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Aussie Dad does Hard Time for Sending Daughter a Birthday Card
Below is an article from the Melbourne Sunday Herald-Sun. I can't provide a link because the article did not appear in the paper's online edition. So here's the print version. It speaks for itself, I believe. __________________________________________________________________ Birthday ban Dad jailed over card Sunday Herald-Sun (Melbourne, Australia)- March 1, 2009 Laurie Nowell A MELBOURNE father of three has been jailed for sending a birthday card to his daughter. The man ``Mick'' -- who cannot be identified for legal reasons -- was locked up in a suburban police station for seven nights and spent another in the tough Melbourne Custody Centre. He says he was surrounded by drug addicts and people charged with violent offences during his ordeal last month. Mick claims he is a victim of a family law system that is biased against fathers. ``I was jailed for nine days and eight nights for sending my 11-year-old daughter a birthday card,'' he said. ``Apparently I broke an intervention order. It's ludicrous and it breaks your heart.'' The 51-year-old is estranged from his wife and claims she has brought a series of intervention orders against him, banning him from contact with his children, without any evidence. ``Until my wife divorced me I was a legally unimpeachable citizen -- now I'm being treated like a criminal just because I want some contact with my kids,'' Mick said yesterday. ``And that contact was ended arbitrarily without even a hearing or the presentation of evidence. ``In a court of law, if you are accused of something you are supposed to have the ability to cross examine your accusers and call witnesses. `In the secret chambers of the Family Court you are not guaranteed that at all.'' Mick says the experience has cost him $20,000 and his career as a writer. ``It's a plundering and looting exercise on the part of lawyers involved in this and there are no juries or scrutiny by media to keep them accountable,'' he said. The Sunday Herald Sun was denied access to documents relating to Mick's case and lawyers for his estranged wife declined to be interviewed. Historian and academic Prof John Hirst this week called for an overhaul of family law. ``The court is not enforcing its decisions, the costs of going to court are onerous and there is little public accountability,'' he said. Thanks to Jeremy for the heads-up.