CHILD CUSTODY DISPUTE

Mombasa court orders British national to surrender child

Judge J.N. Onyiego directs the man to hand over the boy to his former lover

In Summary

• In an application dated April 19, he challenged the decision arguing that the mother was psychologically unstable.

• The two have been fighting for the custody of the three-year-old child.

Gavel
Gavel
Image: FILE

The High Court in Mombasa on Wednesday ordered a British national to comply with the two previous orders to hand over a three-year-old child to his former Kenyan lover within 48 hours.

Delivering the ruling virtually, Judge JN Onyiego directed the man, a former Scotland Yard detective, to hand over the boy at Mvita children’s office in Mombasa. The two are embroiled in a custody dispute.

The Briton suffered a blow after the court for the third time thwarted his application for suspension of the order to hand over the child.

In an application dated April 19, he challenged the decision arguing that his former lover was psychologically unstable because she had been sending threats about killing and eating people, thus this would be a direct threat to the minor’s safety.

In an affidavit, he further urged the court to see it necessary for the respondent to undergo a psychological assessment before taking custody of the child.

The judge instead dismissed the application as not urgent and lacking sufficient grounds to warrant a review of the court order issued early this month ordering compliance.

He said the man’s application alleging his child’s mother is mentally sick and unfit to be with the baby lacks medical support.

The judge said the application did not prove the allegation to warrant a review of the matter and directed both parties to adhere to the directives.

“In a nutshell, the grounds cited for review do not fit within the parameters for review of the matter before the court,” he said.

Justice Onyiego said the court order issued on March 5 this year for the man to hand over temporary custody of the child to the mother is still in force pending the hearing and determination of the matter.

“The foreigner will have right of access to the minor over the weekend between 8am and 4pm,” Onyiego said.

The judge said the stay order will be enforced until the appeal is heard and determined. He directed the children’s officer in charge of the subcounty to file an enquiry report within seven days on the status of the child, as well as the suitability of the child’s mother to continue holding him.

The legal battle began at the Children’s Court in Tononoka before heading to the High Court for appeal.

The Children’s Court in Tononoka gave the man temporary custody last December as hearing continued.

The woman appealed the decision at the High Court in Mombasa and was granted custody.

The man challenged the decision on March 8, saying it was arrived at erroneously and that the court had ruled on a matter yet to be determined before the children’s court.

The High Court on April 16 ruled in favour of the woman and ordered the man to give back the child by April 20.

The woman wants him charged with contempt of court for ignoring the two orders issued this year.

“They have been holding my son since December last year and have refused to allow me to have access to the minor,” she said

The matter is expected back in court on May 17.

Edited by Kiilu Damaris