A Mississauga mother sentenced to 60 days in jail for failing to allow the father of her 5-year-old daughter access to the child has been released. Lisa Barbosa, 31, walked out of the Metro West Detention Centre after serving eight days behind bars. Judge Patrick Dunn of Ontario Court, provincial division (family) ordered that Barbosa be jailed. He also ordered that Britney's father, Richard Dadd, 34, of Brampton, have custody of the child while her mother served her sentence. "Our preference would have been that she serve her full sentence, but the point has been made," said Ross Virgin, president of a men's rights group. But another Ontario Court, general division judge ordered Barbosa's release pending appeal. And Judge Moira Caswell ordered that Britney be returned to her mother immediately.
Barbosa may be free, but the shock waves from her sentence have yet to subside. Members of the national men's group, In Search of Justice, were to picket at Brampton court in support of Dunn's initial decision. "Thousands of dads across Canada encounter endless, persistent breaches of the law by mothers who feel they own the children and can break the law with impunity," said the group's president Ross Virgin. "Our preference would have been that she serve her full sentence, but the point has been made loud and clear that you cannot commit access violations without the potential of a jail term," said Virgin.
However, another Toronto men's group, DADS Canada, has taken an opposing view. "We couldn't be happier that she's out," said Stacy Robb, who added that his group plans to aid Barbosa in her court appeal. "DADS Canada supports the children in these cases," said Robb. "And to jail a mother really hurts the children emotionally."
Robb's group is also advocating on behalf of a Toronto father who is serving a 90-day sentence at the Toronto (Don) Jail for failing to pay more than $21,000 in child support arrears and court costs. Barbosa had been ordered several years ago to allow Dadd regular visitation with Britney. Barbosa says she always complied with the order, except when the child -- who is asthmatic -- was sick. But Dadd took Barbosa to court arguing that he was denied access a number of times. Judge Dunn ordered Barbosa jailed for contempt. He is currently preparing the reasons for his judgment, which will be available later. Barbosa's two Toronto lawyers, Lauren Israel and Barry Goldman, who brought the motion before Judge Caswell, return to court to set a date for the appeal of Dunn's order.