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family court Man who allegedly made his son (9) drive car before it crashed denied access to boy

A court ordered reports states 'the boy does want to see his dad'

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A father lost access to his nine year old son after an incident where the father allegedly made his son drive a car that crashed into a parked car, a court has heard.

At the Family Law Court, solicitor for the man, John Battles told Judge Mary Larkin that his client “is desperate now to see his son and get back seeing the child” after not seeing him since earlier this year.

Mr Battles said that his client denies that the incident involving the boy - now aged 10 - behind the wheel of the car took place.

Mr Battles said that discussions concerning restarting access have taken place with his client’s estranged partner “and we haven’t been able to move it on”.

Mr Battles said that a court ordered report “does say that the boy wants to see his Dad”.

Judge Larkin stated that the report also says that the son “wants his father to cop-on and be a father”.

In response, solicitor for the mother, Shiofra Hassett stated that access was suspended earlier this year “after an incident in January where the boy came home and said that his father made him drive his car and the car crashed into an another car”.

The father said in court “that did not happen” and Ms Hassett said that the father has continued to deny that it happened.

Ms Hassett stated that over a three year period, “the father didn’t take up access with his son and that was his own decision”.

Ms Hassett stated that “the mother will always try to facilitate a relationship with the boy if he is looking for it but she has huge concerns over the father’s ability to take appropriate care of the boy during access”.

Ms Hassett stated that access will need to be supervised and the father has taken it up on a very ad hoc basis over the years.

She added that access should be supervised, take place in a public place “and under no circumstances should the father travel in his car with his son”.

Judge Larkin told Mr Battles that if she permits unsupervised access, “you are saying that I am to ignore what the child says in the report and the car incident”.

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Judge Larkin stated that there is a huge level of dissonance and toxicity between the parents “and I want to find out what the child wants”.

Judge Larkin stated that access would remain suspended pending a ‘voice of the child’ report to be carried out by an expert.

Judge Larkin stated that the father is denying what took place with the child and the car and the father stated “Judge there was an accident. I am not denying that”.

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