Two French children will be allowed to remain in Canada at least several more months after an Edmonton judge agreed to issue a stay pending appeal in their abduction hearing.
The children, aged 10 and 12, live in an Edmonton suburb with their mother, who is identified in court documents as BM.
BM brought the children to Canada in June 2017 after divorcing their father, CB, who she claims sexually abused their son.
French officials investigated the claim and declined to lay charges. CB vehemently denies the allegation.
CB sought the return of the children under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. In February, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Denise Kiss sided with the father and ordered the children returned to France “forthwith.”
BM appealed. While she failed in her bid to have Kiss reopen the case to hear new evidence, the justice agreed the children’s return can be delayed until after BM’s appeal is heard later this spring.
“Exceptional circumstance exist which make it appropriate to issue a stay in this case,” said Kiss, noting the mother was more likely to suffer “irreparable” harm if the children are returned to Europe.
France is currently seeking BM’s extradition on child abduction charges. She told court that if the children are returned to France, she will accompany them, meaning she will likely be arrested on arrival.
Kiss ordered that if the children are returned to France, they initially stay with BM’s family before being turned over to CB. She ordered that they receive at least three counselling appointments within the first 10 days of their return.
BM’s lawyer told court the tentative date for the appeal is June 7.