February 21, 2015
Source: The Now Newspaper
VANCOUVER — A Surrey man who tried to take off with his four children to Egypt after getting into a domestic fight with their mother has lost an appeal of his parental abduction convictions.
There’s a publication ban on any information that could identify the child victims or witnesses. The appellant, identified only as M.E-H, appealed his four convictions at B.C.’s Court of Appeal but lost.
The court heard that after a “domestic disturbance” with his wife, the man drove their four children to Seattle where police found them two days later at Sea-Tac airport, just about to board a flight to Egypt.
The domestic fight happened in Surrey, where M.E-H lived with his wife N.H. and their four children. The court heard the couple separated on July 17, 2013, after police arrested M.E-H, released him and took his wife to a transition house.
The provincial court judge found that the wife wanted out of the marriage and also wanted to take the children with her to the transition house, but a police officer told her she couldn’t take them without a court order.
That afternoon, after leaving the family home, N.H. obtained an ex parte court order under the Family Act denying M.E-H parental time and prohibiting him from taking the children out of B.C., but he didn’t known this.
After N.H. got the ex parte orders a representative of the transition house asked police to serve them on M.E-H, but when they returned to the residence with N.H., it was clear M.E-H and the children had left in a hurry.
The court heard M.E-H had checked into a hotel in Seattle and had bought plane tickets for him and the children. He claimed he had his wife’s permission to take them but provincial court Judge Ellen Gordon decided that wasn’t the case and found M.E-H guilty of four counts of child abduction contrary to Section 283(1) of the Criminal Code.
The couple’s eldest daughter, age 12, testified that after the police had left with their mother, her father told the children that the “ministry” would take them away and that they could hide by going to the U.S. then Egypt. Her brother, 11, corroborated this.
The girl testified that prior to the July 17, 2013 domestic fight her father wanted to move the family to Egypt but her mom was adamantly against the plan because of kidnappings, killings and an ongoing civil war there.
M.E-H testified that the family was planning to move to Egypt from Surrey and disagreed that the couple had been in an unhappy marriage.
Gordon found, however, that “the circumstances point beyond a reasonable doubt to a conclusion that N.H. had no intention to have her children move to Egypt.”
Gordon found that as soon as N.H was out of the house, M.E-H had “terrified the children by telling them that the police were going to arrange for them to be apprehended by some government ministry.”
Appeal Court Justice Pamela Kirkpatrick dismissed M.E-H’s appeal of his convictions on Wednesday, Feb. 18, with Justices Nicole Garson and Anne MacKenzie concurring.
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