Woman who took child to Italy loses child-support appeal in B.C.'s top court

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VANCOUVER - B.C.'s top court has ruled that a woman who fled with her daughter to Italy almost five years ago is not entitled to back child support.

Sibylla Hughes launched the action in the B.C. Court of Appeal after a lower court ruled last June that she shouldn't be paid the $32,000 in support from her former husband Calum Hughes — who hasn't spoken to his daughter in five years.

Justice Daphne Smith says in her 2-1 majority decision that the mother's conduct has prevented the father's ability to support the child, and the woman will have to pursue support overseas after wrongfully removing the child from B.C.

The court heard the mother took their daughter to Italy before a scheduled visit with her father in July 2009.

She was ordered to return the girl to Vancouver, but refused, which prompted the court to issue a contempt order and an arrest warrant and then grant custody to the father.

But in dissenting reasons, Justice Edward Chiasson says that there is not enough evidence to set aside an earlier order cancelling child support and the matter should go to the country's highest court.

Organizations: B.C. Court

Geographic location: Italy, B.C., VANCOUVER

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