Woman receives suspended sentence after admitting bigamy

Divorce|Family Law|News|May 29th 2013

Marriage certificateA Hampshire woman has received a suspended jail sentence after admitting bigamy.

Tracey Green, 45, admitted the offence after Alan Screeney reported her to the police, the Basingstoke Gazette reports. Green split from her first husband Andrew Nickless, in 2008 after ten years together, and went to live with Screeney. But when she married the latter, on January 1 2009, she had not yet received a decree absolute finalising her divorce from Mr Nickless. Her second marriage was therefore void (invalid).

The relationship between Green and second ‘husband’ did not last, coming to an end the following year. But when Mr Screeney heard that Tracey Green was about to marry a third man, he contacted  the police in March 2012.

Green said he had left paperwork relating to her first divorce to Mr Nickless.

Defence counsel Nicholas Bates claimed Screeney has been “controlling” and insisted that his client had had felt under pressure to marry him.

He told Basingstoke Magistrates Court:

“She only married him because he had a heart attack in front of her, and she felt sympathetic and pressured into the marriage. Divorce proceedings must have been ongoing but, of course, the decree absolute was not there.”

Bigamy is contrary to the section 57 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. Green was sentenced to three months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay £50 costs.

District Judge Philip Gillibrand told her: “It is clear to me that your second husband in January 2009 was deceived by you. You must have appreciated that you were still married when you undertook that marriage.”

The judge added:

“You cannot underestimate the importance of marriage. It is one of the important building blocks of society and the institution of marriage is something that needs to be respected by all.”

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

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