces Jail For Wanting Shared Custody

An Auckland father is facing a jail term in the Auckland District Court when he appears on September 28 for refusing to attend an anger management course directed by a Family Court judge who became frustrated at the father's insistence that he should be able to equally parent his two children.

What makes this case particularly important is that the father had not reached the formal court process. Rather he was sentenced to anger management after he walked out of the court during a mediation process when it became clear the judge did not support shared parenting.

The penalty for not attending the course is $5000 or six months imprisonment. The father, an early childhood educator, is objecting on principle. He has never been violent and has no convictions.

Attendance at anger management courses is currently compulsory when protection orders are taken against parents, without the necessity of "burden of proof" which is part of all other court process. Evidence is not required in the Family Court

This father says it is time the public was told of the anguish of thousands of fathers and children created by the unfairness of this system, and he is making a stand for justice.

Union of Fathers National Director Bruce Cheriton says this is a case of the Family Court using its powers to prevent protest and try and hush up the disquiet at its activities.

"This judge is trying to send a father to jail for loving his kids," he says. "What's he saying here, 'shut up or I will send you to jail'".

Maybe that's standard in Serbia but we will not accept it in New Zealand.

If this father goes to jail I think we can say goodbye to any pretence of justice in this country and fathers will see they are unsafe if they love their kids.

ENDS

For further details call (09)411 8320 or (025) 6824656

For media assistance contact Darrell Carlin 021 709 907

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