Saturday, January 15, 2005

Union of Fathers Hypocrisy

The tacit support given by the Union of Fathers for Stephen Jelicich (the bloke on the run with his baby) in today's Herald, exposes the utter hypocrisy of the group.

While UoF undoubtedly provides valuable advice and advocacy for Father's caught up in the difficult and emotional world of family breakup, their political agenda is simply brutish and chauvanistic. Their tiresome line that the Family Court process has become captured by feminists and political correctness detracts from any genuinely sensible suggestions they may have to make the process fairer and more transperant.

The reality of family breakups and custody issues that reach the stage of a Family Court hearing, is that they are disputes of the most bitter kind, unable to be resolved through other, less confrontational means. The Court must ultimately make a decision in the child's best interests, and the result of this will always be that one party is aggrieved. For a range of reasons, most notably work patterns, histories of domestic violence, and a desire to reduce disruption in the child's life, the majority of such decisions do result in custody being awarded to the Mother. This in no way represents an inherent bias in favour of Mothers as Uof will simplistically contend.

In the Jelicich case, the Court, on the basis of the evidence before it has made a decision that the best interests of the child are served by custody with the Mother. If the Father disagrees with that assessment, there are legal mechanisms open to review the decision. Instead, the Father has chosen to subvert the due legal process, kidnap the child, disrupt it's life by moving from hideout to hideout, and use his friends and family to conduct a smear campaign against the Mother, who is currently overseas.

This is brutish, law of the jungle stuff: "I want this, so I will take it. Stuff the law and anyone else". UoF's decision to tacitly condone this behaviour by refusing to condemn it, and continuing to offer public sympathy to the Father, shows that they have no interest in either working through proper, civilised legal mechanisms, or the interests of the forgotten figure in the whole affair - the child.

13 comments:

span said...

what really startled me was the report on Nat Rad news that the father was "only" after sole custody. Only in this context meaning "merely". Flabbergasting.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much, i am a friend of the mum in this case and as she is currently stuck in the uk , she has no way of fighting back! this is the first article i have read in a week that has even slightly looked at things in her way , everything i have read has been extremley biast towards the dad, well done you !

Anonymous said...

"New Zealanders can be proud that our government refused to engage in this brutish folly"
Yes, our Government refused, despite George Bush's statement "if you're not for us, you're against us" and of course the Government, along with most reasonable people recognised this statement as emotive and wholly unreasonable. It is established law that silence does not constitute acceptance. Our Government's refusal to be an active party in this war was not accompanied by open condemnation of George Bush and his supporters (such as Tony Blair) or their actions. Rather, they voiced their disapproval of terrorism (as the apparent catalyst for the conflict) and maintained a dignified silence with regard to the action being taken..
If you are wondering why I am posting this message under your comments on the Union of Fathers, rather than the one regarding the war in Iraq, it is to draw a comparison between your comment regarding the Union of Father's: "UoF's decision to tacitly condone this behaviour by refusing to condemn it" and that one made by George Bush.
The Union of Father's have not condoned or condemned Stephen Jelicich's actions but they have voiced their continuing concern regarding the apparent catalyst for his actions, that being the Family Court process.
With regard to your statement: "to offer public sympathy to the Father, shows that they have no interest in either working through proper, civilised legal mechanisms or the interests of the forgotten figure in the whole affair - the child"
Firstly, I would say that offering public sympathy to a man who is in such a position as to feel he has no option but to uplift his child and go into hiding; in fact shows nothing more sinister than a capacity for empathy and understanding.
Secondly, I believe it is somewhat naiive and illogical of you to imagine that an organisation who (rightly or wrongly) believe that the Family Court system, as it currently practises, undervalues the parental worth of fathers, consistently lets men and their children down, and is either unable or unwilling to provide a just outcome for fathers; would at the same time see current "civilised legal mechanisms" as the obvious answer.
Further, before you automatically write my comments off as being those of yet another brutish chauvanist, straight from the courts of the jungle, I feel I should point out that I am a woman, (a single mother) and I have no affiliation with the Union of Fathers. I am neither for them, nor am I against them. I do sympathise with many of the issues that concern them and I do believe there is a sound basis for their feeling the way they do. I also believe that your comments are far more illustrative of the problem, than of the solution.

michael wood said...

My point was simply that you either believe in the rule of law, or you don't.

The Union of Father's have, as the major interest group involved in this case, tacitly approved of an unlawful kidnapping by refusing to speak against it.

Imagine if the UoF had all of the reforms that they wanted to the Family Court enacted, and then an aggrieved Mother took offence and ran off with her child after losing a case... UoF would have no moral right to criticise such an action after this episode.

If problems need to be addressed, then good on UoF for doing so, but if they can't just choose which laws they like and don't like.

Additionally, this is entirely consistent with the govt's approach to the war in Iraq. Our position all along was that there was no legal mandate for the war, and this point was made strongly, and publicly bthe PM on a number of occasssions.

Anonymous said...

My point was that a failure to publicly condemn an action does not automatically translate to support of that action. I am not aware of the UoF stating at any point that they support the action itself - in fact I have read statements to the contrary. They have stated that whilst they cannot condone Mr Jelicich's actions they are not surprised at this turn of events given the failings of Family Court system.
I also think it is overly simplistic to say that you either believe in the 'rule of law' or you don't. There is much jurisprudence to suggest there is no moral obligation to obey law that is unjust. Were slaves to have obeyed the rule of law they would still be slaves, were suffragettes to have obeyed the rule of law women may still not have the vote, and the list goes on. Neither law nor society are static and often a good deal of activism and disobeying of laws occurs prior to positive change.
There was a time in our history when children were the property of their fathers and should a woman leave her husband she had absolutely no chance of taking her children with her. This law has been changed, perhaps it has now swung too far the other way and a greater degree of balance is require?
I guess at your tender age, having a cat as your sole dependant, your personal experience in these matters is rather limited and so your somewhat "black and white" perception of these issues is excusable. With a little more time and life experience under your belt you may find that you view the world a little differently and the grey will begin to appear.

Anonymous said...

so stephen jelicich has returned home with his daughter! and....suprise suprise he has got " his day in court" hip hip hooray , run off with your child and get what you want! what's stopping everyother parent ( male or female) to do the same from now on! a clear message has been made , break the law and you get your own way! disgusting!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I note the poor widdle mother was charged with assault on the father

Anonymous said...

i note the " poor widdle mother " was cleared and the case thrown out of court!

Anonymous said...

Actually the charge was never heard. Mrs Jelicich was remanded to appear in court and face the assault charge on the Thursday but it was decided by negotiation between the lawyers that the charge would not be pursued. It was not "thrown out of court" and nor has she ever been "cleared" or convicted of the charge.

span said...

Generally if charges are dropped then that's the end of it, and you certainly can't imply someone is guilty. Innocent until proven guilty anyone?

Anonymous said...

I didn't say she was guilty I said she wasn't "cleared" of the charge and that the charge wasn't "thrown out of court" as the previous post stated. If a charge is dropped without the case being heard that actually doesn't guarantee "an end to it" because the charge may be brought again if more evidence is available. In this case I doubt that is likely to happen though. If you read my previous post again you may note I said she wasn't "cleared or convicted" of the charge. I think you are reading a little much into that balanced comment to say it implies she is guilty.

michael wood said...

While I don't have the time or inclination to engage with people like anonymous who become personally abusive when someone disagrees with them, I will be sure to use her pearler about shades of grey in the law if I get caught speeding in the near future.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed that you interpreted that as "personal abuse" Michael, I remember being your age and thinking everything was either one way or the other and nothing in between too!! Gosh, you're going to need a thicker skin than that if you plan a career in politics!!

Anyway, to correct your statement, I didn't actually say that there were "shades of grey in the law" (although you are in fact absolutely correct in suggesting that there are) I said that there were shades of grey regarding these issues (it was also a play on words regarding age bringing some grey with it - but I'll let you off missing that one) (",)