Mom who misplaced custody in Mount Carmel took it out on her ex

A mother who was stripped of custody while being treated at Mount Carmel Hospital responded by molesting and threatening her child’s father, a court heard on Friday.

The 44-year-old woman, who cannot be named by court order, pleaded guilty to allegedly molesting, insulting and threatening her ex-partner in a manner that went beyond the bounds of provocation.

“It is true that I have done these things. I won’t deny it,” she admitted when asked what she was claiming. She later cried as her attorney approached her and gently advised her on the best way forward.

The court case follows a series of alleged incidents between her and her estranged partner, with a court hearing of how the woman’s ex had filed five police reports over a two-month period related to her conduct.

The woman, who regularly checked herself into Mount Carmel Hospital for treatment, allegedly showed up at the man’s home and work the moment she left the hospital.

In some cases, their child was close by to witness the harassment.

The final straw came when the family court ruled that the father should have full custody of the child. The mother was being treated at Mount Carmel when that decree was made and only learned she had lost custody when she was released.

Given this situation, the court, presided over by Judge Noel Bartolo, asked whether the defendant had been assisted by counsel in the family case.

Lawyer Leontine Calleja, who assisted the mother in filing charges on Friday, said the woman appeared to have contacted a lawyer but has not yet engaged their services.

In the meantime, the Appoġġ Social Welfare Office had stepped in to help the mother and ensure the minor’s well-being was safeguarded, the court was told.

In fact, the woman had not been denied access and had been allowed to see her child under supervision.

Prosecutors did not insist on an effective prison sentence, instead proposing a probationary order to ensure that a probation officer would watch over the woman and provide her with all necessary assistance.

The couple have split up and must go their separate ways, Prosecutor Commissioner Sherona Buhagiar said.

“But the goal of the prosecution is to ensure that the minor is ultimately reunited with her mother in an appropriate manner.”

After temporarily staying the hearing, Magistrate Bartolo returned from the chambers to order the accused placed under a two-year suspended sentence after noting the specific circumstances of the case.

The court also issued a two-year protective order in favor of the defendant’s ex, barring the publication of all names to protect the minor.

“Whatever rights you have, you cannot take matters into your own hands. If everyone did that, there would be chaos. You may feel overwhelmed, but you must use the legal procedures,” the court said, as the woman nodded in understanding.

“Thank you,” the defendant said as she walked away, after the judge warned her again to abide by the terms of the parole order.

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