Mum wins fight over 'lost' child
The 41-year-old Kyogle mother has copped abuse for the last 13 months for allegedly hiding her son from police in her house. On May 1, the court case against her over the matter was dismissed.
It all started on Sunday, March 4 last year, when police were called to Ms Hale's house to return her two boys, Trent and Thomas, to their father after a weekend custodial visit.
"I had the boys for the weekend and they were supposed to return to their father on Sunday afternoon," Ms Hale said.
"They didn't want to leave. The police were sent to pick them up, but as soon as they saw the cop car, they both started screaming and Trent bolted.
"Trent, being the quickest, got away and crawled under the house. I grabbed on to Thomas, so he wouldn't run."
A full-scale search was carried out, involving police, dog squads, a police dive squad, SES volunteers, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter and local residents. It continued for two days before Trent was found inside Ms Hale's Kyogle home.
"We found Trent in one of the boys' bedrooms, hiding under a chair. He was petrified," Ms Hale said.
"I didn't know he was in the house. He wasn't in there when we looked."
Ms Hale was charged with false representation leading to a police investigation.
"They charged me just after he was found and took me to the police station," Ms Hale said.
"I waited from about 10am to 4.30pm in a police dock while they gathered evidence.
"I was then released on bail. I went home in a state of shock. Before I got home, Trent was returned to his father."
Ms Hale appeared in Kyogle Local Court on March 15, 2007, where her case was transferred to Lismore Local Court.
In the final hearing, Trent was supposed to give evidence in the case, but was too stressed to answer questions.
"There wasn't enough evidence to hold the case," Ms Hale said.
"I'm quite relieved and happy that I wasn't found guilty, but I haven't been able to see my children since January 26."
Ms Hale and the boys' father are in the middle of a custody battle.
A court hearing over the custody of their children is scheduled for today.