It is important to note that witnesses for Rifqa were told that the trial would last several days and to be prepared to testify next week. So this is a very new development and clearly was designed by the Barys' attorney. So yes, I am dubious of their strategy.
Here is the account of someone that was there. Heartland Patriot sent me this:
I was able to enter the hearing room a little after 2 PM. At this point the court session had not begun. The parties were still meeting in separate rooms.
The public gallery in the modest room consisted of only twelve chairs. Besides myself and a member of my family only seven other people were present. This included four women who were under the court’s gag order, a Columbus Dispatch photographer, Dispatch reporter Meredith Heagney, and another reporter.
At 2:45 PM the court officer informed us the prosecutor was meeting with Rifqa’s parents in negotiations. These negotiations among the parties continued for over one and a half hours.
A little after 4:30 PM the court convened, with magistrate Mary Goodrich presiding.
Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Chris Julian opened by stating an agreement had been reached on the dependency complaint. Goodrich asked if that meant the complaint was ready for adjudication, which Julian affirmed.
Julian stated Franklin County Children Services had concerns about Rifqa’s well-being. She gave a brief timeline of Rifqa’s case, starting with Rifqa’s escape to Florida. She stated this was neither an abuse nor neglect case. She then asked the court proceed to dependency on agreement of all parties. Goodrich assented once she confirmed all parties agreed. Goodrich also stated Rifqa was a ward of the court.
Julian requested Goodrich set the date of Rifqa's next dependency hearing on August 10, by which time Rifqa will be 18. Goodrich asked if all parties agreed, including Rifqa's parents. All agreed, and Goodrich approved the prosecutor's request.
Julian raised a motion to release Rifqa’s journals and an unspecified unopened letter, to counselor Jennifer Dorn, with the stipulation that the journals and letter would not be released to Rifqa’s parents nor her parents’ attorneys. Goodrich concurred.
Goodrich then approved temporary custody of Rifqa with Franklin County Children Services.
All other pending motions were dismissed, except for the gag order.
It was then announced that Rifqa asked to change her admission on the unruliness and incorrigible complaint. Rifqa wished to admit to the complaint. Before accepting her admission Goodrich listed the rights Rifqa would be forfeiting by admitting to the complaint. Rifqa indicated her understanding.
Goodrich then found Rifqa to be an unruly minor.
Julian next requested the unruliness complaint be held open until Rifqa’s 18th birthday. Rifqa’s attorney Angela Lloyd objected, arguing the complaint should be closed. Lloyd stated Rifqa was safe in the custody of Franklin County Children Services, and that it was in Rifqa’s best interest the complaint be closed.
Goodrich agreed. She stated the unruliness was related to the rules of Rifqa’s home; that since those rules no longer applied given Rifqa was no longer in her parents home the circumstances relating to her unruliness were now gone. Goodrich ruled to close the unruliness complaint.
All motions being dealt with, aside from the gag order which would be addressed in a separate hearing on January 25th, it was time for statements. Mr. Bary gave a statement to the effect that he loved his daughter, had worked hard for her, and that the best solution was counseling.
The Barys' attorney, Omar Tarazi, then gave a statement. He reiterated the claim that this was not an abuse or neglect case; that this was a broken family; and that the family issues should be resolved out of the public eye.
The hearing then adjourned at approximately 4:55 PM.
A deal was cut today in the trial of Rifqa Bary. In exchange for pleading guilty to the charge of being "unruly", Rifqa will not have to return home.