Reason 'distraught father' kidnapped his kids during visit
A couple who kidnapped two of their children during a supervised access visit at a Child Protection Department office did so because one of the boys suffered unexplained injuries under a guardian's care, a court has heard.
The couple, who cannot be named, appeared in the District Court on Monday having previously pleaded guilty to two aggravated counts each of sending or taking a child out of jurisdiction.
Prosecutors said the father drove away with both boys - aged three and six - after taking them to wash their hands during an October 2018 access visit at the department's Murray Bridge offices. The mother then ran after them.
Danni Stephens, for the father, told the court the older boy was taken to a hospital in Victoria with "unexplained injuries" in March last year.
The father, 34, claimed when he questioned the child about the injuries, he was told the boy was "assaulted and locked in a room".
"When the injuries did not clear, the child was taken out of the room and to the hospital," Ms Stevens said.
The father raised concerns with the Child Protection Department but was unhappy with the new arrangements the department had for the boy.
The father also alleged the younger boy had an unexplained black eye, but it was not clear if the biological brothers were placed under the same care at the time.
Ms Stephens said the father was "stewing" during the drive to Murray Bridge and planned to seize the boys during the supervised access visit.
She said the alleged abduction was "the actions of a distraught father" and the plan to take the boys to Queensland was "poorly planned (and) poorly executed".
She told the court the couple had a car full of their belongings, including two dogs, during the access visit because they had been evicted from their home.
Police found the children safe and well at Broken Hill a day later.
The pair, who have seven children in total including four together, were arrested in Queensland on June 3 and they pleaded guilty in the Adelaide Magistrates Court three days after.
Peter Hill, for the mother, said the alleged kidnapping was "impulsive" and the "actions of desperate parents".
The 23-year-old mother, who is 20 weeks pregnant, is "genuinely remorseful" for her actions, the court heard.
The couple will be sentenced next month.