Calgary Sun

January 10, 2001

Starved for justice

Custody battle heats up

By KEVIN MARTIN -- Calgary Sun

Clayton Giles, 14, who says he has been on a hunger strike for the past 10 days, stands outside court in Calgary to protest the handling of his custody case. -- SUN Media

City teen Clayton Giles wants justice -- and he says he's willing to die for it.

Giles, 14, was on the steps of Calgary's Court of Queen's Bench yesterday, demonstrating against what he claims has been unfair justice system treatment.

And Giles said he will continue a 10-day-old hunger strike until he gets satisfaction.

In a letter to Associate Chief Justice Allen Sulatycky, Giles said he would rather die than let the system continue to separate him from his father.

"By going on a hunger strike I want you to realize that I will die before I will let you take away any more of my childhood," Giles said in his letter.

The teenager's mom, Marnie Harrison, has been granted sole custody even though he wants to live with his dad, Eric.

In fact, Giles told the Sun, he has been living with his father for the past year even though his mom remains his custodian in the court's eyes.

"I'm just out here because I figure it's the only way they will pay attention," Giles said. "I'm not going to be ignored anymore."

An application by his father, launched last March 6, to have the custody order reversed has been repeatedly adjourned by his mother's lawyer, he said.

It was due back in court before Justice Sal LoVecchio yesterday, but Giles and his father refused to attend.

"We knew that we'd just get the same adjournment, so we're not going in front of him any more," he said.

Living on water since Jan. 1, he said he wants to raise awareness about how he was "victimized" and has demanded LoVecchio be removed from the case. He also wants an apology from the courts.

Dad Eric Giles said the hunger strike was his son's idea, fuelled by his frustration: "I don't like my son on a hunger strike, but it's his choice."

Neither Harrison nor her lawyer could be reached for comment.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.