Best & Best 2013 FamCAFC 5

Four children aged 13, 12, 7 and 5 years had lived with their mother and spent time with their father.  The father then informed police that he had explosives in his house, leading to a siege of the house.  An expert witness gave evidence that the father had been in a state of hypomania during the siege.  A trial judge ordered that the father’s access to his children be supervised and that he participate in monthly consultations with a psychiatrist as a condition for spending time with his children (access conditional).  The father appealed against various orders.

The trial judge found that the mother had occasionally disciplined the children by giving them a smack, that this was not excessive or harsh discipline, and that the discipline had evolved into use of time-out and withdrawal of privileges.   The trial judge ruled that the mother’s yelling did not constitute an unacceptable risk of family violence.  The appeal court upheld these rulings.

The trial judge found that the father had referred to his mental state to avoid the sanctions of criminal law related to the siege, but the father did not accept that he had any mental difficulties in relation to the parenting proceedings.   The appeal court noted that no evidence was presented to change the findings of the trial judge.

The appeal court upheld the appeal against the requirement that the father attend a psychiatrist on a monthly basis as a condition for him to see the children as this order was not enforceable.