The child, a girl, was 5 1/2 at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. She had lived in the United States all of her life. The parents were separated. Custody was regulated by an agreement entered into by the parents whereby the mother had care of the child and the father had visitation rights.
The mother was allowed to take the child to Malaysia on vacation provided advance notice was given to the father. On 10 July 1995 the mother took the child to Malaysia without the permission of the father and remained there.
The father sought legal advice from the United States Central Authority. He was told that nothing could be done to bring about the child’s return unless she was moved to a State party to the Hague Convention.
In January 1997 the mother contacted the father, indicating that she wanted to travel to Australia. On 21 January the father signed a visa application in respect of the child indicating that he consented to her travelling to Australia.
On 27 January mother and child were held at Melbourne airport as they entered Australia. The Australian Central Authority then initiated proceedings for the return of the child to the United States.