By Gianna Huesch
The Family Court in Sydney has heard a case involving a father with two wives, who was in court to determine custody arrangements of two of his children with his second wife. The family had been in Australia since 2013. The mother had claimed the man was a violent extremist with jihadist group connections, but was unable to prove the allegations and the judge instead granted supervised contact, pending the mother’s visa status be reviewed and the production of a new report from a family relationship counsellor.
The mother had asked the court to ban the father from contact with the children, the youngest of whom had not even met the father. The judge ordered, however, that the children have contact with the father in a high-security contact centre.
The mother, in applying for full custody, had told the Family Court that the father had been involved with extremist groups since he was a teenager and had been imprisoned for some time for handling counterfeit money. Although the father disputed the mother’s description of him as an extremist in court, the judge was not impressed with his evidence and found that he had been “evasive”, for example, contradicting himself in court as to whether his first wife had agreed to him taking a second wife, and lying about his criminal history when applying for an Australian visa.
There were also problems with the mother’s evidence, though, which resulted in the judge finding she could not prove her case. For example, in her time in the witness box, she changed her story a number of times and retreated from certain claims she had made. The judge said he was therefore “unable to say the father was involved with extremists” and would need “corroborative evidence” which the mother did not possess.
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