Ponting & Ponting 2011 FamCAFC 88

A judge made orders that did not allow children aged 11 and 7 years to spend time with their father (restrained from contact).  The father appealed.

Evidence had been presented about various incidents involving the father.  The father had pressed the mother to reconcile their relationship.  While spending time with the father one child had phoned the mother and asked if the mother would return home if the child makes himself bleed, and the child picked up a knife.  On another occasion, the father phoned the mother to say he was at a hospital with the children and he asked her to come, but when the mother arrived he was not there.  The father said he wanted to see if the mother cared enough to do anything.  When driving in a car with the children the father said he would drive off the next bridge and they would all die (self harm).  At another time the father said in front of the children that he may as well be dead.

A family consultant said the father displayed rigidity in thinking and had difficulty accepting the views and concerns of others (parenting style rigid).  A psychiatrist diagnosed narcissistic strands in the father’s personality (personality self-centred).

The judge found that the father lacked insight into the effect of his conduct on the children (impact on child).

The appeal was dismissed.