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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 

Ontario judge grants Lev Tahor appeal, ruling children don't have to return to Quebec

Not very pleasing judgement was made, even if some of the children will remain in local children's service's foster care:
Lev Tahor won a legal victory in Ontario this week, with a decision on appeal striking down the order for some of the Jewish sect’s children to return to Quebec and be placed in foster care.

Superior Court Justice Lynda Templeton overturned Justice Stephen Fuerth’s Feb. 3 ruling that upheld the Quebec order. As a result, the 14 children subject to the order will not be returned to Quebec, and Chatham-Kent Children’s Services is now in charge of their wellbeing.

Templeton ruled not only that Fuerth erred, but also that returning the children to Quebec would not be in their best interest.

“Even if I were wrong with respect to any or all of the above, I am entirely satisfied that it would be contrary to the best interests of these children to be returned to Quebec. I decline to visit upon the children the consequences of the conduct of their parents,” Templeton wrote.

But she also expressed concern over their wellbeing, based on evidence that included allegations of “suppression or limitation of critical thought in (the sect’s) children” and underage marriage. “These two factors alone are sufficient to cause the court grave concern about the health and welfare of these children and their protection,” she wrote. [...]

Denis Baraby, director of the Quebec youth protection agency that initiated the case, remains concerned about the welfare of the community’s children. In November he sought apprehension warrants for as many as 114 children in addition to the 14 subject to the court proceeding.

Baraby says the agency has run out of options for getting anything enforced in Ontario. But he has no intention of revoking the Quebec warrants, which have kept some children from getting passports.

“If the parents leave and go to a place like Guatemala, then we just permit the sect to go on. My intent is to keep these warrants active until I’m satisfied that the children are not at risk,” Baraby said.

Queen’s University law professor Nicholas Bala said the decision highlights a gap in the law: “The specific issue in this case is, because of the judge’s ruling, we now have an authoritative view that we don’t have a way of enforcing child welfare orders from another province.”
Granted, the children who were taken into custody may remain with the local authorities for some time. But the professor and Baraby are right; this is otherwise a very galling judgement that was made, allowing the cult to break the law and otherwise endanger the welfare of the children by being able to run between provincial lines under the confidence the authorities in the next one will rule in their favor. Some of the commentors on the Windsor Star's article are mad at the judge, with good reason. Keeping them away from potentially abusive parents is necessary, and if they're out of their hands, they can be out of their influence more easily.

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