Police apologise for letting child leave NZ with mum despite dad's Family Court Order preventing it

Police today apologised for letting a child who was under a Family Court Order preventing their removal from New Zealand without further order from the court leave the country.


Police say the error was made by an officer at Christchurch International Airport on February 7 last year.

A Customs Officer alerted the police officer to an activation of a border alert about the child, however the child - who was accompanied by their mother - was still allowed to leave the country.

"The father of the child issued civil proceedings on his own behalf and for his child in the High Court which were to be heard on 3 August 2020," police said in a statement.

"Those civil proceedings have now been settled following an agreement being reached between the parties.

"Police unreservedly apologise for the error that was made, and for the substantial distress caused to the plaintiffs."

Police policy states that once a border alert confirming a Family Court Order is activated, "the affected passenger will not be permitted to travel in the absence of proof that the order has been discharged or varied to allow travel".

Police say a full investigation was conducted as to why that did not happen in this case and improvements have been made to ensure it does not happen again.