Woman who abducted sons from Ireland now in road accident, passenger dead


October27, 2013

Source: zambianwatchdog.com

The true nature of a child abducting parent

Elizabeth Daka, the Zambian woman who is facing criminal charges in Ireland for allegedly abducting her Irish-born sons to Zambia has been involved in a road accident.

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The accident happened near Manda Hill at 14 hours today and the passenger who was with Elizabeth died on the spot.
Elizabeth is said to have been drunk when she was driving the vehicle. She survived with only minor bruises but her friend, a ZESCO employee, had her skull opened by the crash and died instantly.
According to information received, both Elizabeth and her friend-passenger were not wearing seat belts.
‘Elizabeth was drunk and speeding and tried to make a turn but crashed into a drain,’ said a source.
Elizabeth Daka had two sons, Ethan Quarry, 6, and Troy Daka-Beary, one-year-11 months, with two different Irish men while in Ireland but decided to move back to Zambia three months ago without informing the children’s fathers.

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When he came to look for his children, Richard Quarry, who is still married to Elizabeth, claimed his wife had a history of alcohol abuse, child neglect and depression, adding that she might put the children in danger.
Now Elizabeth faces a possible charge of causing dearth by dangerous driving.

 

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Ken Spooner is finally bringing his abducted children home after 5 years


August 2 , 2013

Source: findandrewthompsoneeurope

Ken Spooner is finally bringing his abducted children home after 5 years 

Ken has returned home to England with his two sons. We wish him and the boys all the best.

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On 18 July 2013 the Supreme Court of Zambia advised Ken Spooner that he was allowed to take his two children Devlan and Caelan back to Milton Keynes, UK.
In 2008, 4 year old Devlan and 18 month old Caelan were taken to Zambia by their mother on a holiday from which she never returned.
Ken appealed to the High Court of England and managed to get an order to return the children home but had to travel to Zambia to execute it. The order was successfully registered and despite an appeal from the mother’s lawyers, Ken was given permission to take the children home.
When Ken reached the airport he was met by the mother and her lawyers and the children were taken again with the help of the Zambian police.
He did not give up. He has fought long and hard over the past 5 years. He has had to give up everything.
The children have been deprived of a relationship with Ken and his family. Amazingly he is not going to do the same on his return with them. He is hoping that his boys can have a relationship with both parents, a testament to his character.
Ken is an inspiration in the way that he has approached the abduction of his children. We wish him all the best in bringing his children home to England. Emergency passports are being issued and it is hoped that they will return home very soon.
Further reading at these links
 

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Legal eagles are all set to discuss ‘Spooner abduction loophole’


Source: Milton Keynes Citizen

SOME of the finest legal minds in the country are set to discuss the closure of a loophole in the law that could prevent other parents going through the same pain as a father whose children were taken to Zambia.

Ken Spooner, who is the subject of this newspaper’s Justice for Ken campaign, allowed his former partner Zanetta Nyendwa to take their two boys, Devlan and Carlan, on a holiday to the African country to see their grandmother.

But despite promising to return, Miss Nyendwa remained in Zambia with the children – leaving Mr Spooner to contest a drawn out legal battle to bring them home.

A change in the law could have meant he was able to bring Devlan and Caelan home much earlier.

Because Mr Spooner had given consent for the holiday the case is being treated as a civil dispute. If Miss Nyendwa had taken the children without that consent it would have been classed as a criminal case.

In December, MP for Milton Keynes North Mark Lancaster promised to look into the situation.

Now a number of top QCs are set to discuss the matter on behalf of international parental child abduction charity, Reunite.

The move follows the decision of the Australian government to criminalise wrongful retention.

If the lawyers believe Britain should follow suit, it could lead to a debate in the House of Commons.

Mr Lancaster has also received a reply from Justice Secretary Tom McNally to earlier questions in Parliament on the subject.

In his letter, Mr McNally said the Government has ‘no current plans to legislate further’ in the area of international child abduction, saying instead that the UK already participates in ‘meetings to review and enhance the operation of the 1980 Hague Convention’.

The Hague Convention is an agreement between signed-up countries which aims to ensure the return of an abducted child to their home country.

But Mr Spooner said: “If the main objective is to protect the best interests of the child, then there has to be a deterrent in place to prevent such actions from taking place.

“Unless there is a change to the law, abducting parents will continue to abuse the loophole, and this will become an even bigger problem.

“Perhaps the question should be put to the left behind parents, and see if there are any that would accept Mr McNally’s justification.”

Speaking in December, Mr Lancaster said: “I find it staggering that children can be abducted from a parent and the actions of the other parent are not classified as criminal.”

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Justice for Ken: The true level of abduction pain in Britain


Source: Milton Keynes Citizen

For more than three years Great Linford resident Ken Spooner has been desperately trying to bring his children home to Britain.

Ken Spooner with children Devlan and Caelan before the abduction

Devlan and Caelan were taken on holiday to their mother’s homeland, Zambia, in October 2008. But Zanetta Neyendwa refused to bring the boys home, leaving a heartbroken Ken with the task of negotiating the maze of both the English and Zambian court systems.

Despite obtaining a court order making the boys Wards of the English Court, he has had to battle through the Zambian courts to try and gain custody of his children.

He has since had to spend more than £200,000 on legal fees, defeat false accusations that he tried to re-abduct the boys and gone long periods without seeing his children.

Milton Keynes Citizen launched its ‘Justice for Ken’ campaign last year asking the Government to intervene.

But the British Government say they can’t help as it would be wrong to interfere in the affairs of a sovereign state.

And despite the Zambian Supreme Court awarding Mr Spooner custody of Devlan and Caelan last month, the doting dad is still unable to bring his boys home after a clause was added putting a stay on the decision until an appeal has been heard – effectively allowing Miss Nyendwa to maintain ‘possession’ of the children.

Mr Spooner remains determined to fight on, despite the hurt the case continues to cause him.

But his pain and determination are not unusual. Hundreds of other left behind parents continue to fight a system seemingly incapable of coping with the problem of international child abduction.

CRAIG LEWIS examines the wider picture.

LEADING charity Reunite says internationally it dealt with 398 abduction cases involving 596 children in 2011.

Of those kids 380 were from the UK.

Children and Families Across Borders assistant manager Marek Ganther estimates the figure in Britain last year would have been around 400 children.

But the true scale of the plague of international child abduction can only be guessed at.

PACT (Parents & Children Together) was founded in 1999 by Lady Catherine Meyer, whose own children were abducted in Germany by her former husband in 1994.

Their ‘Every Five Minutes’ report published in 2005 was scathing of the British system for tracking and recording missing children.

Estimates for all missing children, included those taken abroad, ranged between 100,000 and 180,000.

The report said an analysis of the UK’s ‘multiplicity of available sources of information’ showed that ‘the raw materials for effective responses to the problem of missing and abducted children in the UK is at best incomplete, at worst virtually non-existent’.

It concluded: ‘Before all else what is now required is a change in attitude on the part of government, police, and society as a whole, so that much higher priority is given to children who go missing.’

International child abduction is a growing problem. More marriages are breaking down leading to more disputes over custody.

The breakdown of international borders is equally important. Marriages between people of different nationality are increasing – leading to potential problems should the relationship fail.

Whereas a disgruntled parent may previously have taken a child 100 miles up the road to get away from their former partner, they are now returning home to far flung corners of the globe.

Disputes over custody and access can be further exacerbated by differences in culture and in the legal system of the two countries involved.

So what can our Government do to help? And is it enough?

The Foreign Office’s own website suggests that support and advice is the best it can do if a child has been taken abroad.

It breaks down child abduction into three categories: abduction, wrongful retention – such as in Ken’s case where a child has been retained in a foreign country following an overseas trip – and threat of abduction.

What happens next depends on whether the country a child has been abducted to has signed up to the Hague Convention or not.

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an agreement between certain countries which aims to ensure the return of an abducted child to the country they normally live in.

Issues of custody and access can then be decided in that country.

If a country is signed up to Hague, so the theory goes, it should be a simple process to get a child back home again.

If a child is taken to a non-Hague country the left-behind parent has to apply for custody and permission to bring their child home through the courts of that country.

In these cases the Child Abduction Service can provide lists of English-speaking lawyers and interpreters, share general information on dealing with abduction cases to a particular country and on custody issues and travel.

But the website is also open as to what the Foreign Office says it can’t do: The Government can’t be involved in any attempts to ‘rescue’ children; offer legal advice or interfere in the legal system of another country; or pay any legal, travel or accommodation costs.

Such rules mean parents like Ken can be left to fight their own battles.

Speaking in October, he slammed the Government for allowing ‘abductors to laugh in the face of the law’.

“I would like to see Government bring through some sort of legislation on international child abduction,” he said.

“It would be good if something could be put in place so that left behind parents get some financial help. I have colossal legal fees that need to be addressed and no choice but to meet them myself.

“The Government need to start getting involved in the whole issue of child abduction. There needs to be reciprocal agreements.

“I’m not saying my situation is more important than other things the Government have to tackle, but it is important to me and my children and as long as it continues other would be abductors continue to laugh in the face of the law.”

Lady Meyer’s sons Alexander and Constantin, then aged nine and seven, were abducted by their German father, although she had been awarded custody. Over the next nine years, she saw them for only a few hours, faced endless court applications and spent thousands of pounds.

Only now they have grown up has she managed to re-ignite a relationship with the boys.

She insists the problem is much more widespread than the Government realises. In an interview with The Times, she said: “The Government does not collect exact figures, so we don’t know the true scale of the problem.

“Our Government and our courts should be much tougher and protect British citizens much better. We should expose these injustices. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office should put pressure on governments abroad.

“We should follow the example of the French and the Americans, who seem to be more active in defending their victim parents.

“Children are often kidnapped after a holiday abroad or taken during contact visits.

“Sadly, even the Hague Convention does not work as well as it should.

“In the UK, we seem to be playing by the rules and our judges have one of the highest rates of returning children who have been abducted and brought to the UK from abroad. But other countries do not necessarily abide by the rules as we do.”

And Children and Families Across Borders’ Marek Ganther, who has operated his own child abduction project in Libya for nine years, believes the Government could do more.

He said: “I think I have a slightly different version of the Government’s policy in the affairs of a sovereign nation.

“On occasions they do interfere… in Ken’s case I believe that what the British Government can do is keep the pressure on the Zambian Government to say ‘we are not losing sight of this case’.

“I would suspect and hope that something is going on behind the scenes.

“This is not the sort of thing the Government is likely to admit to doing, but it does go on.

“It is important for left-behind parents to make sure the Government is doing something.

“They wouldn’t do anything unless there is pressure on them.”

Reunite, which works closely with the Government on the issue of child abduction, presents a somewhat different picture.

Advice line manager Sharon Cooke said: “Government departments are doing all they can for parents.

“In most cases the child involved is a dual national, and therefore a national of the country to which they have been removed, and when dealing with the overseas country we are governed by the laws of the country and cannot be seen to be breaking that law.

“As well as raising individual cases at a diplomatic level, government departments also promote the use of mediation, which can be a successful tool for securing a child’s return or for ensuring the child is able to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents.

“Much of the work undertaken by the Government departments is unnoticed as it goes on behind the scenes. They are always striving to build relationships with other countries and encourage countries to become members of the Hague Convention.”

But Mr Ganther said more needs to be done to prevent abductions taking place in the first place.

“It is a huge problem. We are extremely bad at preventing abductions,” he said.

“One of the reasons is that the border agency has a greater interest in people entering than leaving the country.

“They are not bothered about who leaves. If you want to get out of the UK there are not that many checks.

“If you want to abduct a child go on Eurostar, hop on a ferry. You are more likely to be caught on a plane, but lots of people still get through airports.

“Recently I heard that some police officers even believe a mother can abduct her child. There have been cases where police have escorted a parent and child to the airport to put them on a plane.

“And some of these officers refuse to consult senior officers who might tell them what they should be doing because they think they know better.”

Mr Ganther believes that different countries present a variety of issues that need to be handled in different ways – and said that Hague is far from the final solution.

“The Arabic countries and Muslim states, because of their legislation, beliefs, cultures and traditions, are never going to sign up to Hague because of the conflicts with their own laws,” he said.

“You need to look at the laws in different countries, what conventions they have and what ways you can get round these.

“One example is that all but two countries in the world are signed up to the UN convention on the rights of a child, which says that a child is entitled to have contact with both parents unless there are very good reasons why they shouldn’t be.

“There are other ways this problem can be addressed.

“If it is a Hague country we address parents on the processes and suggest the avenues that they can go down. Some countries operate it much more speedily than others. There are some which would appear to favour their own citizens rather than following the legislation.

“With countries that are not signed up to Hague we can try to mediate with our colleagues in those countries speaking to the parent there. For that to work both parents need to be agreeable to engage in discussions.

“There is very little information for people, One of the problems is when a trans-cultural or racial marriage breaks down that is usually where these difficulties come.

“Currently with the Libya situation we have had groups of 20 or more come over. If I had told them don’t enter this marriage because the dangers are A, B and C most say they would not have listed anyway as they were in love.

“Half of these women alienated their families by wanting to marry a foreigner so they wouldn’t have wanted advice on what to do if the relationship was to fail.”

Via its advice line Reunite provides information for parents and assists in international contact issues.

But the charity also concentrates on prevention.

Ms Cooke said: “Parental child abduction causes real harm to children who can suffer great emotional trauma, a trauma which can remain with them throughout their lives.”

Reunite produce Child Abduction Prevention Guides which advise how to proceed if a parent believes their child is at risk of abduction.

The group also runs an outreach programme to raise public awareness of the issue.

So is there a solution to the problem?

“As long as relationships break down you are going to have an issue,” said Mr Ganther.

“Hague assumes neither parent is going to let the other one win. The children end up being an afterthought.

“Basically if there is a relationship breakdown the trick is to keep the lines of communication open because once they are shut it is difficult to open them again.

“As part of a long term solution if you can keep talking and bite your tongue that helps. Often one person will hope enough provocation will make things so difficult that the other half gives up.

“Many won’t give up. It can still be festering years afterwards and you can’t relive that lost time, not mothers or fathers or children. They are all victims.”

Lady Meyer is more forthright: “The solution is for governments and parents to realise the irreversible harm done to children who are forcibly separated from one of their parents.”

Perhaps only then can the 400-odd people embroiled in international child abduction every year find a solution.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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