Court provisionally upholds father's request for daughter to stay in Malta
A court has provisionally upheld a Briton's request to keep his 10-year-old daughter in Malta pending a hearing on Thursday.
Richard Bridge is involved in a protracted legal battle with his former wife over their daughter, Ella.
The Family Court had upheld a request from the biological mother for the daughter to be returned to the UK. The request was made in terms of provisions on the international abduction of minors listed in the Hague Convention. She successfully argued that her permission was needed before her daughter was taken away from the UK. Under the convention there is, however, a provision stating that if one parent, in this case the mother, was not exercising her right of custody, taking a child out of the country would not be an offence. The daughter has never lived with her mother alone and contact has been rare.
The father is arguing that the girl's express wishes were never properly heard and lawyer Aron Mifsud Bonnici has filed a constitutional case claiming a breach of the girl's right to a fair hearing.
The girl herself has publically declared that she wishes to stay in Malta.
"I'm worried I have to go back to England. I love my family and I don't want to be split up. I like it here in Malta," she told The Sunday Times.
She goes to primary school here, is picking up the language and has joined the Malta Girl Guides.
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