November 18th, 2018

No progress in abduction case

By Kalinowski, Tim on July 19, 2018.

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

No further progress has been made in a parental child abduction case as lawyers wait to hear whether or not police and other officials in Belize will co-operate with Canadian authorities, special prosecutor Tony Bell told the court on Wednesday. He asked that the case be further adjourned until Oct. 3.

On Jan. 6, 2014 the accused woman’s ex-husband told police his wife had taken their son and left the country. The following month she was charged with child abduction and a warrant was issued for her arrest. Police tracked the woman and child to Mexico, Guatemala and various parts of Belize, and the mother was the subject of various international Interpol alerts.

Last July Lethbridge police learned Belize authorities found the pair in the town of San Ignacio in the Cayo District and took them into custody. The mother was jailed and fined for failing to produce valid immigration documents, and the four-year-old boy was placed in the care of Belize Human Services.

In August 2017 the mother was deported to the U.S., where she was arrested after landing in Houston, Tex., then returned to Canada later that night. She was taken into custody by Lethbridge police officers at the Calgary International Airport and charged with child abduction, then released from custody Aug. 23 following a bail hearing in Lethbridge.

A publication ban does not allow the media to identify the name of the accused in order to protect the identity of her young son.

Defence attorney Bill Wister said Wednesday his client was frustrated by the lack of progress in the case and the ordeal was taking a toll on her job prospects and mental health. Wister acknowledged it was not necessarily the Crown’s fault the Belize authorities have been slow to respond to Canadian government’s requests for co-operation in the case.

Wister also reiterated his previous position that he intended to make a Charter challenge in the case when it does come up for hearing, alleging federal government officials had no right to have his client arrested and extradited from Belize in 2017, even though she was wanted on a Canada warrant for child abduction.

– With files from Delon Shurtz

Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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