Canadians urge more jail time for French mom

1st December 2006, Comments 0 comments

VANCOUVER, Nov 30, 2006 (AFP) - Prosecutors asked a judge Thursday to hand down a prison sentence to a French university professor who kidnapped her two Canadian children and hid them in France for five years.

VANCOUVER, Nov 30, 2006 (AFP) - Prosecutors asked a judge Thursday to hand down a prison sentence to a French university professor who kidnapped her two Canadian children and hid them in France for five years.

Prosecutor Gail Dickson urged the judge to sentence Nathalie Gettliffe, whose bizarre child custody battle with her Canadian ex-husband Scott Grant  has become an international affair, to two years in jail plus three years probation.

Dickson suggested that Gettliffe's two-year jail term be reduced by 10 months to account for time she has served awaiting a trial.

Gettliffe, 35, has been in custody in this west coast city since April 11. She was arrested when she flew here from her home in France to defend her PhD thesis in applied linguistics at the University of British Columbia.

Although Gettliffe was pregnant at the time of her arrest, and even accused organized criminals frequently get bail in Canada, two courts refused to release her on bail, for reasons still covered under a publication ban.

In September, Gettliffe gave birth to her fourth child, a boy by a partner in France with whom she also has a toddler, who lives in France.

After a series of requests for trials in French and later in English, and numerous delays caused by legal wrangling, Gettliffe, pled guilty November 3 to two counts of kidnapping.

In Canada, kidnapping carries a maximum 10 year penalty, although Madame Justice Marvyn Koenigsberg of the British Columbia Supreme Court also has the option of ordering a complete discharge.

Koenigsberg is due to hear two days of defence and prosecution arguments over sentencing, and is expected to rule on the case in early December.

Gettliffe had fled Canada in 2001 with her Canadian-born children, Maximilien and Joséphine, now aged 12 and 11, during a bitter custody battle with their Canadian father Scott Grant.

Since then several courts in France and Canada consistently ruled against Gettliffe's claims, gave Grant sole temporary custody of the children, and ordered Gettliffe to return them to Canada.

But while in France, where she taught English at a university, Gettliffe waged a campaign against Grant, prosecutor Gail Dickson told the court.

Dickson said that Gettliffe set up a society in France to "protect" the children against their father and lobby the government not to return them. She also had accused Grant of belonging to a religious cult and claimed he was a danger to the children, the prosecutor said.

Grant belongs to the Vancouver branch of the International Church of Christ, a Christian denomination designated a "sect" in France and several other countries but not in Canada.

At one point, after her arrest, Gettliffe had also declared herself a candidate for president of France, in a campaign organized there by her partner, French journalist Francis Gruzelle.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

 

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