Father of abducted child taken to Japan 10 years ago wants greater awareness of international cases

Father of abducted child taken to Japan 10 years ago wants greater awareness of international cases

By Louisa Rebgetz Updated Tue at 10:10pm

Liam was abducted in 2005

Paul Brown’s son Liam was taken from Australia in 2005.

Supplied: Paul Brown

A Queensland father is calling for more awareness of international child abductions after his ex-wife fled the country with his son a decade ago.

Toowoomba father Paul Brown’s life was turned upside down when his two-year-old son Liam was abducted in 2005.

His ex-wife took him on a two-week holiday to Japan but never returned.

“I lost all my rights as a father,” he said.

“I suffered greatly from depression, it really ate away at me.

“I’m doing better with it now, I am coping with it but there was a time where I couldn’t even think about it or talk about it without breaking down in tears.”

He now networks with hundreds of parents in the same situation around the world and wants more awareness of the issue.

I’ve lost his childhood but hopefully by the time he is old enough I can at least share his adult years with him.

Paul Brown

“I think there needs to be a bit more international pressure to acknowledge that it is a crime,” he said.

Mr Brown now knows where his son lives in Japan, but so far has been refused access to him.

He holds out hope that one day they will be reunited.

“I’ve lost his childhood but hopefully by the time he is old enough I can at least share his adult years with him,” he said.

New guidelines for lawyers to be distributed this week

Brisbane-based family lawyer Geoffrey Sinclair deals with cases like Mr Brown’s all the time.

“We see one to two a month, where a parent has overstayed their time overseas or have taken the child overseas without the other parent’s consent,” he said.

Toowoomba's Paul Brown

Photo Toowoomba’s Paul Brown hopes to be reunited with his son one day.

ABC News

New guidelines on how best to deal with such cases are being distributed to lawyers across the country this week.

“What we are seeing particularly now is people retaining their children overseas when they have been granted permission or agreement to travel overseas, staying in that country longer than the consent has been provided for and at that stage it is then when the Hague Convention may come into play,” Mr Sinclair said.

The Hague Convention stands to prevent children being abducted and to ensure a speedy return between countries.

Japan officially became a signatory last year, joining more than 80 other countries including Australia.

“It is quite common to see that people will marry or form relationships with people overseas, more than they would 20 years ago, and as a result of that they tend to want to go back to their home once their relationship is struggling or have in fact separated from their spouse,” Mr Sinclair said.

Former soldier helps return children to parents at home

Some parents who have been victims of this have taken matters into their own hands, hiring help to bring their children home.

Ex-Australian Defence Force soldier Adam Whittington runs Child Abduction Recovery International, which returns children to the parents left behind.

His service was featured in a recent ITV documentary in the UK which showed a retrieval of a child in Poland.

“Nobody helps these parents and this is why we started helping originally because parents and these children are in dreadful situations,” Mr Whittington said.

He argues the Hague Convention is not worth the paper it is written on, and he only enforces the return of a child when a court has ordered it.

“Non-enforcement of the Hague rulings is why we are so busy … 95 per cent of our work is to enforce the court rulings,” he said.

“If the courts or the system [or] the Hague Convention had the system of enforcing what they actually rule then we would be mostly out of work.”

Posted Tue at 10:30am

Queen Elizabeth II becomes longest-reigning UK monarch

Queen Elizabeth II becomes longest-reigning UK monarch

BBC News

9 September 2015

Queen greets crowds in Edinburgh
Bad weather delayed the Queen’s arrival in Edinburgh

Cheering crowds have greeted the Queen in Edinburgh on the day she becomes Britain’s longest reigning monarch.

Bad weather delayed her arrival at Waverley Station, but the 89-year-old Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have now set off on the new Borders Railway.

The Queen will have reigned for 63 years and seven months – calculated at 23,226 days, 16 hours and approximately 30 minutes at about 17:30 BST.

David Cameron said the service the Queen had given was “truly humbling”.

Dressed in turquoise with her trusty black handbag at her side, the Queen smiled and waved to those gathered at the station on the day she passes the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

 In the day’s main events:

The exact moment the Queen becomes the longest-reigning sovereign is not known because her father, George VI, passed away in the early hours of 6 February 1952.

Her Majesty’s Milestone

Crowds in Edinburgh waiting for the QueenImage copyright PA
Image caption Crowds gathered in Edinburgh to welcome the Queen on her special day

Business in the Commons was postponed for half an hour so MPs, led by Mr Cameron, can pay tribute to the Queen.

The prime minister tweeted: “Over the last 63 years, Her Majesty has been a rock of stability in a world of constant change.

“It is only right that we should celebrate her extraordinary record, as well as the grace and dignity with which she serves our country.”

Nicola Sturgeon and the Queen inside the Border Railway
Image copyright Reuters
Nicola Sturgeon is joining the Queen on the Borders Railway
Pipe band greeting the QueenImage copyright PA
Image caption The Royal Party were welcomed by a traditional Scots pipe band

Mary Francis, one of her aides in the late 1990s, said the very private monarch could also be “great fun”.

“I’ve seen her on one of the last holidays on the Royal Yacht Britannia – the only time I ever saw the Queen wear trousers.

“She let her hair down. She told stories. She had everybody in fits of laughter so she can be very relaxed – at times.”


By BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell

It will be day 23,226 of her reign. The Queen is determined that it should in no way be exceptional.

She has let it be known with some emphasis that she does not want a fuss to be made.

It is evidently viewed as bad form for one long-lived queen to be seen in any way to be celebrating the passing of a record set by another long-lived queen.

But of course that is precisely why 9 September 2015 is notable in its way. Elizabeth II will become the longest-reigning monarch in British history, passing the record set by her great-great-grandmother Victoria.

And in an institution as old as the monarchy, that is a rather striking measure to add to the other memorable features of her reign.

She may not want there to be a fuss but it would seem that a good number of British citizens, to say nothing of those from further afield, believe that her record-breaking reign deserves a little recognition.

A constant amid gale-force changes

Buckingham Palace has released an official photograph to mark the occasion, taken by Mary McCartney in the Queen’s private audience room.

This is where she holds weekly audiences with prime ministers of the day, and receives visiting heads of state and government.

It is understood that Wednesday will be a normal working day for the monarch with no special celebration.

The Queen is taking her traditional summer break at this time of year at her private Scottish home, Balmoral.

Queens of the modern age

Queen Elizabeth and Queen VictoriaImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Elizabeth II has reigned for 63 years and seven months, beating Queen Victoria’s record
  • Victoria became queen at 18 while Elizabeth was 25
  • Elizabeth II rides in the same coach as Victoria did for the annual State Opening of Parliament
  • Both queens were shot at by a lone gunman while out riding near Buckingham Palace
  • Elizabeth loves the private royal estate at Balmoral, which was bought by Victoria
  • Victoria ruled over an empire of 400 million people. Elizabeth is head of state for 138 million people

Elizabeth and Victoria in numbers

Elizabeth II: Britain’s Diamond Queen

Woman who redefined the monarchy

Queen Victoria became queen at the age of 18 and ruled for 63 years, seven months and two days.

Queen Elizabeth’s reign has included 12 prime ministers, two more than served under Victoria.

One of those prime ministers, Conservative Sir John Major, rejected any suggestion the Queen had been too passive as head of state: “The monarchy wouldn’t be as popular if they were part of politics – they’re above and beyond it.

“But when the Queen meets her prime minister she has the opportunity to question, to ask, to counsel. Nobody knows and no prime minister is going to tell you exactly what happens at those meetings. So those who say she’s been too passive, how can they possibly know?”

‘Genuinely exceptional’

The Queen is Head of the Commonwealth and sovereign of 15 Commonwealth realms in addition to the UK, and the organisation’s Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, sent his congratulations.

“As a symbol of continuity during decades of unprecedented change, and by drawing our people together in their rich diversity, Her Majesty has embodied all that is best in the Commonwealth,” he said.

“With vision and dedication her example has encouraged successive generations of leaders and citizens to embrace the promise of the future.”

The Queen in new official photoImage copyright Buckingham Palace
The new photographs show the Queen with her official red box, containing the day’s policy papers, cabinet documents, Foreign Office telegrams and other letters

Anti-monarchist group Republic said the Queen’s long reign was a reason for reform not celebration.

Chief executive Graham Smith said: “It is now time for the country to look to the future and to choose a successor through free and fair elections, someone who can genuinely represent the nation.”

Source:  “Queen Elizabeth II becomes longest-reigning UK monarch”, BBC News, 9 September 2015

Late summer/early autumn 2015 update

Hello Hugo

I hope that you are keeping well.

Your Great-grandmother turns 85 today so it a major milestone in her life.  It is sad that this separation means that you are unable to share it with her as you only ever got to meet her once – she lives some distance from London.  I sent her some flowers and she is going out for a meal and to the theatre with your Grandmother later today.

Tomorrow, the Queen will overtake Queen Victoria as the UK’s longest reigning Monarch; I will post something about this for you tomorrow.

I have not posted you anything since before the summer so I have today sent to you in Japan some clothes, food and a game that I used to play when your age and a bit older; see photographs below – they are a little hazy as my mobile phone camera is not functioning very well.  I hope that it all reaches you safely and that you have had a lovely summer in Japan although it must still be very warm there.



あなたの曾祖母は、だから、今日の彼女の生活の中で重要なマイルストーンを85になります。彼女はロンドンからいくつかの距離に住んでいる – それは、この分離は、あなたが一度だけ彼女に会うようになったとして、彼女と一緒にそれを共有することができないことを意味する悲しいです。いくつかは、私は彼女の花を送り、彼女は後に、今日の食事のために、あなたの祖母を持つ劇場に出て行っています。


私はあなたがSINCE夏前に私は今日は日本であなたにいくつかの服、食品と私はときに、あなたの年齢やビット古い再生するために使用されるゲームを送信したものを掲載していません。下の写真を参照してください – 私の携帯電話のカメラは非常によく機能していないとして、彼らは少しかすんであります。私はあなたはそれがすべて安全に達すると、それはまだそこに非常に暖かい誓う必要がありますが、あなたは日本の素敵な夏を持っていたことに乾燥願っています。


Autumn 2015 Gifts

Presents as posted to you today


Post Office receipt, 8 September 2015

Post Office shipment receipts