UPDATE [May 22]
Police have raided a Queensland property, locating the four missing children and their great grandma who was hiding them after a protracted, international custody dispute. The girls’ mother had been ordered to return them to Italy so that the custody matters might be heard in the local courts.
The Judge who made orders for the children to return to Italy has said his orders still stand. He has declined to hear further applications from the family and said he suspects the children’s relatives are in contempt of court for hiding the children.
He said the children’s relatives should be brought to court to swear on oath about their whereabouts.
To clarify yesterday’s article, the Family Court previously found the father did not give his permission for the family to flee. The family did leave Italy with the help of Australian officials, however they reportedly did not make it clear why they were leaving.
Since yesterday, the children have released handwritten letters claiming they wish to stay in Australia.
A Brisbane judge has re-iterated that the children would be returned to Italy to have the case heard under its jurisdiction.
Four sisters aged 9-14. As you read this, they’re currently on the run, somewhere in Australia.
The four girls, aged 14, 13, 10 and 9, were whisked away from Italy two years ago by their Australian mother Laura because her Italian husband (the girls’ father) was allegedly physically abusive toward them all for years (according to Laura). But in the last few days, the Family Court here ordered the girls return to Italy for the matter to be heard.
The court ruled the four children must board a flight back to Italy by 12.01am this Wednesday. The girls said they would have to be ‘sedated and physically removed’ from their mother before they went voluntarily.
Why? Because Laura allegedly took them from Italy and Australia is a signatory to the Hague Convention anti child abduction treaty. That treaty over-rides many practical protections of Australian law.
Mother Laura (who is Australian) claims it was not an abduction because they left the country with her husband’s permission … but then he changed his mind. The Federal Court found this was not the case and that the father thought his children were going on a holiday.