Facts: The client was facing family violence intervention order proceedings in the Melbourne Magistrates court. A family violence order is one type of intervention order. The client had been married to his wife for 40 years. The client’s daughter had mental health issues and to a lesser extent so did his wife.
The daughter was 40 years of age and living at the family home and had started to hear voices and talk to herself. The client intervened being concerned for his daughter and tried to make her take her medications and when she wouldn’t, got in touch with his daughter’s doctor.
The daughter claimed that the client was aggressive and threatening and was keeping her under surveillance, the wife then also made claims about being raped 20 years previously and living a life of tyranny at the hands of her husband. Both the wife and the daughter obtained interim orders at the Magistrates Court precluding the client from his home.
Results: The matter proceeded to a contested hearing, fortunately the wife and the daughter had been sending the client threatening letters through the period that the interim order was in place.
They then tried to deny the existence of the letters and were confronted with them in the witness box. A number of other matters were put to the witnesses that impugned their credit and it didn’t take long for the Magistrate to form the view that their application had no basis.
His Honour struck out the intervention order and the client returned to his house that day. The injustice in relation to this case is that the client had to leave his own home for a period of months whilst waiting for the matter to be listed at the court for a hearing date.
The client was also out of pocket for the cost of running the hearing. Notwithstanding it was important that the client won the hearing because of the ramifications for the family court and the diversion of assets later and to prevent any potential breaches of an order, it was sad to see the system abused in this way.
It was fairly clear in this instance both his wife and daughter had used the courts to obtain interim orders by convincing a Magistrate in the first instance they were in immediate fear and it wasn’t until months later that his evidence could be tested in court at the intervention order hearing.