Harrell & Hancock-Harrell No 2, 2015 FamCA 406

The case involved a child aged 3 years who lived with the mother and spent time with the father, where the parents had separated a year earlier.  The father alleged that the child was at risk in the mother’s care as the mother and child lived in the maternal grandparents’ house where firearms had not been stored securely.  Police reported that the matter of storing forearms had been resolved.  The father argued that if the mother had misled people on the topic of firearms then the mother could not be trusted (credibility).

The parties were restrained from communicating except to make arrangements for the child, but the father continued to send emails and texts to the father following this order (contravene order).

The father was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with an obsessive-compulsive disorder and he took medication for this condition (mental illness).   The psychiatrist noted that the father’s strong belief about firearms continued despite police reports.  An assessor reported that the father was currently motivated to protect the child and to seek justice, and that the father was unable to control himself when he feels impelled to act.

The judge found that the child was at an unacceptable risk of emotional and/or physical harm if the child spent unsupervised time with the father in the foreseeable future.  The judge found that the parents were unable to communicate sufficiently to co-parent, and the judge ordered that the mother have sole parental responsibility.