CHATHAM, March 31, 2005 ( – In September 2003 Jonathan England and his wife Marla moved to the UK with their three daughters, who are Canadian citizens. The Englands, however, had only lived one year in the UK before Mrs. England abandoned the family to enter into a lesbian relationship. She and her lesbian partner are now attempting to get custody of the three girls, ten year-old Leah, Hannah, 7, and Nicola, 5.

On Sept. 9, 2004, England took his daughters back to Canada to visit his sick mother. After arriving in Chatham, he decided to stay. His wife, Marla England notified the United Kingdom’s High Commission, invoking the Hague Convention and demanded the girls be returned. The Convention, to which Canada is signatory, states that custody battles must be fought in the country where a family makes its “habitual residence.”

An Ontario judge, ruled that the girls must, under the Convention, be returned to their mother’s care in the UK. However, the girls themselves refused to be taken away from their father.

On Friday March 11, when they were to be taken to the Chatham police station to be turned over to their mother, the girls refused to leave. A second attempt was made on March 13, and the girls, screaming and crying, refused to get out of the car. When the girls arrived back with their father, Leah said, “I told you I’d be back, daddy.”

Ten year-old Leah said, in an interview on March 14, “We really, really don’t want to go.”

The reprieve, however, was a short one. Judge Lucy Glenn, yesterday ruled that the children must be returned to Britain where a judge can decide custody. The girls were calm when they left Chatham’s Integrated Children’s Services building with their mother yesterday.

Jonathan England’s lawyer had presented a report by a clinical psychologist who concluded the girls would “be seriously, psychologically harmed” if forced to go to Britain.


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