Parents on run with son after court ruling
By Rebecca Smith, Evening Standard
8 July 2004

A couple are today on the run with their son after a "ludicrous ruling" from a judge.

The parents are in hiding with the six-year-old boy after the judge said he cannot be allowed to live with them.

Campaigners said the case sets a dangerous precedent by overruling the rights of both parents.

The family courts have ruled the boy should instead live with the father's ex-girlfriend who is not a relative and does not have any legal parental responsibilities.

Pressure group Fathers 4 Justice, who campaign for more access have said the case seems ludicrous and are investigating if they can do anything to help. The couple have been ordered to hand over the boy but have so far refused.

The 27-year-old father was originally given residence of the child five years ago when he was aged one. He formed a new relationship and when that broke down his ex-partner told the courts the boy should live with her.

The judge agreed and yesterday an order was made that the couple must comply and hand the boy over. The courts could now demand that the couple be arrested for refusing to give up their son.

Fathers 4 Justice barrister Michael Cox said: "This is a staggering judgment that dismisses the rights of both parents in favour of a glorified childminder.

"They are now in a lose, lose scenario. If they surrender the boy they face the prospect of seeing him for just a few hours each month and if they stay on the run they face imprisonment.

"As far as we can establish there is no harm to the child posed by either parent; in fact the boy just wants to be with both his parents."