04/02/14 UPDATE FOR DAY 2
ALLISON Baden-Clay went to see a family counsellor about her husband’s three-year affair with a staff member, a court has been told today.
The Brookfield mum also detailed her history of depression to the counsellor, the court was told at a pre-trial hearing.
The routine hearing is to resolve legal issues ahead of the Gerard Baden-Clay’s upcoming murder trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court.
Allison told the counsellor her husband Gerard’s attitude to the depression was that he was “over it” and that it had contributed to the affair, the court was told.
The court heard the counsellor later had a separate session with Gerard where he said he wanted to leave the affair in the past but reluctantly agreed to 15-minute discussions with his wife every second night.
Baden-Clay reported his wife missing on April 20, 2012. He has been charged with her murder and is due to face trial in June.
Relationships Australia counsellor Carmel Ritchie told the court the first session with Allison was at Spring Hill on March 27, 2012, and lasted about an hour.
Allison described herself as a mother of three who worked with her husband’s real estate agency four days a week, Ms Ritchie told the court.
She told the counsellor that after taking malaria medication on her honeymoon she had a “very severe reaction” and suffered chronic depression and “psychotic episodes”.
She had seen a psychologist during her second pregnancy and had been on and off medication ever since.
Allison said her husband had an affair for three years and at least partly blamed her depression, Ms Richie said.
Asked to describe her problems in a few words she told the counsellor: “Inadequate. Not good enough. Believe I let it happen. Gerard’s way is the right way. Gerard had an affair for the last three years. Parenting, Gerard criticises me. Fear that one day he will leave me”.
Allison told the counsellor she wanted to “work on me” and sort out issues with parenting, the court was told.
Allison found out about Gerard’s affair on September 14, 2011, Ms Ritchie said.
The affair started on August 27, 2008, four days after Gerard and Allison’s own anniversary, the counsellor said.
Ms Ritchie said Allison told her: “I confronted him. He is now honest and takes responsibility. He blames me for some of it, the depression.”
Allison said that two years ago on their anniversary she surprised Gerard by asking: “What’s wrong with us?”
She told the counsellor Gerard replied: “I’ve had enough. I want to leave.”
Allison said she put it down to a midlife crisis.
Allison said Gerard’s personality was “ambitious and leader like” and he had high expectations of her and the children, Ms Richie told the court.
She told the counsellor her father felt as though “he was controlling her”, the court was told.
In her case notes, the counsellor wrote her opinion that Allison was a “conflict avoider who has said yes too many times in the relationship”.
To Gerard, Allison was not the girl he married, while Gerard had changed to a “look after myself” attitude, the court was told.
Ms Ritchie said she told Allison at the end of the session she could bring Gerard to the next session if she wanted.
Allison said she did not believe Gerard would want to come.
However at the next appointment on April 16, 2012, both Allison and Gerard were in the waiting room.
Ms Ritchie told the court she took Gerard into her room on his own at first. She said she had planned to spend half the hour-long session with him and then see them both together, but the session with Gerard went for most of the hour.
“I was surprised to see Gerard there as well. That was because Allison thought he would not come,” Ms Ritchie told the court.
The session, at Kenmore, was four days before Baden-Clay reported his wife missing.
Ms Ritchie said she took a standard 60-second snapshot with Gerard, but he didn’t say much about himself personally, talking instead about his work and achievements.
The court heard that after further questions Gerard told the counsellor: “Allison does not trust me. She questions me. She says yes when she means no.”
He told the counsellor of Allison’s disappointment with her life and that he used to blame his wife for disappointments in his own life, the court was told.
He said he attended the session because Allison wanted him to.
He wanted to “build a future” with his wife and to leave the affair behind him and thought discussing the affair with Allison was a regression, Ms Ritchie told the court.
“He wants to get on with life. Wipe it clean,” the counsellor said she wrote in her notes from the session.
“He needs to accept seven or eight months is very early days yet and to ‘steel’ himself for the long haul.”
Ms Ritchie told the court she advised Baden-Clay he could not ignore his wife’s feelings about the affair.
“I spoke about the fact he did have to sit and listen to Allison’s feelings about the affair.
“I told him that he can’t put this in the past because for Allison that past is very much in the present.”
Gerard did not want to take the advice.
“Isn’t that regression? Isn’t that living in the past?” he asked.
They went back and forth until “eventually he agreed”.
Ms Ritchie said she told Gerard to listen to Allison for 10 to 15 minutes every second night. She said she “always” limited such talks because they were “highly emotional”.
Gerard’s role was to “simply listen … absolutely not be defensive” and at the end to express remorse if that was how he felt.
Ms Ritchie told the court she went outside to get Allison from the waiting room and apologised for taking so long with her husband.
“Her face broke into a smile and she said ‘I’m over the moon you have spent this time with him’.”
Ms Ritchie said when she was back in the room with both Baden-Clay and his wife she went over the plan for the 10 to 15-minute talks, which were to continue until the next session in a week or two.
“I saw her say to Gerard ‘I am over the moon that you have spent this time’. But it was a defensive, hurt way that she was saying it.”
Asked in court about Allison’s mood, she said: “I think she was very pleased to introduce me to Gerard. She was smiling.”
Ms Ritchie added that Gerard discussed his roles in the school P&C and the local chamber of commerce.
“For Gerard, his image in the community is very important…He believes he is a valuable member of society,” the counsellor said she wrote in her notes.
The next session was never booked, with Baden-Clay reporting his wife missing on the Friday of that week.
Barrister Michael Byrne QC, for Baden-Clay, put to the witness that Allison’s depression and early panic attacks went back to taking the malaria medication during her honeymoon and to her pregnancy with the couple’s first child, who was born in 2001.
Mr Byrne said between Allison’s discovery of the affair and the first session with the counsellor Baden-Clay had “reached the point where he was honest and was taking responsibility”.
“His attitude to the affair is to wipe it clean and get on with life. What she’s saying to you there was put the past behind them put the affair out of life and move on as a couple,” Mr Byrne said.
Ms Ritchie agreed Allison wanted to move on as a couple.
03/02/14 Not much to report from today’s hearing, day 1 of 2
ACCUSED wife murderer Gerard Baden-Clay returned to court in Brisbane on Monday for legal argument ahead of his upcoming trial.
The routine hearing to determine which evidence can be put before a jury is scheduled to run for two days in the Brisbane Supreme Court.
Dressed in a dark suit and wearing a tie, the 43-year-old former real estate agent watched proceedings from the dock.
The court heard from the pathologist who carried out Allison Baden-Clay’s post-mortem examination.
Legal argument centred on the admissibility of parts of his evidence, and that of medical experts who assessed scratches and other marks found on Baden-Clay following his wife’s disappearance.
The couple’s former family counsellor is expected to give evidence in court for the first time when the hearing resumes on Tuesday.
Mrs Baden-Clay, 43, was reported missing by her husband on April 20, 2012.
Her body was found 10 days later on the banks of a creek in Brisbane’s west.
The last court related update is as follows from back in December 2013.
The many GBC posts can be found here or here http://aussiecriminals.com.au/tag/gerard-baden-clay/
A family counsellor can be called to give evidence at the murder trial of Brisbane man Gerard Baden-Clay, a judge has ruled.
The Relationships Australia counsellor had argued her conversations with Baden-Clay, 43, and his slain wife Allison, were confidential.
However, Supreme Court judge James Douglas on Thursday ruled counsellor Carmel Ritchie will be required to give evidence at a pre-trial hearing next year.
The ruling means the crown can call Ms Ritchie as a witness during the trial, which has been set down for June next year.
The counsellor spoke with Mrs Baden-Clay on March 27, 2012, and with Baden-Clay and his wife separately on April 16, 2012.
Baden-Clay sat in the dock during Thursday’s brief hearing.
Mrs Baden-Clay was reported missing on April 20 last year, and her body was found on the banks of a creek in Brisbane’s west 10 days later.
Baden-Clay was arrested in June 2012 and charged with murder.
He maintains he is innocent.
In an earlier court hearing, Relationships Australia’s barrister George Kalimnios had argued the Family Law Act prohibited Ms Ritchie giving evidence, and could claim privilege on the grounds of public interest.
But in his written judgement on Thursday, Justice Douglas said both arguments were misconceived, and there were no grounds to claim privilege.
“Even if such a privilege existed separate from the Act, the balance is decisively in favour of permitting access to the evidence for the purposes of Mr Baden-Clay’s trial on the charge of murder.”
Matters before the Court 3rd Feb 2014