Addiction to Meth not reasonable excuse – Narra & Farley  FCCA 3335 (18 December 2015)
Last Updated: 21 January 2016
FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT OF AUSTRALIA
CHILD SUPPORT – Enforcement of Orders.FAMILY LAW – Contravention – sanctions for failure to comply with orders – imprisonment – whether contravention was intentional or fraudulent – whether in all the circumstances it would not be appropriate to deal with the contravention pursuant to any other paragraph of Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) s.112AD(2).FAMILY LAW – Contravention – addiction to methamphetamine held not a reasonable excuse for contravening court orders.
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Delay – discretion to refuse relief – unwarrantable and poorly explained delay.
The following is annotated. For full case: http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/cth/FCCA/2015/3335.html?stem=0&synonyms=0&query=family%20law%20act
The Respondent’s Evidence
- On 15 December, when the Respondent appeared, he asked if the proceedings could be conducted in a closed court. He said that he would have great difficulty in conducting his own case, which involved re-opening the proceedings, if he were required to speak in open court. Mr McCulloch indicated his consent to this unusual request and I agreed that the proceedings could be held in a closed court.
- It is the Respondent’s evidence that he is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Whilst he appeared distressed and agitated, he did not provide any medical evidence in support of this assertion.
- The Respondent also said that he had been working on a casual basis driving heavy trucks but had been dismissed from his employment the previous Friday. He blamed the Applicant for interfering and causing his employer to dismiss him. He was initially reluctant to disclose the name of his former employer, until directed to by the Court, as he was hoping to get his job back.
- Disturbingly, the Respondent also stated that he had an addiction to methamphetamine, commonly known as “ice”. He said that he had been paying up to $1,200.00 per week to support his addiction. He declined to reveal how he was able to make that sort of an income to pay $1,200.00 per week to support his drug habit, and I decided not to apply the provisions of s.128 of the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth).
- The Respondent was warned from the Bench about the consequences of driving a motor vehicle, particularly a heavy transport vehicle, whilst under the influence of an illicit drug.
- I am satisfied on the evidence that all three contraventions have been made out to the requisite evidentiary standard, namely the balance of probabilities. In each case he has either intentionally failed to comply with the order or made no reasonable attempt to comply with the order ( Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), s.112AB).
- The Respondent has not made out a reasonable excuse in respect of any of the three contraventions ( Family Law Act 1975 , s.112AC). It need hardly be stated that a claim of addiction to an illicit drug will not be regarded as a reasonable excuse for contravening a court order.