The AFP has charged a West Australian resident with bigamy and making false declarations over allegations he already had a wife when he married a second woman.
The man, 48, faced Perth Magistrates Court (10 February, 2023) charged over allegations he was separated but not divorced from his first wife when he married a second woman in July 2020.
He has also been charged for allegedly making false declarations on legal documents for that second marriage and on application forms for a third marriage, which took place in late 2022.
The man allegedly declared on his application for a marriage certificate in both matters that he had ‘never validly married’ and signed a formal ‘declaration of no legal impediment to marriage’.
The AFP began investigating the bigamy allegations in late 2022 after the man’s first wife, who is based in the eastern states, contacted the second wife via social media and exposed his alleged duplicity.
Police will allege the man married his second wife in WA in July 2020 but had not told her of his previous marriage, declaring on a marriage application form that he had never been validly married.
He allegedly did not finalise his divorce from his first wife until more than one year later in September 2021.
The man allegedly separated from his second wife in September 2022 and married a third woman in November (2022).
Investigations have found the second marriage was not considered valid in Australia because the man was allegedly still legally married to his first wife.
As he had divorced his first wife before his third wedding and the second marriage was invalid, there are no allegations of bigamy in relation to the third marriage.
However the man allegedly submitted an application for a marriage certificate to the Department of Justice’s Births, Deaths and Marriages ahead of his third marriage, describing his conjugal status as ‘never validly married’ including signing a formal ‘declaration of no legal impediment to marriage’.
AFP Leading Senior Constable Kevin Loermans said allegations of deception and bigamy were serious matters. He said:
“This type of deception and offending has long-lasting and negative real life impacts on the victims and families involved and the AFP will ensure allegations like this are investigated fully.”
The man, from South Guildford, was arrested yesterday (9 February, 2023) and refused bail to face court charged with:
- One count of bigamy, contrary to section 94(1) of the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is five years’ imprisonment.
- Two counts of giving a defective notice, contrary to section 104 of the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is six months’ imprisonment.