15th November 1910
Reference Numbert19101115-29
VerdictGuilty > pleaded guilty
SentenceMiscellaneous > sureties

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MARTIN, Rudolph (56, interpreter) , pleaded guilty of unlawfully aiding, abetting and procuring the commission of a certain misdemeanour by Wilhelm Pries, to wit, the unlawful knowingly and willfully making and subscribing by the said Wilhelm Pries of a false declaration before E. J. Mott, Deputy Superintendent Registrar of Marriages in and for the District of Fulham, which such declaration was required to be made and subscribed by statute upon a marriage then intended to be solemnised between the said Wilhelm Pries and Lena Widmann, the said Wilhelm Pries knowing the said declaration to be false in a certain material particular.

Mr. Graham-Campbell prosecuted; Mr. Symmons appeared for prisoner.

Mr. Graham-Campbell said that prisoner had during the past three or four years come on several occasions to the offices of the Registrar of the Fulham District to act as interpreter for Germans who were desirous of getting married. On September 8 he came to the office on behalf of a man named Wilhelm Pries. Mr. Durham, one of the clerks, on prisoner's instructions filled up a declaration that Wilhelm Pries had for 15 days had his sole place of residence within the district of Fulham. Mr. Mott, the District Superintending Registrar, came into the room, handed the form to prisoner, and asked if the particulars were correct. Prisoner said they were. The facts were that on the previous day, September 3, prisoner called on a Miss Footman, who carried on a boarding-house in Fulham, and asked if she could take in a lady and gentleman who would arrive next morning and stay two or three days. On the 8th a German lady and gentleman arrived with prisoner and remained with Miss Footman for some seven days longer. Upon September 10 prisoner, Wilhelm Pries, and Lena Widmann, the other party to the marriage, attended at the registry office. Mr. Mott then told prisoner that it had come to his knowledge that the declaration as to duration of residence was not correct. Prisoner at first said that it was correct, then that he had not read it when he signed it, and then finally admitted that it was incorrect. Mr. Mott then made a note upon it, "This declaration is not correct," which prisoner signed. Mr. Mott then told prisoner that the marriage could not be proceeded with. Prisoner said that he had been asked by the agents in Berlin to arrange that a marriage should take place in a shorter time than usual. He also said that one of the contracting parties had had another residence in the district in August, but he was not able to say where it was. On the 12th prisoner came again to the office, and said that Pries had resided at 18, Hanley Road, Hammersmith, in August. It was pointed out to him that that was not a fulfilment of the statutory requirements, because the 15 days' residence must be 15 days immediately preceding the giving of the notice. Having stated the facts, Counsel said that the matter was one of very considerable importance, not only to the Somerset House authorities in this country, but also to the authorities in other countries.

The Common Serjeant. It is a direct infringement of the marriage laws, which are most important to be observed, because marriages change the status of the parties. On the validity of a marriage depends the legitimacy of children, the succession to estates, and the bonds between the parties themselves. If a false declaration is made for the purpose of procuring marriages which are not allowed by law it is a most serious matter, haying regard not only to English law but to international law.

Mr. Graham-Campbell said that this was the first prosecution under the Act with regard to foreigners coming over to this country. It as important that it should be most widely known, not only to the prisoner but to others in his position, that it was a very serious offence to infringe the provisions of the Act, and that if cases of this sort occurred the Act would be enforced with the utmost rigour.

Mr. Symmons said that up to the present time prisoner had never had any charge against him. He was of perfectly good character, and had been over in this country for a good number of years. He earned his livelihood by interpreting for German tourist agencies who sent tourists over to this country. His nationality was German.

Prisoner was released on his own recognisances in £20 to come up for judgment if called upon.

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