A father is suing Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police, claiming he suffered psychological and financial damage after they let his former partner, an Australian, fly to Sydney with their baby daughter.
Craig Johnstone, 28, a Canadian electrician, met the Melbourne woman when she was travelling in Canada in 2010, they fell in love, and had a daughter in 2013.
The relationship faltered and on April 15, 2014, Johnstone discovered the woman had packed up her belongings and taken their daughter to Vancouver International Airport, according to the lawsuit.
“He immediately phones the police, he gives them the story that he suspects she’s fleeing the country with their child,” Johnstone’s lawyer, Neil Chantler, told AAP on Monday.
Just before midnight and shortly before takeoff, officers from the RCMP boarded an Air Canada plane bound for Sydney and removed the woman and baby, according to the lawsuit.
Johnstone alleges he was interviewed by officers from the West Vancouver Police Department and they advised him he should commence legal proceedings.
He did and by 1pm on April 16, he obtained a court order restraining the woman from removing their child from Canada’s Lower Mainland region and forcing her to surrender her passport.
Johnstone is also suing the WVPD.
Johnstone says on the morning of April 16, a RCMP constable told him the woman and his daughter were “still in town” and the officer was keeping an eye on them.
After receiving the court order, Johnstone says he called the constable and was told the woman and baby had “recently left Canada on an airplane”.
“We say her risk of flight was obvious and it was apparent she would probably try and get on the next plane, and the RCMP completely failed to meet their duty, and to properly carry out their function and hold her until a proper investigation had been done,” Mr Chantler said.
“We say the criminal law is clear and she was in the process of committing the crime of child abduction.”
The lawsuit alleges Johnstone has suffered “immense psychological harm”, including anxiety, depression and humiliation, and racked up significant expenses travelling between Canada and Australia.
“I have missed everything, from my daughter starting crawling and now walking,” Johnstone said.
“I have missed her getting her first teeth, her first birthday, and her first words.
“The amount of heartache I have is unfathomable.”
The woman’s lawyer declined to comment.