Bizarre allegations emerge from international child custody case

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP posted in Family Law on Tuesday, February 14, 2017.

When two parents fight over custody of their child, things can sometimes turn ugly. This is precisely what happened during a child custody case recently that began half a world away. Accusations have been flying, little has been resolved, and a child is caught in the middle.

In Aug. 2016, a Canadian mother and her 9-year-old daughter fled their home in Egypt and returned to Canada, in defiance of a court order issued in Egypt. She failed to show at a Dec. 2, 2016 court hearing in this country, prompting a nationwide warrant for her arrest and an Amber Alert. At the heart of the dispute and the flight were the mother’s allegations of sexual abuse of her daughter at the hands of the child’s father.

During a trial in Jan. 2017, an expert witness testified regarding the claims of abuse. The witness was charged with reviewing videotaped interviews with the child made in July and Sept. 2015, and June 2016. In the interviews, the child recounts to her mother stories of abuse in a sort of sex factory where thousands of children were being held amid rooms full of corpses.

The witness testified that the child appeared to speak in monotone and seemed coached on the tapes, and that no specific details could be recalled of any abuse, or the participants. She also noted the child did not appear uncomfortable at a recent reunion with her father. In her opinion, the entire story was a fabrication created by the mother in order to discredit the father with the intent of gaining sole custody. On Jan. 30, 2017, a judge ordered the girl returned to her father for the trip back to Egypt, where the matter would be left in the hands of the Egyptian legal system.

This case represents an extreme example of what can happen during a child custody dispute. It is always preferable for parents to arrive at an amicable arrangement, or at least refrain from fighting over, or in front of the child. Sometimes that isn’t possible, unfortunately. Whatever one’s particular situation may be, a dedicated Alberta family law attorney may be able to help a parent to arrive at the best possible solution.

Source:, “Court hands jurisdiction to Egypt in child-custody case”, Steve Henschel, Jan. 30, 2017

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