October 2015

Case review: Stack & Searle [2015] FCWA 44 In the recent decision of Stack & Searle, the Family Court of Western Australia considered the important issue of whether a parent’s past behaviour exposes a child to an unacceptable level of risk. In March 2008, Mr Stack was arrested and charged with one count of indecent dealing with a child who was a lineal relative, four counts of possession of child pornography and one count of supplying child pornography. In October 2009, he was sentenced to three years imprisonment. Mr Stack was ultimately released from prison in July 2012. Two years later, in June 2014, Mr Stack was charged with one count of sexual penetration of a child under 13 years and one further count of indecent dealing with a child under 13 years in respect of incidents that were alleged to have occurred in 2006. Mr Stack and Mrs Searle had two daughters aged 14 and 12. Mr Stack applied to the Family Court for orders allowing him to spend supervised time with the children each fortnight, and to communicate with them by telephone and in writing. Mr Stack argued that he had always played an active role in the children’s lives but...

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