Crime Between Spouses - The Aftermath for the Kids?


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Crime Between Spouses - The Aftermath for the Kids?

Sometimes when you read a reported case, you come across facts which break your heart or cause you to think along the lines….”those poor kids” and go on to express hope that they find their way in life.

The case of Simons & Anor and Simons & Others [2015] Fam CA 9, is one such case.

The case concerned 6 year old twins, whose parents had been together for approximately 16 years. The Wife rekindled a relationship with a man from her past and they became intimate. During 2010, the Husband and Wife dined out with friends and at the end of the night, the Husband and Wife left and were going to their car, when the Husband was attacked and viciously assaulted. The criminal Courts accepted that but for the intervention of off-duty medical professionals, he would most certainly have died.

The assailant was arrested – it was the Wife’s lover.

In the criminal case, the Wife’s lover gave evidence of a conspiracy, namely that it was the Wife’s intention that the Husband be killed so as the lover and Wife could be together. In that event, they would no doubt benefit from whatever finances existed and have an uncontested role with the children as their carers. Separately to the lover’s evidence, the Wife confessed to police about her involvement in the conspiracy.

The Wife later pleaded not guilty, but was found guilty of hatching the heinous plan to enact against the Husband.

The Wife was jailed as was her lover. She wrote to the lover in jail expressing her eternal love.

With the Wife in jail and the Husband recovering from injury, he resumed caring for the young children.

Members of the Wife’s family accused him of orchestrating the Wife’s conviction and jailing and asserted, notwithstanding the Wife’s confession, that the lover and the Husband made it all up.

Members of the Wife’s family approached the Family Court seeking Orders that the children live with them but later amended their applications to seek to spend time with the children.

The Court dealt with the aftermath….the competing horrors and impacts…..the competing vehemently held views.

Members of the Wife’s family were oblivious to the Wife’s confession and steadfastly believed in her innocence and the Husband’s guilt. They maintained heinous allegations against the Husband.

The Court ultimately determined that as the 6 yo children could not remember the Wife’s parents, and because of the lack of bond, balanced against the clear risks to the welfare of the children posed by being exposed to the toxicity and attitudes towards their carer, the Court determined that the children should not spend time with them. An elder sibling, who had made allegations of abuse which had been ruled unsubstantiated and in at least one instance, a falsehood, was also not permitted to see her young siblings for the same reason.

At the point of finishing reading the decision, from which Judge Cronin left out a recitation of the majority of the difficult facts, you were left to wonder about who, amongst the 6 yo children’s family (to whom they would look for parental and adult cues) could possibly have been thought to have considered the children’s best interests in their approach.

The answer was plainly, only the Husband.

An independently appointed lawyer acting for the children agreed and supported the submissions of the Husband.

Telling was the approach of the grandparents who have lost so much, but who continued to ignore objective evidence so as to support their daughter, in whom they could see no wrongdoing.

Again and again, you have to think about and hope that these (and other) children who are innocent and deserve the best their parents can offer them, but who have been let down, can nevertheless go on and enjoy a happy and fulfilling life where they break out of the cycle of issues they faced as kids.

What we call the “aftermath” is how the children adjust to what has impacted on them. Of course, they have their immediate impacts which affect their childhoods but will they be resilient enough to grow normally and function appropriately in society alongside us, our children and our families and friends?

Thanks for reading.