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CFS 'doctored' stepdaughter's interview: father in child-custody case

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/6/2009 (4020 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

He's terrible at taking notes, and stumbled when asked the precise age of his two children.

But the man involved in a high-profile custody dispute said Tuesday that it's records from Manitoba Child and Family Services that he questions.

He told court that he doubts the accuracy of an interview of his eight-year-old stepdaughter by a CFS worker last March where the girl allegedly talked about killing "n-----s."

He said he believes some of the interview was "doctored" by the worker. He was not in the room when it was conducted, he said.

"(She) didn't speak like that at home...I don't trust CFS," he said, adding he was "in shock" when he heard of the girl's conversation with the CFS worker, which included graphic details about beating people of another race to death.

"I've seen them switch my words around, too."

The man, who is estranged from the children's mother, is battling for custody of the girl and her three-year-old brother.

Manitoba Child and Family Services is seeking a permanent order of guardianship for the two Winnipeg children. The government agency claims the children's parents are unfit to raise them, in part due to emotional abuse caused by their white supremacist beliefs.

The children's mother has left Manitoba after being arrested by Winnipeg police last week for five charges related to credit card fraud. She told court in a brief appearance she does not feel equipped to take care of the children full-time.

However, her husband maintains he wants to continue raising his biological son and stepdaughter. He was under cross-examination Tuesday morning and afternoon.

He taught his daughter people of different races should live in different countries, he said. However, he said he did not force his beliefs on the girl.

"She can make up her own mind," he said. "I wasn't taught my beliefs...they just appeared slowly over time."

He acknowledged to court he did poorly in school and struggled with alcohol and drugs from around age 12 or 13. Earlier this week, he also said he suffers Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia.

Court also heard a submission on behalf on the Free Press to reverse a decision that bans court reporter Mike McIntyre from covering the trial.

Queen's Bench Justice Marianne Rivoalen told McIntyre The Child and Family Services Act prohibits the publication of the names of witnesses. The Free Press is opposing the ban because it is unprecedented, and infringes on freedom of expression.

"The order may have significant and wide-reaching impact on the rights of media and results, in effect, in the Court selecting who may or may not report on a trial," lawyer Nicole Watson wrote in her submission.

Watson argued banning McIntyre was unnecessary to ensure the proper conduct of the trial and amounted to a punitive measure which singled out McIntyre when other media outlets which had broadcast the name of parties or witnesses at the trial had not experienced a similar ban.

However, CFS lawyer Issie Frost told court McIntyre is a reporter with extensive experience and the ban should remain.

He said reversing the decision would make a "mockery of the legislation" that exists to protect confidentiality of those involved in the trial.

The judge has reserved her decision until Thursday.

gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca
 

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