The B.C. Court of Appeal has upheld a Surrey man’s child abduction conviction for trying to take his four kids to Egypt without his wife’s consent.
In July 2013, police were called to the couple’s home for a reported domestic dispute. The man, who can only be identified as M.E.H., was arrested and released and his wife, N.H., who wanted out of the marriage, was taken to a transition house. While she wanted to take her children with her, she was told she could not do so without a court order.
When police left, M.E.H. packed his and the children’s belongings and drove to Seattle. In the meantime, N.H. had obtained a court order denying her husband parenting time and forbidding him from taking the children outside B.C. When she went to the home, it was clear M.E.H. and the kids had “left town in a hurry.”
Police located them about to board a flight to Egypt. The dad-of-four was charged with four counts of child abduction.
During his trial, the couple’s eldest daughter testified her father frightened the kids by saying the government would apprehend them, and offered to hide them by going to the U.S. and then to Egypt. She said her dad had wanted to move the family to Egypt before but her mom didn’t want to because of the ongoing civil war and unrest there.
M.E.H. claimed he had his wife’s permission to take the children, and produced June 2013 school registration forms from Surrey Connect signed by his wife indicating the kids were “travelling students.”
In appealing his conviction, he argued the judge made errors in assessing evidence with regard to consent and intent.
Three appeal court judges disagreed, dismissing the appeal and upholding the provincial court judgment.
“The judge accepted there were earlier plans for a possible move to Egypt, but those plans changed before July 17, 2013,” wrote Justice Anne MacKenzie in a Feb. 19 decision.