Pregnant French woman in Canadian custody

2nd May 2006, Comments 0 comments

VANCOUVER, Canada, May 1, 2006 (AFP) - A French mother of three who is four and a half months pregnant will stay in a Canadian jail until May 11 on child abduction charges, after a judge delayed a bail hearing decision Monday.

VANCOUVER, Canada, May 1, 2006 (AFP) - A French mother of three who is four and a half months pregnant will stay in a Canadian jail until May 11 on child abduction charges, after a judge delayed a bail hearing decision Monday.

Nathalie Gettliffe, 35, was arrested on April 10 and charged with two counts of child abduction under Canada's criminal code.

In 2001, she took two children by her former Canadian husband, Scott Grant, to France. Despite several orders by Canadian and French courts, she has refused to return them.

Canadian police caught Gettliffe when she returned to Canada to defend a thesis at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver where she has nearly completed a doctoral degree.

Outside the court in this west coast metropolis, Gettliffe's lawyer, Deanne Gaffar said: "She is doing as best as can be expected considering her health."

Gettliffe is four and a half months pregnant with her partner in France, with whom she also has a young infant.

The children of Gettliffe and Grant, 12-year-old Maximilien and 11-year-old Josephine, remain in France.

As her lawyer and a government prosecutor presented arguments over potential bail, Gettliffe periodically wiped her eyes with a tissue.

Grant watched from the public gallery, surrounded by his parents and other family members, and also dabbed tears from his eyes through the hearing.

"It's a very difficult process for everyone," said Gaffar.

As well as the Canadian criminal charges, the custody case is complicated by Grant's membership in the International Churches of Christ, a religious group known as a 'sect' in European countries including France.

Public documents show that religious issues have been an ongoing issue between Grant and Gettliffe since 2001.

Outside the court on Monday, Grant said he last talked to his children on December 29.

"I have the telephone number for (Gettliffe's) mother but they have said if I phone that, they will phone the police and will charge me with harassment."

The government of British Columbia, Canada's westernmost province, sent a letter to France on April 13 asking for the children to be returned.

Two representatives of the French consulate in Vancouver attended the bail hearing, but had no public comment.

Grant said he does not know why France has not returned the children.

Perhaps, he said, "they find it a very confusing case".

Provincial Court Justice Margaret Rae will render her decision on May 11 in Vancouver.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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