LONDON: An Indian-origin man has been found guilty of bigamy by a UK court after he confessed to marrying a second time in London despite having a wife back in Goa.
Wilfred Souza admitted the bigamy charge at Feltham Magistrates’ Court in west London yesterday and was handed a punishment of one-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay a fine of 100 pounds.
Magistrate Chris Hack told the 35-year-old man that the offence was on the “lower end” of the scale.
“We find that the circumstances surrounding this case of bigamy puts the offending at the lowest end,” he said.
“We accept an offence has been committed which involved some deceit but there has been little if any harm to either party and the deceit was limited,” the magistrate added.
“We note Mrs Souza’s behaviour in this matter and the support being displayed by your partner,” the judge said. According to the ‘Hounslow Chronicle’, Mr Souza married first wife Ms Ezmy in Goa in December 2012 but left to live in the UK in 2013 to study and look for work.
He then started “ignoring” his wife’s telephone calls after she kept asking him when he was “coming home”.
The court was told Mr Souza repeatedly dodged his first wife’s calls and attempts to get in touch on social media. And on March 23, 2015, he got married to Sheiza Colaco – who is also originally from Goa – at the Hounslow Civic Centre without getting a divorce.
His first wife found out about Mr Souza’s marriage and alerted the authorities in the UK, saying she was still married to him – leading to Mr Souza’s arrest for bigamy.
The prosecution told the court: “Mrs Souza states Mr Souza left India to go to England for work and on the second occasion failed to return and had been avoiding her calls.”
Mr Souza’s defence lawyer, Stefan Baard, described how Miss Colaco – Souza’s second wife – knew all about his first wife in India.
He said Mr Souza had “gone to great lengths” to try and resolve issues with his first wife, but that she had told him she was “not interested in a divorce or in joining him in England”.
He said Mr Souza and his second wife were “very keen to move on and try to get the divorce sorted out in India”.
Mr Baard said: “The reason for this second marriage taking place was that Miss Calico fell pregnant and there was huge pressure on him for cultural reasons to get married.”
“They’re very keen to move on and try to get the divorce sorted out in India so they can marry properly this time around,” he added.
Under conditional discharge, the offender is released but his offence is registered on criminal record.
No further action is taken unless they commit a further offence within a time frame of around three years.