Monday, May 26, 2014

(I) legal letter to Citipointe church re the church's illegal removal of Rosa and Chita in 2008

Private & Confidential
Senior Pastor Leigh Ramsey
Pastor Brian Mulheran
Citipointe Church
PO Box 2111
Mansfield, Queensland
Australia, 4122
2nd May, 2014.

Dear Pastors Ramsey and Mulheran,


I am formally and legally authorised, engaged and instructed to write to you by my clients - the parents of Chanthy Roza and Chanthy Cheata (“two children”).

My clients have requested that their two children be immediately released into their legal custody, guardianship and care and by no later than Friday, 23rd May, 2014.

I am instructed by clients that their two children are currently unlawfully detained by Citipointe Church (“Citipointe”) control in Cambodia against the express wishes of my clients sas the two children’s legal parents. I am advised that the two children have now been unlawfully detained for some five (5) years. I am instructed that the two children were removed from my clients’ legal custody, care and guardianship by Citipointe pursuant to an alleged Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) executed between Citipointe and the Government of Cambodia in 2008 and subsequently in 2009. 

As I understand it from my clients both MOUs were held out or represented to my clients (as the children’s parents) as the foundation for Citipointe’s legal rights, conferred on it by the Cambodian government, to remove and or detain the two children againast the express wishes of my clients.

I am instructed that since 2008, requests have been repeatedly made by my clients and their advocates for the physical production of one or both such documents evidencing Citipointe’s legal rights to remove and or detain the two children. I am instructed that no MOU executed by Citipointe and Government of Cambodia has been produced by Citypointe to substantiate its legal rights of access and or detention of the two children. 

Therefore, in the absence of Citipointe being able to produce forthwith any official government conferred MOU legally executed, I am instructed by my clients to request Citipointe release the said two children to the legal custody, care and guardianship of their parents forthwith. 

For clarity and to avoid misinterpretation, Friday 23rd May is an indication of the very latest date for the return of the children to my client’s custody, guardianship and care.
Given the deep sensitivity of this matter and the length of time involved, this letter has also been copied to the following:
.    The Under-Secretary of State of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Cambodia.
    The Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs; and
  the Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, representing the Government of Australia.

As Citipointe is an Australian registered charity within the meaning of relevant Commonwealth legislation, Citipointe will clearly appreciate the considerable reputational issues at stake in this matter. These potentially include the substantial bilateral ties between Australia and Cambodia.

There is also domestic Australian political, community and ethical sensitivities at play. In particular, for Citipointe, there may be significant Australian or international legal considerations in play should Citipointe continue to decline the said two children to their parents against their clear, express and unequivocal demand. I understand the Australian media is also closely following the progress of this matter.

On behalf of my clients, I look forward, initially, to confirmation of Citipointe’s intention to release the two children, and secondly, specific details regarding the completion the children’s release at the earliest opportunity. For confirmation purposes I may be contacted by direct email.

With compliments

BA., LLB (UQ)., M.PHIL  (Cambridge); Ex.Ed (Harvard)
Barrister-At-Law of the Supreme Court of Queensland.

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