FLAST CASE SUMMARY: Zaccardi 2019: Interim Parenting Orders – Family Violence Allegations

Zaccardi & Zaccardi [2019] FamCA 39 (1 February 2019)

 

FACTS

  • August 2017, father removed himself from the home, the mother and child (3 years old) continued to reside there.
  • 18 August 2017, the father pursued urgent parenting orders in the FCC permitting the child to spend time with him.
  • The mother in her response, raised allegations of family violence from the father; she did not oppose the child spending time with the father.
  • 28 August 2017, orders made by consent: supervised contact by a professional agency for father and child.
  • 26 September 2017, the matter was revisited -supervision sustained.
  • 5 October 2017, orders were made for the preparation of an expert’s report by a clinical psychologist.
  • January 2018, an AVO was made by consent for 12 months for the protection of the mother. The father was convicted, after a defended hearing, of assault on the mother, occasioning actual bodily harm, arising out of the incident in May 2017.
  • 15 February 2018, additional orders were made by consent, permitting the clinical psychologist copies of the AVO and allowing the parties to inform the psychologist the father had been convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on the mother, he was placed on a bond for 12 months.
  • 26 February 2018, the clinical psychologists report was released.
  • The psychologist had apprehensions about the consistency of the mother’s allegations of family violence, states the significance for the child to have a developing relationship with his father.
  • 28 May 2018, interim hearing -orders made on 5 June 2018.
  • The interim orders stipulated the child to have unsupervised time with the father.
  • In July 2018, the matter was listed for final hearing in February 2019.
  • Towards the end of 2018, the father had now been charged with possession of ammunition and stalking/intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical or mental harm. The father was permitted bail with thrice weekly reporting conditions. It is mandatory for the father to comply with a curfew. It was a condition of bail that he comply with the AVO.
  • October 2018, the matter was transferred to the Family Court where it was listed for mention in February 2019.
  • In 2019, the Local Court altered a provision of the AVO granted in 2018.The father was now not allowed to locate the mother or approach the mother and child or go near their house. The “Advice of Court result” stipulates the Local Court suspended the contact orders made by the FCC on 5 June 2018.The police also applied for an AVO for the protection of the maternal grandmother.
  • 25 January 2019, each parent filed urgent interim applications.
  • The mother has ceased all contact between father and child and seeks a no contact order as a result of alleged threats of harm to her, the child, and the maternal grandmother.
  • The father sought to re-establish visitations the mother had stopped and contends the family violence allegations are intentionally false.

ISSUE

  • Do the allegations pose a high risk to the mother and child to cease all contact?

HELD

Orders made for no contact. The orders for contact will be suspended. 

In the interim, the court must resolve what preparations are in the child’s best interests based on an evaluation of the claims pursuant to Section 60CC(2) , Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

The court was unable to determine as of yet the weight of all the allegations without the necessary documentation of evidence and examination-nevertheless, the police have established sufficient grounds to charge the father- he has previously been convicted of assault occasioning the mother physical harm also weapons and ammunition were discovered. If the rest of the allegations are found to be true against the father, the result will be the father and child’s relationship will cease, in the alternative if the mother is found to be dishonest with her claims the outcome may be she looses custody of the child.

Additionally, the court did not accept the father’s counsel’s submission for supervised contact by the paternal grandparents to alleviate any safety concerns.

It was determined the risk to the mother, and indirectly to the child, is so serious that no supervision, even professional supervision, can be granted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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