Senin, 04 Agustus 2014

Marriage celebrant escapes jail sentence for bigamy after failing to divorce first wife (ABC)

A Canberra man found guilty of marrying two women without divorcing his first wife has been given a six-month suspended sentence in the ACT Magistrates Court.

Alec McIvor Stevenson, 70, was charged with bigamy after it emerged he had failed to divorce his wife in New Zealand in 1970 before moving to Australia and marrying two more times.

Stevenson, who was trained as a marriage celebrant and had performed several weddings, married his first wife in 1962 and had three children in New Zealand.

His first wife told the court Stevenson had walked out 40 years ago, and although she had wanted to get a divorce, the fees were too expensive.

Stevenson married again in Australia in 1974, then after a divorce married a third woman in 2002.

He was reported to police after his second wife learned in 2010 that Stevenson may have had another son who shared his name.

The court has also been told a daughter from his first marriage and one from his second have exactly the same name.

His second wife told the court when she asked Stevenson if he was actually divorced, he said he believed he had been divorced before he left New Zealand.

Stevenson's third wife gave evidence she did not know about his New Zealand family, or that he had not been divorced from his first wife but did know about his second wife in Australia.

For a time Stevenson was an ordained priest with the Liberal Catholic Church, which is separate from the mainstream Catholic Church.

During today's sentencing he apologised for being defensive and selfish.

But Magistrate Beth Campbell told the court it was the first remorse he had shown over the incidents.

Stevenson has been placed on an 18-month good behaviour order on top of the suspended sentence.

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