Cross-examination of the Father

Cross-examination of the Father

Edmonson & Edmonson [2016] FCCA 1377 (17 June 2016)

The Father Under Cross-examination By Counsel For The Mother

  1. Counsel put it to the father that he had been charged with threat to kill. He said he had contacted the police officer last week and was told that there had been no change. He said that nothing had been served on him. He denied that he had been charged with a breach of Intervention Order and a threat to kill.
  2. The father said he was a (religion omitted). He separated from the mother on 24 December 2014 when she went to a refuge. He had no idea that this would take place, although there were some issues the day before. These were embarrassing issues.
  3. The father said that in November to December 2014, the mother called Mr C (this is a phonetic rendering of what the father said). The father said, “[h]e sat with us for three to four days and we gave him $5,000.” Following the Christmas party in December 2014, the father picked him up. After that, the mother said he was not a problem but then a week later he left the house. I would interpolate and say that the inference that I understood that I was being asked to draw was that the mother was in a relationship with Mr C and left the father because of this.
  4. The father said he had known Mr C for a year. He said, “normally, we call him Mr C.” It was put to him that he had denied knowing Mr C to the police and he denied lying to the police. He said, “[m]aybe this was because English is not my first language. I cannot remember what I said.”
  5. I would interpolate and say that this passage of the evidence was given in a manner that I found thoroughly unconvincing.
  6. The father denied any police involvement and denied being violent at work. He said this was a false allegation. He denied that he was dismissed for being violent when he was working in 2013 as a (occupation omitted). It was put to the father that one day a customer was derogatory to him and that as a result, he followed the person out and punched him. The father said this was not true and he did not do it. He said this was the wife’s fiction. He completely denied violence throughout the entirety of the relationship. It was put to him that he had told the wife that, if she walked off, she would die, to which he responded, “[w]hen could I say this? She was working.” It was also put to him that he had threatened honour killings and acid burnings and to cut off the head of the mother if she left him and he denied these categorically. He denied saying that he would put acid on the child. He denied saying, “[w]herever you go, I will find you.” He denied punching A in the face and said that he had not told A that she could not have a boyfriend. It was put to the father that he had shown videos of honour killings to the mother and the children and he denied this strongly. He said that he did not force them to watch videos, nor did he show them women being stoned to death. He denied saying, in respect to such women, “they deserve it.” He denied breaking A’s phone and denied saying that A’s father was a homosexual and a failure. He denied having a temper.
  7. When it was put to him that he had had arguments with the mother, he said, “[o]f course I have had arguments with her. She was working too much.” He said, “[t]he mother worked like a man.” He said, “[w]e have two children. She was working 60 hours.”
  8. The father was next cross-examined about the (omitted) incident. He approached the mother and X. He said he was going to the Centre to park his car. He saw the mother and X and said the mother approached him to shake his hand. He said, “hi” and she told him to go away. He went to his car. He drove past them again. He denied saying, “I’m still your husband,” and the other alarming matters asserted by the wife. He said he had seen the mother with Mr C, but denied that he had made a threat to kill the mother if he saw Mr C. He denied running his finger across his throat in the presence of the mother and X. He denied X was crying at all and said he did not see her. He denied that X said,“[h]e was going to kill us” and he denied that the mother threatened to call the police. He said he did not know he was in trouble in terms of breaching the Intervention Order and did not know that the mother had rung the supervisor. He said of course he was worried. He had done nothing wrong. He rang the supervisor, Ms G, because he knew he would be coming back to Court. He said that day was the settlement date for the parties’ properties. He was happy with the outcome but the mother was not happy because she had received a solicitor’s bill of $45,000. He accused the wife of inventing all aspects of the incident, save that the part he admitted. He asked rhetorically (as he did as he responded to a number of questions), “[w]hy did she not call the police on the spot?” He denied banging the wheel of the car. He said this was just an accident.
  9. The father said he knew the mother historically. Allegations against her ex-husband were of a similar character. He said he did not see the mother on her phone during the incidents. He then, however, changed his evidence and said that he saw her holding the phone. He did not see X cry. He did not call X to come to him and did not drive past her twice. He denied again the hand gesture across his throat.
  10. It was put to the father that he made a considerable number of calls to Ms G. He said he had called her some three to four times and texted her three to four times. He went to the police immediately after the incident. He went to (omitted) Police after work that night. He then went to (omitted) Police.
  11. The father asserted he had a good relationship with X.

The Father Under Cross-examination By Counsel For The Independent Children’s Lawyer

  1. The father said he had tried to tell the supervisor, Ms G, what the incident was. He said he did not do anything wrong. The mother waved her hand and he got in his car. He said, “I know what she tries to do.” He saw the mother when he got out of his car. She was 10 to 15 metres away and he was one metre from his car. He was asked by counsel why he did not get back into his car and he prevaricated. His answer was thoroughly unconvincing. He said, “[t]his was my mistake.” He said, “[i]t’s the biggest mistake of my whole life.” When it was put to him that he was aware there was an Intervention Order in place at the time, the father obfuscated again. He said he had no idea the mother did not wish to see him and no idea he should not talk to her. Once again, I would interpolate the father’s evidence was given in an entirely unconvincing way and I do not believe for a moment that he was unaware that the mother did not wish to see him nor that he was breaching the terms of the Intervention Order, as counsel, in fact, conceded he did.
  2. The father said he proposed changeover at (omitted). He said maybe the mother said something to him during the (omitted) incident. It was an accident he had to drive past her and he had not seen X. He had not seen if the wife was crying while she was on the telephone. He knew she was uncomfortable from her body language.
  3. The father was taken to Ms M’s report at paragraph 32 and he remembered the incident. When it was put to him that X should not be required to pass messages to the mother, he agreed that this was so. He said the parties should communicate by email or text message.
  4. When taken to Ms C’s report at page 9 of 38, describing the changeover, the father denied that X was anxious at the start of the first meeting. It is clear from the terms of Ms C’s report (she was not required for cross-examination) that this is incorrect.
  5. It was put to the father that he had smacked X but he denied this. He said, “[n]ever, I adore my child. I would never hit her.” He has never had to discipline her. He denied ever telling the mother that he would slap children to educate them. He said the Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) had interviewed the children. There had been a similar incident with the mother’s ex-husband and she told X to make disclosures. He said, even in (country omitted), the mother was trying to put her former husband out. She accused him of assault and this was false. “She said she teaches the kid.” It was abuse but he had to keep silent.
  6. When it was put to him that A had told Ms S that he threatened to burn her arm, he said, “[t]his is not true. Never.” Counsel put to the father an extract from page 35 of 38 of Ms C’s report. Counsel put various passages where the father was seeking to question X as to who was present at the family report. He admitted that he wanted to ask who had attended the report. And he admitted that he said he wanted to ask X why she had lied. He said, “her mum teaches her that.”
  7. The father said the mother was harassing him at work by making false allegations. He said she has contacted Centrelink and told a lie to stop him getting benefits.
  8. Once again, I interpolate that this evidence, most particularly about the alleged harassment at work, was utterly unconvincing.
  9. Counsel put it to the father that X was scared of him when he was angry and recalled being smacked. He replied that this was not true and that the mother puts her up to it. He said, “before we come to Court there is always some allegation.” He said he did not want to have any contact with the mother at all but that email or text would be okay.
  10. The father gave details of his expenses and earnings. He said he was living with a friend. He said he pays $1,000 per month rent or $270 per week. It emerged, in fact, that there is a house at the front and a unit at the back which the father lives in. His mother is shortly going to return to (country omitted) and the unit has normal facilities. He said he works as a (occupation omitted) and does the roster so he can take time off during school holidays.
  11. At this point, by agreement or at least with no significant objection, a tape was played of an interview of the father with the police. This was about the (omitted) incident. The father relevantly said that he works until 2.00 pm in a (employer omitted) in (omitted). He works two jobs. One is from 6.00 am until 2.00 pm and the other from 5.00 pm until midnight in (omitted). It was a rush. He parked and saw the mother and X. He spoke in (language omitted). X asked him to come to her and the wife said, “[d]on’t get close to me.” He said, “[e]very Sunday we talk to each other. On the first visit she came and shook my hand.” He said that the incident occurred because on the Friday there had been settlement in respect to the parties’ houses. He had to give the wife $65,000, but her lawyer’s bill of $45,368 was larger than she had thought and she got mad. She lost the house and money as well. She knew the parties were returning to Court soon and there is an Intervention Order in place. He said, “[h]i, X.” This was normal. He said he did not trust the wife who did the same thing with her ex-husband. He said that the allegations about the incident were just revenge because of the $45,000 legal fees. He denied that the wife said, “[d]on’t come or I’ll report you to the police.” When it was put to him that he said he had seen her with Mr C, he replied, “I don’t know Mr C. Who is Mr C?”
  12. Further cross-examination by counsel for the mother did not take the matter further.
  13. In re-examination, counsel asked the applicant what he meant when he said, “[w]ho is Mr C?” The father said the fact that he said, “[w]ho is Mr C?” does not mean that he did not know him. I have to say this answer is utterly unbelievable. The father was clearly lying to the police when he said, “[w]ho is Mr C?” as though he did not know him.


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