Custody battle ends in Privy Council

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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A father’s six-year battle for access to his children has ended the Privy Council with him receiving supervised visitation.

In March, Lords Hodge, Stephens and Lady Rose dismissed the mother’s application for permission to appeal a ruling of the Court of Appeal which upheld the orders issued by a Family Court judge in August 2022.

The Privy Council notice said permission to appeal was refused because the mother’s application did not raise an arguable point of law.

The couple divorced in 2019, with the mother and father separately applying for sole custody of the children.

In a written ruling, the High Court dismissed the father’s application and ordered supervised access because of an allegation raised by the mother. However, he held there was no conclusive evidence of the allegation but refused unsupervised access.

“The judge crafted a detailed and intricate timetable for access of both children to the father under the supervision of the Social Services Unit (SSU) of the Family Court,” the Appeal Court ruling noted.

“We balanced the right of the children to have access to their father against the observation of the psychologist as to negative emotionally charged situations….the order as crafted by the judge encapsulated the desired balance.

“The judge built into the order provision for monitoring and reporting on access,” was the ruling of the Appeal Court.

However, the mother sought special leave before the Privy Council and was refused. The mother was represented by Farai Hove Maisaisai and Bernelle-Joy La Foucade while the father was represented by St Clair Michael O’Neil and Ebony Young.