Alberta judge refuses to move forward with extradition for woman who fled France

EDMONTON — A judge has delivered a legal victory to a mother who fled to Alberta from France with her two children over allegations her ex-husband sexually abused the youngsters.

The Crown, representing France, had asked the court to dismiss an application from the woman, which was holding up her extradition hearing.

In a written ruling released Monday, Justice Anna Loparco of Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton refused. She said the allegations of sexual abuse need to be examined further by French authorities.

The court decision says the woman, who can’t be identified, had initiated divorce proceedings in 2015 and complained to French police that her children had been abused.

Police closed the investigation in 2017 without charges, so the woman left France with her children before the divorce was finalized and relocated to Alberta. When she didn’t return, her ex-husband went to police and filed a complaint.

A French court subsequently awarded full custody to the father and issued an arrest warrant for the woman on abduction charges. The Canadian government is seeking to extradite her back to France, but she has filed an abuse of process application.

In her ruling refusing to throw the application out, Loparco said she reviewed the woman’s affidavit and those of the children and it is clear that the allegations of sexual assault need to be more fully reviewed.

“The disclosure, on its face, could amount to sexual abuse. Taken at its highest the evidence reveals that the French police failed to prosecute a crime,” she wrote.

“Her evidence should be fully explored to determine if there was misconduct by the French police or courts leading to the extradition process that could result in serious injustice if the extradition hearing were to proceed.”

Loparco said the woman’s position is that French police and courts failed to protect her children and left her with no choice but to flee the country.

“She argues that the extradition process … is being used to force her to … leave her children behind in Canada or to return them to the hands of a sexual predator,” Loparco wrote.

The ruling opens the door for the woman to seek a stay of proceedings on the extradition order.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2020

By Bill Graveland in Calgary

Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Ambulance dispatch should be kept local,’ says Red Deer mayor

Four Alberta mayors meet with Minister of Health on Thursday

Central zone down to 19 active COVID-19 cases on Thursday

Provincially, 158 new COVID-19 cases were identified

Empty Red Deer hotels could be purchased to create more affordable housing

City and its housing partners will be applying for a new federal program to reduce homelessness

As Agri-Trade neared exhibitors had second thoughts

Agricultural show cancelled rather than fall short of expectations

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

Davis, Lakers beat Nuggets to take 3-1 lead in West finals

Davis, Lakers beat Nuggets to take 3-1 lead in West finals

Heat get chance Friday to oust Celtics, reach NBA Finals

Heat get chance Friday to oust Celtics, reach NBA Finals

Russian Olympic biathlon champion loses Sochi doping case

Russian Olympic biathlon champion loses Sochi doping case

Raptors coach Nurse says he needs to ‘decompress’ from this season

Raptors coach Nurse says he needs to ‘decompress’ from this season

Canadian rookie receiver Claypool is impressing early with Pittsburgh Steelers

Canadian rookie receiver Claypool is impressing early with Pittsburgh Steelers

Iditarod preps for any scenario as 2021 race plans proceed

Iditarod preps for any scenario as 2021 race plans proceed

Pac-12 to kick off 7-game football season in early November

Pac-12 to kick off 7-game football season in early November

Penguins trade 2-time Cup winner Hornqvist to Panthers

Penguins trade 2-time Cup winner Hornqvist to Panthers

Most Read