Ontario Civil

Contempt of Court


Evidence justified finding of contempt beyond reasonable doubt

Parties had five-year-old daughter. Father brought contempt motion alleging mother failed to comply with terms of temporary access order. Motion judge found mother in contempt and ordered she pay fine of $5,000 plus costs of $10,000 to be set off against child support arrears. Mother’s appeal was dismissed. Mother again appealed finding of contempt. Appeal dismissed. Access order clearly and unequivocally set out dates and time of access visits. Order provided sufficient clarity for mother to understand allegations giving rise to contempt motion. Evidence justified motion judge’s finding of contempt beyond reasonable doubt. Appeal judge did not err in finding that penalty imposed by motion judge was modest in circumstances. While decision to set-off costs was unusual, order was made with child’s best interests in mind. Motion judge did not err in not bifurcating liability and penalty phases of contempt motion.

Rego v. Santos (Jul. 21, 2015, Ont. C.A., Alexandra Hoy A.C.J.O., Gloria Epstein J.A., and Grant Huscroft J.A., File No. CA C58282) 256 A.C.W.S. (3d) 79.

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