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Dec 17, 2015

International Abduction Case of Baby Nina Barrera Perez Adjourned

Nina Charlotte Barrera Perez

Baby Nina Charlotte Barrera Perez will remain in a foster home through the Christmas holidays, as the matter was adjourned in Family Court today. The two year old was removed from her mother’s custody in November. Her father claims that the child was taken out of Guatemala illegally by the mother, Analiz Gutierrez, while the matter of custody was still before a court in that country. Today, attorneys representing Gutierrez and the Human Services Department emerged to provide an update on legal proceedings to determine the immediate fate of baby Nina.

 

Melissa Balderamos-Mahler

Melissa Balderamos-Mahler, Attorney for Human Services Department

“The matter was set for hearing this morning in terms of the substantive application which is for the return of this child to Guatemala. As you know this child is a Guatemalan child. From the birth certificate of the child she is from Guatemala parents. We are informed that there were pending proceedings in Guatemala. The mother has removed the child without the father’s consent, and the laws of Guatemala state that both parents share legal custody. So the father shared his complaint with the relevant authorities in Guatemala. That complaint was channelled through the Hague Convention. The Department as the central authority under the Hague Convention commenced the application in Court asking for the child to be removed, so this morning the hearing started. I made the legal arguments on behalf of the department. I basically went through the application, went through the documents that have been presented, the Hague Convention and the social inquiry report, because the Department had to do an investigation into the matter. Mr. Cardona, the Counsel for the mother of the child, has asked for the mother to be able to give evidence. It is outside of the normal procedure because normally for applications like these, very similar to extradition proceedings, the Court would proceed on the basis of the papers filed, and the Court would hear legal arguments in favour of the request and against. So the Court has allowed time…the Court adjourned the matter to an early date in January for the mother to give evidence, and the learned Magistrate has indicated that he will also give the father the same opportunity to be heard, to put his position forth.”

 

Marcel Cardona

Marcel Cardona, Attorney for Analiz Gutierrez

“The adjournment is going to offer us the opportunity of being able to deal with the matters, not only on paper, but physically with the persons that are actually – I’m speaking specifically of the father where he has made some bold assertions, where he has sought to invoke the provisions under the Hague Convention on the international abduction of children. I am confident that upon his appearance, if he does appear, we will be able to extract information to prove that he has not been truthful in his application before the contracting party in Guatemala. He has not been truthful. He has told many mistruths and half truths and has distorted factual information so we’re looking forward to his appearance.”

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