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Lisa Hanna and ex-hubby in custody battle over son

BY BARBARA GAYLE, Staff Reporter

MISS WORLD 1993 Lisa Hanna and her businessman former husband Dr. David Panton are now engaged in a custody battle over their five-year-old son in the Jamaican Court of Appeal.

Legal arguments continued in court this week. Miss Hanna and Dr. Panton haven't been attending the hearing.

Numerous allegations have been made against both parties in court documents as each have been fighting desperately to be the custodian of the child. They have each denied the allegations.

Miss Hanna who was also the co-host of the television programme Our Voices is appealing against a Supreme Court ruling last month which restored the primary physical custodian of the child to Dr. Panton. The court ruling meant that the child should be returned to live with his father in Georgia, USA.

The child was born in Jamaica, but Dr. Panton is now working in the USA.

The couple after their divorce in 2004 had signed an agreement in a court in Georgia which gave them joint custody of the child. The agreement was that Dr. Panton who now lives in Georgia was the primary physical custodian.

When the child came to visit Miss Hanna in December last year, she went to the Supreme Court where Mrs. Justice Almarie Sinclair-Haynes granted an order in January giving her custody of the child until further orders.

Dr. Panton opposed the order and at a hearing between the parties in the Supreme Court last month, Miss Justice Gloria Smith ruled that the child should be sent back to Georgia to live with his father.

Lawyers representing Dr. Panton had argued in the Supreme Court that a court of competent jurisdiction in the USA, had already dealt with the custody issue.

Miss Hanna is appealing against the Supreme Court ruling which was made by Miss Justice Smith.

The child will remain with Miss Hanna until the appeal has been heard, because she has been granted a stay of execution of the Supreme Court order.

Pamela Benka-Coker, Q.C. who represents Miss Hanna submitted yesterday that Miss Justice Smith in ordering that the child should be returned to the father did not refer in her judgment to the affidavit evidence given by the child's mother and her witnesses. She said there were serious laws in the judgment and is asking the court to rule in favour of Miss Hanna.

Dr. Panton's lawyers will respond to the submissions when the hearing resumes next week.

May 26, 2006

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