A High Court judge will rule whether a mother who is wanted for allegedly abducting her own son should be sent to France to face charges.
The French woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has claimed she came to Ireland to protect her son. However, French authorities say she is wanted for child abduction and for failing to deliver the boy to his father, who is entitled to joint custody. The boy is now 17 years old.
At the High Court yesterday, the woman’s legal representative Michael Lynn SC told Justice Aileen Donnelly that the boy came to Ireland willingly and that although there may be a court order regarding custody in France, this should have no bearing on the boy’s right to travel with his mother.
The court has previously heard that the mother flew to Ireland with her son one day after she was due to hand him over to her ex-husband.
She said that she feared that if she returned her son to his father, the boy could end up in a psychiatric institution and become institutionalised for life.
Yesterday, Mr Lynn said that the boy’s autistic condition did not mean that he is incapable of making a decision for himself and no evidence has been heard to contradict that.
He said the court should therefore not accept a claim by the counsel for the Minister for Justice, Vincent Heneghan, that the charge of child abduction in France is equivalent to a charge of false imprisonment in Ireland.
He said the boy was not forced in any way and that as a 17-year-old he is considered capable of making his own decisions under Irish law.
Justice Donnelly said she will make a decision in due course and scheduled a further hearing for July 26 for further submissions on other related matters.
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