High Court refuses extradition order to US for mother and gran

The High Court has refused an application by the United States to extradite an American woman and her mother, wanted for taking the woman’s two children out of their home state in an alleged breach of an access order.

Today Mr Justice Michael Peart said he was refusing to make the order in respect of both women on number of points, including the issue of “correspondence” which he described as an” insurmountable difficulty”.

The woman and her mother, who are of Irish decent and cannot be named for legal reasons, opposed any order for their surrender to the US because of safety concerns arising from alleged violent behaviour by the woman’s ex -husband, the father of the two children.

During a hearing of the matter last December, Judge Peart was told a court in the woman’s home State had made an order in March 2005, granting weekend access to the children’s father but that on April 3 of that year, they failed to show up at the designated pick-up point.

An investigation was launched and it was discovered the children’s mother and grandmother had brought them to Ireland.

They now live here and the children are attending school.

The women’s extradition was being sought so that they could each stand trial on a charge of interfering with a child custody order, conviction for which could carry a jail term.

Judge Peart today held that to make such an order, he would have to be satified that on the date in question the offence alleged would, if done in this State, have amounted to a criminal offence.

The woman was charged in the indictment with "knowingly retaining" the two children on April 3, 2005.

He said there were “no facts” that she did anything on that date which, if done here, would have amounted to an offence.

In relation to the grandmother, Judge Peart also held there to be no corresponding offence in this jurisdiction to that for which she is being sought.

The children’s father and mother had married in early 1990s but divorced some years later. Following their break-up, an order was made providing both parents with access to the children.

The children’s mother claimed she and one of her daughters were subject to violence from her ex-husband.

She said her former husband tried to run her over in his truck and that his new wife repeatedly stabbed her, causing serious injuries, while he looked on.

The woman also said that, after one of her daughters become depressed and had a shoulder injury, it was discovered the girl had been assaulted by her father. As a result, a court order was made in July 2004 denying him access to the children.

However, another order was drawn up in March 2005 giving him some access.

Both women have been on bail since their arrest on January 19, 2009.

Today, Judge Peart made a formal order to have both women discharged.

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