The child, a boy, was aged about 2 at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. The parents were married and had joint rights of custody. On 10 May 1996 the mother left the matrimonial home with the child, alleging she had suffered violence at the hands of the father.
The police reported that the father had slapped the mother across the face and had threatened her with a knife and belt. No visible signs of any injuries were found.
On 12 May 1996 the mother took the child from Australia to California. Before leaving the father had given the mother the child’s passport.