Ogilvy & Sassall 2013 FCCA 835

The case involved children aged 10 and 5 years who had lived with their father for 2 years and had supervised access with their mother.  The trial judge heard evidence that the mother had abused both prescription and non-prescription drugs to the extent that she was at times incapable of caring for the children (substance abuse).   The mother had diagnoses of anxiety, depression and pain, and she was reported to sleep for long periods while the children were in her care, and to have required hospitalisation following anxiety attacks.  A drug screen had identified opiates in her body that may have arisen due either to prescribed medication or to heroin.

The father had been diagnosed with either a schizophrenia with symptoms of paranoia or a drug induced psychosis.

The ICL supported a recommendation by a consultant that an interim order rather than a final order be issued after two years of hearings to allow the mother further opportunities to demonstrate self control over her use of drugs.

The judge issued interim orders to allow the mother to demonstrate that her reliance on drugs was not a risk to the children.