Allegations in family law proceedings could result in criminal offences
Raising children with your ex-partner following separation can be difficult and stressful and many parents find themselves embroiled in Court proceedings to determine ongoing arrangements for their children.
Often, parents will legitimately make various allegations about the other in relation to matters such as family violence, abuse or risk of abuse to the children or the capacity of their ex-partner to properly care for the children. In other cases, false allegations might be made as a parent considers it will help them “win” their case and prevent the other parent from having an ongoing relationship with the children.
There have been many cases determined by a Court where one parent has alleged the children have been abused by the other parent (or their new partner). In some of those, the allegations have been unfounded with no evidence to support the allegations and have resulted in the Court deciding it is in the best interests of the children to live with the parent against whom the allegations were made, due to the risk of or actual psychological harm to the children as a result of the other parent’s misbelief.
More recently, in the case of Huda & Huda (No.2)  FCCA 1804 the Court decided documents should be forwarded to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to consider whether the Father should be prosecuted having regard to the adverse findings made against the Father during the course of his family law proceedings. In that case, the Court found the Father had falsely accused the Mother of sexually abusing the children including that the Mother had:
- engaged in sexual intercourse with a man in front of the children;
- masturbated in front of one of the children; and
- engaged in sexual relations with the children since the children were born
Such allegations are extremely serious. Ultimately, after hearing all of the evidence, the Court concluded the Father made the allegations even though they were false (and when he knew them to be false) and there was no proper basis for the allegations. The Court considered the Father may have committed criminal offences, including the giving of false testimony and fabricating evidence. The matter will now be investigated by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
If you require family law advice, please contact Renée Kinman, Senior Associate and Accredited Family Law Specialist on (07) 3009 8444 or [email protected] to arrange an initial consultation.