National Post

Page URL: http://www.nationalpost.com/news.asp?f=991123/134514

Tuesday, November 23, 1999

Father of baby who survived fall from bridge fined $3,000
In contempt of court
Mark Hume
National Post


BCTV Newshour
Kjeld Werbes has filed an appeal to a contempt of court ruling. A judge fined him $3,000 yesterday for ignoring a court order to give his Ferrari to his former wife during divorce proceedings.

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. - Kjeld Werbes, the father of a baby that miraculously survived a 47-metre fall from a bridge last September, was fined $3,000 for contempt of court yesterday.

The ruling, by Justice Donna Martinsen, of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, was a serious blow to Mr. Werbes, a Vancouver lawyer whose reputation has already been hurt by a fractious divorce battle with his wife, Nadia Hama.

The court heard that Mr. Werbes recently was asked to resign from the board of Olympic Resources, a Vancouver company, because of bad publicity arising from his fight with Mrs. Hama.

The case was not unlike a lot of contentious divorces, and had been ignored by the media, until Sept. 22, when Mrs. Hama dropped her 17-month-old daughter, Kaya, from the Capilano suspension bridge. The baby, who had her fall broken by tree branches, somehow survived with only bruises. The incident focused intense media interest on the parents, who were involved in a messy divorce. Since then their troubled marriage, which lasted only 14 months, has received massive exposure.

Mrs. Hama claims she accidentally dropped the baby when she stumbled on the bridge. The RCMP, which is continuing an investigation, allege she attempted to murder the baby who had Down's syndrome.

Kaya is currently being cared for by Mr. Werbes' family, while custody and other divorce matters remain unresolved.

The contempt ruling yesterday stems from earlier court proceedings, in which Mr. Werbes was ordered to turn over a Ferrari to Mrs. Hama, and not to compromise other family assets. Mrs. Hama eventually did get the Ferarri, but only after the court intervened a second time. And Mr. Werbes signed away rights to a Whistler condominium, despite the order preventing any such action.

In court yesterday, Francis Lamer, Mr. Werbes' lawyer, unsuccessfully argued no penalty should be determined until after an appeal has been heard concerning the original ruling, which found him guilty of contempt.

But Judge Martinsen said it was normal to sentence first, and appeal later.

Mr. Werbes filed an appeal to the contempt ruling last Friday, before Justice Martinsen had an opportunity to impose a penalty.

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