British court rules Kenyan singer is unlawfully keeping son in Nairobi and refusing to return 4-year-old to his mother in the UK

Royal Court London
Royal Courts of Justice, London. Photo: Flickr/sjiong (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A British court has ruled that a Kenyan singer and actor is unlawfully keeping his child in Nairobi and refusing to return the boy to his British mother in the UK.    

Since they separated in 2015, Shiv Singh Benawra, 29, and Charlotte Morris, 24, have been embroiled in litigation over their son, who is now four.

Ms Morris agreed to Mr Benawra taking the child, who is now four but cannot be named for legal reasons, to Kenya in April 2016 and should have returned him to his mother in England by June 2016.

However, in breach of orders, he has failed to return the boy, who is British and had lived in the UK until he was around 18 months old, to his mother.

Mrs Justice Lieven, the judge overseeing the case at private hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London, gave permission to reveal the names of Mr Benawra and Miss Morris to journalists along with details of the case in the hope that the subsequent publicity might help get the youngster back to his mother in England.

The  judge also instructed that the boy’s name should not be revealed and photographs of him have been barred from publication, but argued that ‘inevitable public criticism’ would encourage Mr Benawra to comply with judges’ orders and return the boy to the UK.

A statement from lawyers representing Miss Morris, and approved by Mrs Justice Lieven, noted that Mr Benawra had unlawfully retained the boy in Nairobi since June 2016, in ‘flagrant breach’ of a UK court order and without Miss Morris’s permission.

“The father has not complied with High Court orders and has not returned the child to the UK.

“The father is a public figure – a singer, actor and model in Kenya.

“The mother believes that if publicity restrictions are lifted, the father is likely to return the child to the UK because he is a public figure who would not want to jeopardise his status and career through the inevitable public criticism and the disapproval of followers, fans and colleagues,” the statement said.

Lawyers, who said that Miss Morris was ‘heartbroken’ and missed her son very much, added that Mr Benawra’s mother, Jessy, was a director of Childline Kenya and had been a member of the Kenyan National Council for Children’s Services.

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