Like I said - no legal system's perfect but where children are concerned, family law is generally built around protecting their well-being and, for this to be scrupulously fair, that has to be considered without emotional concerns playing into the equation. On that basis no child would ever be separated from the parent it loves 'most'. Whether or not they're a hopeless drug addict or delusional or alcoholic or whatever. Sometimes loving a child with all your soul isn't best for the child necessarily if you are yourself unwell or dysfunctional in some way - and may not realise it even. Think of the damage a loving but unmedicated paranoid schizophrenic parent might do to a child if the court listened with compassion to their impassioned pleas of competency and gave into spurious support from unqualified referees who come to their defence, making the whole sorry situation into a total circus?
If it was then courts would rarely separate children from their mothers regardless of whether the father might be the more competent and suitable parent. There has
to be substantiation of such serious allegations and this court has made an investigation and found none presumably. It's any family judge's duty to find out whether there's a case to answer and when it's international with full signatory countries to the Hague Convention, this means that both jurisdictions HAVE to work together to determine whether serious allegations against the parent having residential responsibility under the originating order are true before they send the children back into a potentially abusive situation. That really would be totally unjust. From what Del's saying other news reports have been citing some of the information the court had before it that does
support the father's position, including statements from (some of?) the children concerned, so there is another side to this beyond the children's traumatised behaviour when the crunch time came to leave the country. Of course they're screaming with terror - their mother's howling at them as well, so of course they'll be distraught.
The 'silent' father was probably required to be that way since most Hague Convention cases generally kick start in the country the children are taken to with them being made wards of court or some equivalent status. This means that the court assumes parental responsibility for the children when found, until such time as investigations are made and it can make a rational decision, with the help of the court and authorities in the other jurisdiction, on whether they get returned or not. They can and do veto the originating order where there's a valid reason for the children not to be returned under law that both jurisdictions recognise.
One of the conditions of making children wards of court is generally a blanket blackout of publicity, usually because police might be involved and involving the media might compromise their work. Or sometimes the other way around, but generally once the kids are found it goes back to being dealt with by the court in private, because it's not necessarily a criminal case and there are minors involved who have to be protected from prying eyes for the very reason you're seeing in this case. Who the hell deliberately wants their 9 year old daughter to be chased by TV crews and journalists around an airport?
This mother, wittingly or not, invited the press in and so of course the kids will be terrified...
Why has there been no details of what the father's supposed to have done to the kids? Because the court has probably placed an injunction on reporting any details of the case. If there was any credence, actual solid proof, of misconduct on this father's part then you bet that the papers would have put that in their reports if they had enough bottle and their lawyers were confident they'd not be sued out of sight for defamation - or at least for contempt of court. Maybe daddy's a bit strict or restrictive - Italians are protective of their womenfolk after all but if he'd been doing something really horrible then the Italian court wouldn't have let him have the girls in his care in the first place.
The consulate's part in this is peculiar I grant you, but they don't usually have family lawyers at their beck and call and their main field of expertise is in repatriating Australian citizens. The mother may have needed help to get her passport updated perhaps (or the children put on her passport maybe?) but I thought that initially she'd said she was taking the kids to Australia for a holiday? Which is why the father didn't object as he could have done, or even stopped her taking them out of the country in the first place. He didn't, because he thought they were coming back
. When they didn't he had to get this whole legal action rolling and it took him a year to achieve that whilst the mother was presumably 'hiding' the girls in some manner? All he's actually done is play things by the book, kept quiet and co-operated with the courts and not
entered into the one-sided mud-slinging scenario the mother's solicited. It's not beyond a stretch of the imagination that it's the publicity this has attracted that could primarily be what's causing the distress these girls exhibit and that's all down to mum and not dad isn't it?
If you're mostly only getting information from one source and that information's sensationalised, how can you be sure you're getting the full picture?
And yes, I'm repeating myself mostly now so I'm bored too!