TORONTO, April 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ - Semi-retired Toronto entrepreneur Robert Glegg, 66, is advocating for change in Canada's broken family law system. Specifically, he wants custody orders and access orders to be respected by both parents during separation and divorce. And he wants breaches of custody orders and access orders to be taken more seriously by both police and Crown Attorneys across Canada.
Mr. Glegg's life was turned upside down when his daughter, Olivia Glegg, then age 15, was—as decided by a judge—"unlawfully detained" in Florida by her mother, Mr. Glegg's former wife. Ms. Glegg was then returned to Mr. Glegg's home in Oakville, Ontario, with the assistance of the Ft. Lauderdale Police.
Subsequently, sole custody court orders were put in place with the consent of both parents, giving sole custody of Ms. Glegg to her father. Those court orders were allegedly breached and resulted in Ms. Glegg going to Florida a second time. No violence was involved when Ms. Glegg was "unlawfully detained," Mr. Glegg notes.
Mr. Glegg, having spent more than $1 million in legal fees to no avail, has great sympathy for other parents who don't have the financial resources to pursue matters like this on their own. And, as many legal scholars, family lawyers, and separating parents have observed for decades, Canada's family law system is in desperate need of change.
Parents Encouraged to get Involved
Mr. Glegg is gathering statistics on how many family law custody orders and access orders are violated.
Click on: www.RespectCustodyAndAccessOrders.ca
Why are parents who violate custody orders and access orders rarely prosecuted in Canada?
"When a judge issues a court order, all parties are expected to follow the court order. It is their responsibility as Canadians. This is the rule of law.
"If we are going to have a justice system worth believing in, people who seriously violate court orders—especially Family Law custody orders and access orders—should be apprehended, put on trial, and appropriately punished," Mr. Glegg says. "In other areas of the law, violations of court orders are dealt with seriously; but all too often, not in Family Law. Children deserve the protection of court orders."
Family courts frequently issue a sole custody court order to one parent if the court determines that doing so is in the best interests of the child. This happened in Mr. Glegg's case.
"I want the legal justice system to deal appropriately with these clear violations of the law," Mr. Glegg says.
"My daughter is an adult now and not in the custody of any parent. I hope to change the situation in the future for other parents and, more importantly, for other children who should be safe, as determined by the courts," Mr. Glegg says.
"We must remember," Mr. Glegg emphasizes, "that every child abducted by a non-custodial parent is now being raised by a criminal. You cannot kidnap your child and not be a criminal."
Criminal charges resulting from the alleged breaches are pending in Milton Court. At a hearing on May 9, 2018, a Justice of the Peace will decide if the evidence available on three counts justifies a criminal trial.
"Court orders cover many aspects of the best interests of the child," Mr. Glegg says, "and violating them can cause severe harm to a child."
In the Glegg case, there are three charges pending, all violations of the Criminal Code of Canada:
1) s.280 (abduction of a person under the age of sixteen),
2) s.127 (breaching a valid Court Order), and
3) s.131 (perjury).
If the Justice of the Peace agrees that there is sufficient evidence, then the Crown Attorney has the opportunity to decide if the Crown will intervene and either prosecute, or drop the matter, or if a private prosecutor can take over the prosecution. The guidelines used by Ontario Crown Attorneys provide discretion in making the decision regarding the private prosecution.
Private Prosecutions in Family Law
A private prosecution is a prosecution started by anyone who is not relying on a law enforcement agency or prosecution service. Private prosecutions are little-known but perfectly legitimate legal remedies in Canada's legal system.
Mr. Glegg has agreed to cover all necessary costs for Toronto criminal lawyer Leo Adler to prosecute this case, as a private prosecution.
Mr. Adler says: "Breaches of custody court orders are a very serious national and international problem. The difficulty is that the breaching parent's criminal acts are often not strenuously pursued by the Crown Attorneys for various reasons. That's why Parliament allows aggrieved parties to launch private prosecutions. And in this case, and in these circumstances, it would be wrong for the Crown to stop such private proceedings."
"Our objective is to use this case as a precedent to help ensure that future significant breaches of other parents' custody court orders are taken seriously by all members of the criminal justice system. Breaches should be prosecuted on the basis that these are criminal acts." says Mr. Glegg.
SOURCE Robert Glegg