"Father threatened with jail over website attacking former wife and lawyers"
- Category: Child abuse industry advocates jailed for speaking out
- Created: Thursday, 09 August 2012 23:30
- Written by Jared Owens
The Family Court has threatened to jail an aggrieved father over a website that attacks his former wife as a "psychopath" and intimidates her lawyers by branding them witches and murderers.
An outraged judge has urged the Australian Federal Police to investigate the "insidious" website, giving the Brisbane man until next Wednesday to delete the "scurrilous attacks" or risk being found in contempt.
The father, who is seeking greater access to his children, told Justice Colin Forrest he would go to jail if necessary, describing the judge and his orders as "corrupt".
The website includes photographs and descriptions of his former wife's numerous present and former attorneys, depicting one female solicitor as an "ugly witch" and another as "the assassin" -- a "cowgirl lawyer" shown clutching a shotgun.
The website alleges the lawyers have advised women to make false allegations of domestic violence and child abuse, while subjecting their children to the "torture" of being alienated from their fathers.
The father's website also attacks lawyers and expert witnesses connected to the family's child custody and alleged domestic violence cases.
Justice Forrest opined that the father had at least breached section 121 of the Family Law Act -- which prevents the public identification of family law litigants -- and directed the Family Court marshall and the Federal Police to investigate more thoroughly.
Justice Forrest said that the website was clearly designed to intimidate the former wife's lawyers and deter others from taking up her case.
"The right to be legally represented is a fundamental cornerstone (of the proper administration of justice)," he said on July 25. "The mother is entitled to respond to the substantive and interim applications of the father and to engage legal representation free from the pressure of knowing that any solicitor or barrister who acts for her will be subject to the type of scurrilous attacks the father makes through . . . his website."
Justice Forrest hoped "the good sense of the community might be a sufficient safeguard against the damage these attacks can do to the rule of law in this country".
The parents' case -- identified with the pseudonyms Xuarez and Vitela -- has been adjourned to a date to be fixed.
Family Law Practitioners Association president Deborah Awyzio said tensions often ran high in family law cases, drawing out individuals' worst character traits. She declined to comment on the specific case, but said overbearing lovers often continued their abusive and intimidatory practices through the courts.
"You definitely have to have a thick skin to be a family law practitioner, and it can be difficult because you also have to be empathetic to what people are going through, but also focused and objective," she said.
Justice Forrest, who joined the court in February last year, is known for his defence of section 121, referring Brisbane's The Courier-Mail to the AFP after the newspaper published front-page articles identifying four Italian-born girls and their Australian mother involved in a custody case.
An AFP spokeswoman confirmed the agency's investigation of The Courier-Mail was ongoing. Breaches of section 121 are punishable with one year's jail.
Justice Forrest released court material, including three affidavits and unedited judgments, to AFP Commissioner Tony Negus to assist his investigations. (Source : http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/legal-affairs/father-threatened-with-jail-over-website-attacking-former-wife-and-lawyers/story-e6frg97x-1226447077929)