Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997

Abduction of child by parent, etc.

16

16. (1) A person to whom this section applies shall be guilty of an offence, who takes, sends or keeps a child under the age of 16 years out of the State or causes a child under that age to be so taken, sent or kept—

( a) in defiance of a court order, or

( b) without the consent of each person who is a parent, or guardian or person to whom custody of the child has been granted by a court unless the consent of a court was obtained.

(2) This section applies to a parent, guardian or a person to whom custody of the child has been granted by a court but does not apply to a parent who is not a guardian of the child.

(3) It shall be a defence to a charge under this section that the defendant—

( a) has been unable to communicate with the persons referred to in subsection ( 1) ( b) but believes they would consent if they were aware of the relevant circumstances; or

( b) did not intend to deprive others having rights of guardianship or custody in relation to the child of those rights.

(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—

( a) on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both, or

( b) on conviction on indictment to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years or to both.

(5) Any proceedings under this section shall not be instituted except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.