“He did find there could be an issue if this matter went to trial in regards to fairness of the trial because of the way Canadian officials…played around with the rules of the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention allows for the return of certain children, of children that have been removed from Canada or any other country, with certain procedures. Here, the Canadian officials had played around with those procedures that allowed Belize to go around them.”
Shortly after the Voire Dire decision, the woman admitted to taking her son to Belize, in contravention of a court order, and pleaded guilty to the breach. Ouellette said the woman had initially taken the child because she had serious concerns about how the child would be brought up by the father. He says he and his client are now satisfied with the outcome.
“I think she feels relieved mostly, because this has been going on so… and of course this will have an impact on potentially any other court aspects involving custody of the child, access and things of that nature.”
The woman had been wanted by authorities since 2014, after she failed to drop off the 11-month old child for a court ordered visit with his father. She was tracked through Mexico, Guatemala and parts of Belize, where she was taken into custody.
Ouellette believes the courts need to be clear about how the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is applied in other countries.
“Here, there were some really weird facts. For example, we don’t have an ambassador to Belize, we don’t have a council. This was a nice guy from Belize who was appointed as Canadian Council who had no idea of what his duties were, and all of a sudden the RCMP in my opinion at least, were manipulating him to do certain things…the Supreme Court of Canada needs to clarify that. It’s very convoluted at this point.”
During the first six months of her CSO, the woman will be confined to her home 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for pre-approved medical appointments, work, school or religious services. She will have four hours once a week to go shopping. During the last six months of her CSO, she will have to abide by a 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, except where noted.
She will be allowed court ordered visits and access to her child. The same will apply to her probation, except for the curfew.