DY v. KY

The Alberta Court of Appeal in the recent Hague case involving Connecticut upheld the objection of a 13-year-old child to being returned to her father in Connecticut. The case is unique, in that the step Grandmother was defending against the father’s application to return his 13-year-old daughter. The step Grandmother was successful in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, and the father appealed. The facts were that the father at the beginning of the Pandemic was experiencing financial difficulties and was virtually homeless. The child had been placed with friends, who were exhibiting domestic violence. The child called her step grandmother for help. The father agreed to allow the child to come to live with the step grandmother for a few months in Alberta during COVID. This would enable the father to find suitable housing. After the child arrived, she disclosed physical and emotional abuse at the hands of the father, who was engaged in selling illegal drugs. As a result, the step grandmother sought sole guardianship of the child in Alberta. Expert evidence was provided to the court by a psychologist, by way of a Voice of the Child Report. It supported the maturity of the child, and that the child had a genuine objection to return, that had not been influenced by others. During the proceedings, the father threatened one of the step grandmother’s witnesses, who was deposed in Connecticut. Other witnesses provided corroborating evidence that the father sold drugs, was abusive to his daughter and had a history of using women for financial gain. The step grandmother had been married to the paternal grandfather in Connecticut, who died of cancer. The step grandmother had known the father since he was a child, and after the birth of the father’s child had taken care of the child on numerous ocassions. Counsel for the step Grandmother was Max Blitt QC.

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