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  • Father faces arrest in family hunt
  • By Steve Butcher
  • The Age
  • 26/02/2002 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: admin ( 30 articles in 2002 )
Leo Powell.. Father to 3 beautiful children.
The hunt for three young Melbourne children believed to have been abducted by their father was stepped up yesterday when a Family Court judge issued a warrant for the father's arrest.

Justice Sally Brown also authorised federal police to inspect Leo James Powell's banking and telecommunications records.

She said Mr Powell, 50, had flagrantly breached and abused court procedure by filing various applications to the court while police were searching for the children who "effectively have been abducted".

She described as "intransigent behaviour" Mr Powell's attempts to use the court's processes while in "flagrant breach" of its orders.

"I do not propose to be party to that abuse," she said. "The paramount matter is the best interests of the children."

The orders were two of a number issued by Justice Brown to a solicitor for Helen Maree Powell, whose daughters Annette Michelle, 12, Karen Louise, 7, and son Dominic Anthony, 4, went missing last month.

Two weeks ago the court took the rare step of allowing photographs and personal details of the children to be published in the hope they could be found.

In a further relaxing of the traditionally strict Family Court media rules, Justice Brown has allowed Mrs Powell to attend a news conference today at the StKilda offices of her solicitor, Sue Macgregor.

Mrs Powell, a pharmacist, will read a prepared statement, but interviews will be restricted to Ms Macgregor and the children's legal representative Timothy Mulvany.

Mr Powell and the children disappeared around January 26, the date he was expected to return them to their mother under a court residence order.

Ms Macgregor asked for the arrest warrant against Mr Powell, who did not appear in court yesterday, to give more powers to federal police.

She also asked for, and was granted, orders that two associates of Mr Powell be examined by the court next week.

Justice Brown granted a request from Mr Mulvany that photographs of the children be submitted to the Victorian police missing persons bureau.

She also dismissed 14 applications by Mr Powell and ordered that he not issue any new ones. These included his application that his wife and her former solicitor be dealt with for contempt and that the granting of her divorce from him be reviewed.


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