Actor Eddie Furlong of the movie Green Hornet and Terminator 2 was arrested for allegedly violating a court order to stay at least 100 yards from his ex-wife, Rachel Kneeland. Furlong and Kneeland have a 4 year old son together. Kneeland filed court papers alleging that Furlong physically abused her. There are also allegations of drug abuse which Furlong denies. Kneeland has a three year restraining order against him as well as an order to undergo counseling.
Obtaining a Restraining Order in Ontario....
In Ontario, parties are able to obtain an interim or final restraining Order through the family court, which may be made against:
- a spouse or former spouse or;
- a person other than a spouse or former spouse if the person is cohabiting with the person seeking the restraining order or has cohabited with the person seeking the restraining order for a period of time.
A restraining Order will be granted by the court if the person seeking same has reasonable grounds to fear for his/her safety or the safety of any child in his/her custody. In Ontario, the court has the discretion to Order on or more of the following based on the circumstances of the case:
- Restraining the Respondent, in whole or in part from directly or indirectly contacting or communicating with the Applicant or any child in the Applicant's custody;
- Restraining the Respondent from coming within a specified distance of one or more locations or;
- Specifying one or more exceptions to a and b above;
- Any other provisions the court considers appropriate.
The court also has the authority to issue a restraining order against a spouse or former spouse preventing him/her from 'molesting, annoying or harassing' the Applicant and/or the children. Therefore even if a spouse is conducting in such a way that a reasonably minded person would find disturbing, irritating or that causes them anxiety, they too can seek a restraining order against such person.
In Furlong's case, Kneeland alleged that Furlong grabbed her, bruised her and pushed her. He also left messages saying he would hire people to beat her with chains and bats. In Ontario, the court would grant a restraining order as Kneeland clearly feared for her safety. This would also raise concerns for the safety of the child. Although we are not told whether there is a restraining Order placed against the parties' son, we are told that Furlong was ordered to attend counseling. Assuming that he is attending counseling for drug abuse and physical abuse, it is likely that Furlong may have supervised access to see his child until he deals with his anger issues and substance abuse issues.
A spouse who is convicted of violating a Restraining Order under the Family Law Act or the Family Law Reform Act can be liable for a $5,000.00 fine or three months imprisonment or both on a first offence and to a fine of $10,000.00 and up to two years imprisonment for each subsequent conviction.