India / UK: Boy ‘abducted’ by dad reunites with mother

KOCHI: Anna Mathews, a Kollam native whose son was sneaked out of the country to the UK by her estranged husband, has finally been granted custody of the 5-year-old child by a UK court. The man’s act was dubbed as an instance of international parental child abduction by many.

Arguing for the custody of the child, her husband James Robert Edward Pierce, a UK national, said in the court that lawyers in India had advised him to leave the country with his son, Samuel. “James kept saying that the courts in India were corrupt. However, the judge considered the line of thought to be colonial.After hearing James’s part for about 90 minutes, the judge ruled in my favour,” said Mathews adding that the judge in the middle of the proceedings observed the incident to be a case of child abuse.

Post the judgment at 12 pm GMT on Friday, Mathews went to a police station in London to pick up Samuel. “My solicitor told me that James had appealed. However, the appeal petition got rejected and James brought back Samuel by about 7 pm,” said Mathews from the UK.

TOI had reported about the ‘custody war’ between parents, becoming an international crime when Pierce failed to return the child to his mother on the stipulated date after a short interim custody period. A court in Kochi had granted her permanent custody of the child.

Mathews was forced to open up her private life to the world on January 13 via Facebook post after the abduction. Her post, seeking help to find the boy, was shared by thousands.
She had even managed to get in touch with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj through Twitter. But all efforts couldn’t prevent James from managing travel documents to the UK from the high commissionerate at Kathmandu.”There shouldn’t be any more complications now. The child is eligible for overseas citizenship of India, since his mot her is an Indian citizen. They can be together in the country as long as they want,” said Ajithkumar Nair, a former entry clearance officer (Visa) in the UK (High Commission of India, London) and criminologist.Senior diplomats here lauded the judicial system in the UK. “Verdicts come within hours at the courts there. The case has been pending in the Kerala courts for years and the British court took a decision in a matter of hours,” said a diplomat.

Parental Child Abduction Kidnapping
Meanwhile, Mathews maintained that the case against Pierce will take its due course. “The incident is being investigated by the police in Kerala,” she added.

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