Toronto Sun

December 8, 2001

Mother will see triplets alone

By JANE SIMS -- Sun Media
Toronto Sun

STRATFORD -- Carline Vandenelsen will have unsupervised access to her triplets, a family court judge ruled yesterday.

But Superior Court Justice John Desotti also slapped the disgruntled mother with a contempt charge for popping her cheek with her finger during his decision.

Desotti ordered Vandenelsen back to court on Dec. 14 to face her second contempt charge. The first charge was for contravening a family court order by secretly taking the children to Mexico in October 2000 and disappearing for three months, prompting an international search.


Vandenelsen was acquitted of three counts of parental abduction in criminal court on Oct. 26.

Despite "the abhorrent conduct of the applicant," Desotti said it was "important for the children to be in an unsupervised regime."

The Merkley triplets (Peter, Gray and Olivia) will see their mother next weekend, Jan. 12 and 13 and then alternate weekends until the end of February when the interim access order will be reviewed.

Vandenelsen had asked Desotti to put the children on a two-week cycle, spending half their time with her and the other with their father, Craig Merkley. But Desotti said that is very disruptive, even if the parents get along.

Craig Merkley, the triplets' father and custodial parent, was not in court yesterday. He was at home recovering from a detached retina.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.