Mother faces jail if she breaches terms of access for her son
Published 16/01/2016 | 00:00
Breaching a court order laying down the terms of access for a father to his son was a criminal matter, Judge Gerard Haughton told the mother.
He held out the prospect of a jail sentence for her unless she allows the child stay with the father once a week, as previously agreed.
Wexford District Court dealt with summonses brought not by gardaí but by the father of the primary school age pupil.
The summonses were issued as he did not meet the youngster on eight occasions in October and November.
He also mentioned that he had no contact over Christmas.
Solicitor Dermot Hickey, appearing for the accused woman, asked for proceedings to be heard in camera, away from the public.
Judge Haughton accepted that sensitive matters might be aired but said he had no power to exclude anyone from criminal proceedings.
Most of those present decided to leave the courtroom at his invitation and the case went ahead, lasting more than an hour.
During that time, the father confirmed that he and his wife, both from the New Ross area, had separated and that access arrangements were approved by the court in May.
On the first occasion that problems arose, his estranged spouse told him that she was not insured to drive to the appointed handover point.
He offered to pay for a taxi but this was not accepted. He told how he had taken his son to sport and thought that the visits were going well.
He suspected that the wife wished to move in with her new partner from Wexford to another county.
The mother produced letters written by the son indicating that he did not wish to meet his dad. She said that assaults allegedly committed by the father had been referred to the HSE.
She also called the son to be sworn in and say: 'My father has lied. I don't want to see him.' However, the judge was not swayed, stating his belief that the young witness had been schooled.
He noted that no evidence was produced to support the assault allegations.
The judge pointed out that such matters were not mentioned by the boy when he was asked why he did not wish to meet his father.
He adjourned the case for a month and warned the defendant that she faced jail if the terms of the original court order are not complied with in the meantime.