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Press invited to child abduction hearing

Press invited to child abduction hearing

The press were invited to attend the hearing that was listed before The Honourable Mrs Justice Parker on Friday 10th December 2010. The full press release is available.

Press invited to attend hearing of parental child abduction case

Ct 47, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL on Friday 10th December at 2pm.


The press are invited to attend the hearing that is listed before The Honourable Mrs Justice Parker: NR09P00006 on Friday 10th December 2010 at 2pm Court 47, where consideration will be given as to the release of the children’s names and photographs concerning a case of international child abduction. Permission has already been granted for some limited papers in the case to be disclosed and the media’s assistance is required in publicising the plight of the mother and her children, who are currently in France. The French TV and print media have regarded the matter as newsworthy and have already published articles on this case.

BACKGROUND

This sad case involves the international wrongful abduction of two young boys, Dylan Girardeau (now aged 15) and Austin Girardeau (now aged 13) from their mother, Samantha Raw’s, care in England. Mrs. Raw who is from England, married Mr. Girardeau in France in July 1996. The couple were divorced 3 years later in France and the mother was given the custody of the boys and permission to bring the children to live in England 2 years later. They lived in Norwich with their mother where they were happy and settled. They were doing well at school and had many friends. They of course continued to see their father and visited him in France regularly. Their mother supported their relationship with their father and their continued connection with France.

When the children visited their father in France in 2007 and 2008 he initially refused to return them children to England but then relented and agreed to the children going back and living with their mother again in England. Mrs Raw was understandably worried that on their next trip to France their father would keep the boys there in breach of the law. However she continued to promote contact between the boys and their father recognizing it was important for them to have a relationship with them to have a relationship with him. Therefore the children went to visit their father in France in December 2008. They have not set foot in England since and they have not had any meaningful contact now with their mother for two years.

Despite numerous hearings in the English High Court which resulted in the court ordering the children to be returned to this jurisdiction and a successful application by the mother under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (a treaty designed to fight this type of child abuse), which resulted in a French court also ordering the children to be returned to England. Despite this and a French Court of Appeal decision to the same effect, the French authorities have repeatedly refused to enforce their own Court orders. No explanation has been given by the French authorities for this refusal. By June 2009 the mother believes that the children had been manipulated by the father to such an extent that the eldest physically attacked the mother in France when a handover was attempted.

The English court has tried through various formal and informal means to reunite this mother with her two boys but the French authorities have not been able to enforce the orders of the English or even the French courts.

The mother has met with Monsieur Chevalier, at the Public Prosecutor’s Office at Poitiers Court of Appeal and he, together with the French Central Authority are refusing to enforce the French court order.

The father has publicised the children’s case extensively in the French national press, what the mother believes is an attempt to gain support for his unlawful actions. His allegation that the mother mistreated the children was never proved and the mother has always maintained that this allegation is categorically untrue and without foundation. Indeed in 2007 the English Court reconfirmed that the children should live with her. The result is that these two boys have now been indoctrinated to the extent that their relationship with their mother has been broken. It is the mother’s view that the delays in the French system have allowed the father to manipulate the emotions of the boys to his own needs. The French Supreme Court has now dismissed the father’s appeal. The Supreme Court found that the children have been under the sole influence of their father and determined that the children should be returned to England under the Hague Convention and European Union legislation.

The English police, for their own reasons, have decided not to prosecute the father for the abduction of the children. Mrs Raw feels woefully let down by the French and English authorities and is actively considering an application to the European Court of Human Rights for the breach of her human rights and those of her sons. She is desperate to be reunited with her children and to have them returned to her home in England and her care.

Mrs Raw is represented by her barrister Teertha Gupta and her solicitor Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE, Partner, in the firm Dawson Cornwell.





Facts

Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE, Partner at Dawson Cornwell said:

“This is one of the most upsetting cases I have had to deal with. This blameless mother has the orders of the highest Court in France and the High Court in England in her favour but she is powerless in the face of the father’s willful breaching of the law and his cynical manipulation of the children.”