An alleged sex offender who took advantage of the more lenient bail laws has been granted bail.
The 62 year old father of seven didn’t want his daughter to “live a sinful life.” He evidently thought that his best option to insure this was to marry the 12 year old girl off. He has also allegedly told police that he would consider marrying off his eight year old daughter as well, if it would avoid her avoiding premarital sex.
The father of the bride arranged the marriage with a 26 year old Lebanese man, who has now had his student visa cancelled and remains in Villawood Detention Centre.
The cleric who conducted the illegal Islamic wedding ceremony has already pleaded guilty and has been deported to Pakistan after paying a fine.
The judge granted the father bail although conceding that he was an “unacceptable risk” – the new test under the bail act. He was described as having “no regard for the laws of NSW.”
He appeared in Burwood Local Court via video link.
The father, who could not be named for legal reasons, was released on bail even though he had a history of interfering with witnesses. The magistrate said that she found his crimes disgusting and disgraceful, yet she had to apply the new bail laws which meant he could be released on bail because any “unacceptable risk” could be overcome by bail conditions.
His bail conditions include that he cannot enter two mosques in the Newcastle area, nor speak to his daughters or live with anyone under the age of 16.
He has been charged with procuring a child under 14 for unlawful sexual activities and being an accessory before the fact to sexual intercourse with a person under 14.
Child marriages in Australia are an area of concern. It is estimated that hundreds of child brides are married in Australia each year. The exact figure is unknown and it is an area that will always be under reported.
This child bride came to the attention of the police when her “husband” wanted Centrelink to list him as her new guardian as she was now his wife. He didn’t even seem to think there was anything wrong with it.
It evidently wasn’t the case here but many of these marriages are kept secret as the perpetrators know that marrying underage girls is against Australian law.
Despite the fact that this is by no means the only illegal marriage involving underage children in Australia, this is the first time that NSW police have actually made arrests involving a child bride.
Currently those at risk may be placed, or even place themselves, on an Airport Watch List, so that they cannot be forced to leave Australia and get married in a foreign country.
Another story that only came to light after the men involved in the 12 year old girls illegal marriage were charged in the Burwood Local Court.
The now 25 year old victim shared her story in the Federal Circuit Court where she argued that her abusive husband should be banned from seeing their daughter.
She was married at 14 to a man who raped and beat her and later abused their daughter. Her father had told her that the only way out of the marriage was for her was in a coffin.
Marrying off twelve year old daughters to men more than twice their age is something most people would never dream of doing, quite apart from the fact that it is against the law.
But the father who appeared before Burwood local court appeared to the magistrate to have no regard for the laws of NSW.
Do people like this who refuse to acknowledge the laws of Australia pose an “unacceptable risk”? The magistrate believes so, yet in consideration with the criteria set out in the new bail act, this man was granted bail, as the risks were deemed to be mitigated by conditions attached to the bail.
Do you think that the new bail laws are too lenient?