Ruth aka Hutton & Hutton 2011 FamCAFC 99

Parents separated and initially agreed about access arrangements for their child.  On four occasions the mother withheld the child from the father.  The mother then alleged that the father had sexually abused the child and this was investigated by police and other authorities.  The parents sought opposing orders.

The trial judge noted that the mother made persistent but varied allegations against the father, and the judge considered the allegations to have a potential to amount to a risk of abuse of the child.   The mother raised concerns but did not follow through with her concerns during hearings, and the mother consented to orders for unsupervised time for the father on a number of occasions.  The judge found that the father did not pose an unacceptable risk of sexual abuse for the child.

The judge found that the child was at risk of emotional abuse if he remained in the mother’s care because the mother will continue to make allegations about abuse by the father resulting in the child having periods of no time or supervised time with the father, and that the risk arising from unfounded allegations was unacceptable (unsubstantiated allegation).

The judge ordered that the child live with the father and spend supervised time with the mother.  The mother appealed saying that the judge did not give adequate reasons for the decision.  The appeal court rejected the appeal.