Bookhurst & Bookhurst 2010 FamCAFC 26

A trial judge ordered that three children aged 12, 10 and 9 years live with their mother and have overnight access with their father only if the father provides the mother with a report by a psychiatrist or a psychologist that gives an unqualified opinion that the father does not pose any foreseeable risk to the children by engaging in abusive behaviour (physical or emotional) in the presence of the children (conditional access, treatment report).  The father appealed the order.

The mother alleged that the father had often been verbally abusive towards her and had made threatening remarks.  Alleged threats included: the father attacking the mother after she said he showed paranoia; the father holding a knife to his throat and asking, “Do you want the children to have a father” while two children were nearby; and the father, after hearing the mother tell one child that the child would be happy if he married and had children, stating that he would kill the mother and all of her family if she repeated this comment.

Experts noted that the children had a strong attachment to the father.

The appeal court found that the trial judge had grounds to order that access be supervised.  The appeal court found that the order about the father participating in therapy was unworkable (therapy for parent), and ordered a re-hearing, encouraging the setting of a different type of review mechanism.