Children once kidnapped by French mother denied visit to France

9th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

VANCOUVER, Canada, March 8, 2007 (AFP) - A Canadian judge refused a request Thursday by French mother Nathalie Gettliffe to have two children she earlier kidnapped visit her in France, but ruled she could telephone them.

VANCOUVER, Canada, March 8, 2007 (AFP) - A Canadian judge refused a request Thursday by French mother Nathalie Gettliffe to have two children she earlier kidnapped visit her in France, but ruled she could telephone them.

Gettliffe had pleaded guilty and was sentenced in December to 16 months for kidnapping her two children by her ex-husband Scott Grant, from 2001 to 2006.

A criminal court judge said Gettliffe had "vilified" Grant and "victimized" her children in "some of the most tragic circumstances I have ever had to deal with."

Gettliffe was later transferred to France to serve the remainder of her sentence through an agreement between the two countries, and was granted a conditional release by a French judge in January.

She asked the court for increased communication with the children, and for the court to appoint an independent lawyer for them.

Family court Justice Nicole Garson ordered Grant and Gettliffe to set up a weekly, 20-minute telephone call or computer video conference session with their mother in English, but upheld her earlier ruling that Grant could monitor communication between the children and their mother.

Garson also said Grant could end calls if Gettliffe made inappropriate remarks about custody issues, returning to France or criticizing Grant.

"I want these children to have communication with their mother," said Garson, but added that controls are needed because Gettliffe "has continued to show a lack of respect for his parental role and a lack of insight into how her words and actions affect the children."

Gettliffe's lawyer Vincent Pigeon said the children now email and fax Gettliffe in France, but that Gettliffe "doubts the children have seen the emails" she sends in reply.

He said Gettliffe tried to phone them once in early February, "but she was not allowed to talk to them at all."

The judge had previously ruled that the children needed time to rebuild their relationship with their father after a five-year separation.

In refusing Gettliffe's request to have the children fly to France for their school break in March, Garson urged Gettliffe to visit the children in Canada.

But Pigeon replied that Gettliffe feared being detained again.

Gettliffe was first arrested in April 2006, when she flew to Vancouver to defend her PhD thesis at the University of British Columbia.

In July 2006, with the help of French police, her ex-husband Scott Grant brought the children back from France where Gettliffe's family had hidden them.

Gettliffe also has an infant, born in September while she was in a Canadian prison awaiting trial, and a toddler by her French partner, journalist Francis Gruzelle.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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