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Lawyers alarmed at criminal charges in family cases
During his 20 years as a criminal defence lawyer, Joseph Neuberger has defended more than 400 cases involving charges arising from domestic relationships. Many, he says, relate to separation and bitter family court battles.
"Over the past 10 years, I have noticed an increase in the prevalence of these types of offences with a disturbing trend to use the criminal process as a quick means to obtain exclusive possession of the matrimonial home and thwart custody and access to the children of the relationships," says Neuberger.
"I have successfully established fabrication in at least 15 per cent of the cases with very clear contradictions in evidence, including differences in affidavit evidence tendered in the family court proceedings.
Yet not one case resulted in charges being laid against the complainant."
The absence of witnesses makes prosecution of false allegations difficult. While Neuberger emphasizes the need to take legitimate cases seriously, he worries there isn't much in place to prevent a spouse from fabricating an allegation.