Actor accused of unlawfully keeping his son in Nairobi after family court dispute
A Kenyan singer and actor is unlawfully keeping his child in Nairobi after becoming involved in a London family court dispute with his British ex-partner, lawyers say.
Shiv Singh Benawra and Charlotte Morris (pictured) have been embroiled in litigation over their son, who is now four, since 2015 when they separated.
A judge overseeing the case at private hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London has decided that publicity might help get the youngster back to his mother in England.
Mrs Justice Lieven has given lawyers permission to reveal the names of Mr Benawra, 29, and Miss Morris, 24, to journalists and give some detail of the case.
But the judge has decided that the boy’s name should not be revealed and has barred the publication of photographs of him.
Miss Morris had argued that “inevitable public criticism” would encourage Mr Benawra to comply with judges’ orders and return the boy to the UK.
Lawyers representing Miss Morris revealed details in a statement approved by Mrs Justice Lieven.
Lawyer Pam Sanghera said the boy was British and had lived in Britain until he was about 18 months old.
Mr Benawra had taken him to Kenya with Miss Morris’s agreement in April 2016 and should have brought him back to England by June 2016.
But he had not returned the boy to his mother – in breach of orders
The statement added that Mr Benawra had unlawfully retained the boy in Nairobi since June 2016, in “flagrant breach” of a UK court order and without Miss Morris’s permission.
“The father has not complied with High Court orders and has not returned the child to the UK,” said the statement.
“The father is a public figure – a singer, actor and model in Kenya.”
The statement added: “The mother believes that if publicity restrictions are lifted, the father is likely to return the child to the UK because he is a public figure who would not want to jeopardise his status and career through the inevitable public criticism and the disapproval of followers, fans and colleagues.”
Lawyers said Mr Benawra’s mother, Jessy, was a director of Childline Kenya and had been a member of the Kenyan National Council for Children’s Services.
They added that Miss Morris was “heartbroken” and missed her son very much.
A Russian businessman embroiled in a family court battle with his Ukrainian ex-wife over the care of their two children recently won a fight to allow journalists covering the case to name some names.
The businessman wanted reporting restrictions, which barred journalists from revealing the identities of any the people involved, relaxed. His bid was backed by editors at The Times, the BBC and Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Mail.
A High Court judge ruled in his favour.
Mr Justice Mostyn said the businessman’s ex-wife, Ganna Tigipko, and her father Sergiy Tigipko, a wealthy Ukrainian politician and banker, could be named.
He said neither of the children nor their father could be named.
Ms Tigipko had taken the children out of London to Ukraine in breach of an order made in a family court last year, the judge heard.
The businessman said allowing journalists to report the case more fully may help get the children back to London.
Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Family Handout / PA Wire.