A seven year old boy was at the centre of a courtroom drama yesterday when
he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him.
The boy, whose name was suppressed by the court, has a history of being
beaten by his parents and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt,
in keeping with the child custody law and regulations requiring that family
unity be maintained to the degree possible.
However, the boy surprised the court when he made an unsworn statement to
the effect that his aunt beat him more than his parents and his lawyers
declared that he adamantly refused to live with her.
When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy's
lawyer told the court that they also used to beat him.
After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that
domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took
the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have
custody of him.
After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child welfare
officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the South Sydney Football
Club, whom the boy firmly believes are not capable of beating anyone.