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Court fight with ex-wife strands father of two in SL

18 April 2015 08:48 am - 21     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A former Sunshine Coast (Australia) man who helped thousands of victims of the Sri Lankan tsunami is now trapped in his adopted country and separated from his partner and children.

Dusan Jacenko, who launched his own mercy mission to feed and clothe tsunami victims in 2005, says he is now virtually a prisoner in the island paradise after his personal and professional lives crumbled.

When Jayden Jacenko turned two yesterday, his father wasn't there to celebrate.

Instead, Dusan Jacenko was half a world away, trapped in a Sri Lankan legal minefield.

An ongoing dispute over maintenance payments to his ex-wife has left the former Sunshine Coast man virtually a prisoner in the island nation he has called home since 1999.

The dispute has become so bogged down in that country's legal system not even the Australian High Commission appears to be able to help.

Meanwhile, his partner, Thushari, and their two young children are living with Dusan's son and his family on the Sunshine Coast, hoping for a miracle.

Dusan sent them to Australia at the end of last year, saying he feared for their safety at the hands of his ex-wife.

More than three months later, Thushari says Jayden and his three-year-old sister, Jazz, still cry every night.
"Every night they talk to him (on Skype) and they are crying. It is just heartbreaking and it's not getting any easier for them or me.

"I am trying to be strong and not show them how much I am hurting too, but I don't know what to do."


It is a far cry from 2005 when Dusan was hailed a hero after using his own money to feed and clothe victims of the Sri Lankan tsunami.

Soon after, his marriage fell apart. Then, in 2013, the garment factory where he worked was closed down.

He also claims to have uncovered a plot by his estranged wife to have him killed.

After he met Thushari, he says his ex-wife began a campaign of harassment and assaults that forced him to send his young family to live in Landsborough.

"He told me we had to get out of the country for our own safety and he would join us in two months," Thushari said.

"His family has taken us in and looked after us, but we want Dusan to be here with us."

Dusan is caught in a Catch- 22 situation.

The Sri Lankan courts will not allow him to get a divorce and leave the country until he pays maintenance he still owes, but his visa does not allow him to work in order to make the money he needs.

He has made payment offers but is continually frustrated by unexpected court adjournments, language barriers and a questionable legal system.

Thushari said she now considered Australia her home and had no plans of returning to Sri Lanka, despite still having family there.

There was no way Dusan would consider returning.

"He hates that country," Thushari said. "He was always helping poor people, with food and everything, and then this is how they have treated him."

Wheels turning too slowly for Australian pleading for assistance

DUSAN Jacenko could be forgiven for feeling abandoned by his own country.

While he waits for a Sri Lankan court to decide his fate, the Australian Government appears to have done little to help.

When it became clear Dusan was being buried under the Sri Lankan legal system, his family in Australia took his case to Member for Fisher, Mal Brough, whose office alerted the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
An Australian Embassy official advised Dusan it could not interfere in a court case but undertook to look into the matter and requested his court papers on March 27.

By April 8, when he had heard nothing, Dusan wrote, almost begging for news.


"Please give me an update on the situation.

"... why don't we just wait and you can ship me home in a box and explain to my children why they no longer have a daddy?

"I simply need to know."

On April 10, Mr Brough's office replied to a Sunshine Coast Daily inquiry with: "Dusan has received Consular assistance and this is continuing. Unfortunately the Consulate is unable to intervene in court matters. I am very pleased that Dusan has been able to engage legal representation to assist him with his court case".

At that stage, Dusan had no legal representation, could not afford an interpreter and was struggling to get information from consular officials.

On April 13, DFAT responded to a series of questions from the Daily with: "The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade continues to provide all appropriate consular assistance in line with the Consular Services Charter to an Australian man in Sri Lanka."

A frustrated Mr Jacenko said the response was similar to others he had received in the past and "may as well be computer generated".(Sunshine Coast Sunday)
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  Comments - 21

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  • Ranjit Perera Saturday, 18 April 2015 11:11 PM

    Our legal system is nothing but ANTIC. Not only.this foreignet, even the locals.are.victims of these age old laws. Why can;t the Australian government help him financially?

    herath Sunday, 19 April 2015 02:25 PM

    Austria cannot help because it is in Europe and has nothing to do with the case.

    Fair N Square Saturday, 18 April 2015 11:39 PM

    dont we have legal aid? for ppl in distress? Its a shame he has to go through all hassle. He seems to have been a factory owner who paid wages and maybe yes may be taxes...Some philanthropist should come forward to see him through this torture... Bad image of SL is portrayed here, sad... and as for Thushari, she is an opportunist who seem to have wanted to leave sl and talk trash about SL, her native country... what an unpatriotic person.... What guarantee does Australia have that she would be a patriot? Shame on her...

    Dusan Jacenko Sunday, 19 April 2015 03:18 PM

    Fair N SquareYour comment leaves me with mixed feelings.I have been to Leagal Aid,Aid is only available for SriLankans,I was not a factory owner but managed an Australian owned Factory.Now Regarding Thushari My Partner and mother of my Children! How could you possibly take it apon yourself to Judge her. Thushari has stood by my side since 2005 She has endured both Physical and Verbal abuse from my estranged wife she has been arrested by police when we have made entries regarding physical attacks by my estranged wife. She left SriLanka because I Infact feared for thier safety. Thushari Is SriLankan and proud to Be nobody has the right to judge her in the way you haven.nothing Thushari has said is trash.You have no idea who she is or what her ideals are and you will never truly know what sort of life Thushari has indured over the last few years.Her Shame for her mother Country is because of the way I have been treated here.Everybody has the right to thier opinion,I assure you that your opinion of Thushari is Totaly out of order."SHAME ON YOU"

    K. C. John Tuesday, 21 April 2015 04:18 PM

    Dusan, of which nationality is your ex-wife?

    Shihab Wednesday, 22 April 2015 09:10 AM

    Dusan, Thank you for all what you have done during the aftermath of the devastating tsunami, its not good for any one to judge anyone sitting behind a computer,in fact our justice system needs an urgent overhaul, we all know that, most of the laws enacted are ancient and would have been ideal for those time, and now we need to revisit and make amendments to make it very present, my sympathies to you sir, hope you will be able to find your way out of this mess, have you tried writing to the ministry of justice, perhaps this way you might be able to find some solution to your case, best of luck

    hari Sunday, 19 April 2015 01:24 AM

    It is not only Srilanka the divorce courts and lawyers are corrupt everywhere. I went through my my divorce in New Jersey USA, and I was shocked how lawyers take your money $$$ and do nothing. When you try and make independent inquiry requesting confidentiality, the court staff informs this to my lawyer but refused to me information I requested. I made official complain to the Ombudsman and the lawyers ethics office and they did nothing.

    Dusan Jacenko Sunday, 19 April 2015 03:26 PM

    AIAI have certainly not made a mess of my life as you put it.I made a mistake I married the wrong person,which is not a Crime.Nothing I have said is Slanderous toward SriLanka. I have told only the truth regarding a real and impossible situation I am facing in this country the facts and only the Facts! Is it Newsworthy well it must be you took the time to read and comment

    Dusan Jacenko Sunday, 19 April 2015 03:32 PM

    Puran There is no blaming or hating Simply the Truth.Expecting something in return.I do not expect or ask for anything from SriLanka !Just A FAIR GO. As you would also want in my situation.

    Dusan Jacenko Sunday, 19 April 2015 03:35 PM

    Ranjit I am not asking for financial help and never will I just want to be given back my Right Of Free Movement

    Dusan Jacenko Sunday, 19 April 2015 03:51 PM

    This story was never intended to have a negative impact in SriLanka.My Appolagies if it does Unfortunately after enduring 9 years dealing with the SriLankan Justice System and always getting a negative result I have been forced to turn to the Media as I need a Voice because I cannot shout loud enough.I have tried to do everything in the correct manner to resolve this unfortunate situation always just another Wall with no door.I am not refusing to honor my commitmentsI am not asking for a free ride I am not asking for PittyI am asking that My case be heard according to the SriLankan Maintainance Act.I lodged a motion due to Change of Circumstances my motion was refused.I am asking for my right of free movement to be restored.

    Sonali Sunday, 19 April 2015 05:55 AM

    Maybe if he had tried to smuggle drugs the Australian govt., Tony Abbot, Julia Bishop and the rest would have stepped in. What hypocrites.

    Banda Saturday, 18 April 2015 05:16 PM

    These are the negetive images our country has. Hope our lawers do justice for him in good faith.

    AIA Saturday, 18 April 2015 05:25 PM

    He has made a mess of his life and trying to slander the image of SL with the implications in the eyes of the world. Is this really news worthy??

    Puran Appu Saturday, 18 April 2015 07:11 PM

    Blaming, hating, Sri Lanka or the Lankan legal system will not help ! It is important to understand the realities and work with everyone to get out of this. Also it is not nice to expect something in return of tsunami favours for which we all are thankful indeed.

    Rise Saturday, 18 April 2015 07:19 PM

    good lesson to other foreign men and women who is thinking of having a spouse from Sri Lanka. They will take you for cleaners. All the best Dusan you will have your day soon. God bless

    dulan Sunday, 19 April 2015 09:01 AM

    Our legal system is not humane

    Nayaran Saturday, 18 April 2015 07:30 PM

    Perhaps, this is why even Sri Lankan people are afraid of the legal side of our country, which has apparently being ruined by not so competent and corrupt officers. We have no history of treating people equally after becoming independent. Feel sorry for this gentleman. Hope he gets a relieve after this news broadcast.

    Niru Saturday, 18 April 2015 07:44 PM

    Given the speed of our justice system, he can expect to spend rest of his life here.

    Naren Senaratna Saturday, 18 April 2015 08:46 PM

    A very unfortunate situation where a man who has loved this country is not being helped at all to resolve this issue .. I am ashamed of the Sri Lankan woman, his ex wife who seems to be a gold digger and a revengeful one at that!!

    Abdul Hameed Sunday, 19 April 2015 10:52 AM

    Legal Aid should help these type of people. Oxfam Austrla should help these people too.


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