Judge to decide in December if Charter applies in alleged child abduction case
Lethbridge Provincial Court. Photo Credit to MyLethbridgeNow.com (Tina Karst)
Both the Crown and defence arguing on Wednesday (Oct. 23) whether a Lethbridge mother’s Charter rights were violated when she and her son were removed from Belize.
The 35-year old woman, who can’t be named due to a publication ban, is charged with child abduction after fleeing with her infant son to South America in 2014, after failing to drop off the boy for a court-ordered visit with his father.
Belize authorities testifed last November that the woman was arrested when she couldn’t produce a valid passport, and was later removed from that country for the immigration offence. The woman arrived back in Alberta in August 2017, and her son was returned to his father in the days following.
The Crown pointing out in court on Wednesday (Oct. 23), that Canadian authorities were never involved in the investigation, nor the woman’s arrest or removal, meaning the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms cannot apply to decisions made in Belize.
The woman’s defence lawyer argues, however, that his client was not actually deported, but rather ordered to be removed from Belize. He alleges that the Canadian government interfered with her right to choose where she wanted to go by detaining her on a warrant that was not in effect in Belize, then purchasing her plane ticket back to Canada.
The judge says he will take the next month to consider each argument. He’s expected to give a decision on Dec. 9.