A father who sought to have a hearing regarding his contact with his children adjourned so that new evidence could be obtained found his argument rejected by the Court of Appeal recently.
The family court had issued an interim order that the father, who had convictions for sexual offences against children, should not have any contact with his three children. He lived apart from his wife and children because a court order connected with the downloading of indecent images of children required him to live elsewhere.
A risk assessment was undertaken as part of the court process and a contact hearing was held. The man argued that the hearing should be adjourned to allow an expert child psychologist to be consulted. He believed that his children would have to be made aware of his behaviour at some point and their reaction to it would constitute important new material to put before the court.
The judge refused, ruling that the psychologist’s report would not add anything to the evidence before her.
The father appealed to the Court of Appeal, also arguing that the lower court had not conducted a balancing exercise of the positive and negative facts and circumstances when reaching its decision.
The Court of Appeal rejected his argument and ruled that the decision of the judge in the lower court was well within the ambit of the discretion allowed in such circumstances.