Defendant became possessive and controlling towards his victim, a devout Muslim, before repeatedly raped her and forced her to marry him. Defendant also threatened to kill her father if she did not go along with the ceremony. This case marked the first successful prosecution under new forced marriage law. Defendant was sentenced to four years for forced marriage charge, 12 months for bigotry and 12 months for voyeurism -- all to run concurrently with a 16-year rape conviction.
The child was deceived into an arranged marriage in India through various forms of threat and coercion. Cultural practices are sensitive issues and the Family Court of Australia noted that “if a cultural practice relating to a marriage gives rise to the overbearing of a mind and will so that it is not a true consent, the cultural practice must give way.” The judgment stated that the wife’s “physical state at the time of the ceremony was such that she was physically and mentally overborne. Her consent was not real because it was obtained by duress.”
The parents made arrangements for the child to marry a person whom, on her evidence, she had met on one occasion. The wedding was planned to take place under two weeks time and would involve this child flying from Australia to Lebanon for the purpose of that marriage occurring. The Court intervened and held that it was required to consider the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm in circumstances whereby the child is being forced to marry, a principle that would render the marriage void under Australia law, as it is devoid of genuine consent.
The couple had an arranged marriage in the home country of one party, to which each of them freely consented, and applied for a marriage visa to enter the UK. The Supreme Court decided that the ban on the entry for settlement of foreign spouses or civil partners unless both parties are aged 21 or over was not a lawful way of deterring or preventing forced marriages.