Mother ordered to send son back

AN ENGLISHWOMAN who fled with her children from Cyprus after alleged abuse by her gambling husband was ordered to send her son back.

She found a home in Britain and her son, aged six, and 14-year-old daughter (who has a different father) were settled in full-time education after a High Court judge allowed her to stay.

But three Appeal Court judges yesterday ruled that she must comply with the Hague Convention, the treaty covering "love-tug" children. Although both parents have British citizenship, the boy was born and raised in Cyprus and under the convention his fate must be decided there. Now the woman, who met and married her husband in Britain, faces months of uncertainty battling over custody in Cyprus.

In January a High Court judge, Mrs Justice Hogg, refused to return the son after the mother pleaded that he would be at grave psychological risk. Under Article 13B of the convention, cases where there is a danger of physical or psychological damage become exceptions to the rule that children unlawfully taken must be returned to their country of origin. But Lady Justice Butler-Sloss said the mother was "the author of her own misfortunes.The parent is creating the psychological situation and not the child. Article 13B would be relied on by every mother and it would drive a coach and four through the convention. It is not in the interests of international relations."

The ruling is to be sent to a court in Cyprus, which will hear the case over the son's final residence. Identification of the family is barred to protect the children.

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