Calgary Sun

Friday, January 12, 2001

Dad wants end to hunger strike

By CAMERON MAXWELL, CALGARY SUN

The father of a 14-year-old boy in the midst of a hunger strike says he hopes his son will soon end his self-imposed starvation.

Clayton Giles is today entering the 12th day of his hunger strike in his attempt to get an apology from the court he claims removed him from his father.

"We'll go to the doctor (today) and talk things over amongst ourselves after that," said Eric Giles, 53, a local contractor.

"He feels he's pretty darn close to ending the strike, but he thinks that if he stops, the attention will stop.

"So we're stuck between a rock and a hard place."

Clayton's doctor, Dr. Mark Grainger, also says the boy should end the strike, which has seen him lose 11 lb.

Child welfare officials are also watching the boy's health, and can force him to live with his mother if need be.

Clayton hopes the hunger strike will force his mother, Marnie Harrison, to give him over to his dad after a court awarded Harrison sole custody of Clayton in Clayton argues the courts aren't paying attention to children during divorce hearings and says he's being treated as an object, not a person. Eric said yesterday he doesn't think Harrison will ever give him custody of his son.

However, on Tuesday she said she was willing to do so, but Eric and Clayton didn't show up in court.

For the past year Clayton has lived with his father, and he recently started a website to detail his hunger strike.

Since Tuesday morning, the site at www.legalkids.homestead.com has gone from 497 hits to more than 8,000 as Clayton gains international attention.

Other children in the same situation have had their say in the chat room, and Clayton updates his strike situation on a daily basis.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.