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My hubby is a wanted criminal and I didn't know

 Photo; Courtesy

Dear Harold,

I feel wasted after being duped and forced into marriage by a foreigner who I later learnt is a fugitive wanted in connection with serious crimes in his country. I started getting suspicious when he flew out of the country the same day we wedded, arguing that his mother was sick and he needed to be with her in hospital since he was the only son. I was recently shocked beyond words when I read articles online that he is wanted in connection with a spate of violent robberies and money laundering. I asked our best man who reluctantly told me that he forced me into marriage in the hope that he would be a  Kenyan citizen. Can I walk out of the marriage as I never gave my consent freely and the marriage was also not consummated – he flew out the same day after the wedding? He even threatened me on several occasions when I expressed pessimism over his marriage proposal as I had known him for two months only. Emma, Mombasa

Dear Emma,

Yes, you can walk out but via a court process that would declare the marriage null and void. The law requires that parties to a marriage must freely consent to marry.

Courts can declare a marriage void if either there was no consent or consent was obtained by fraud, force, threats or under duress.

In most of such cases, courts rely on the judgment delivered in the case of Sullivan vs. Sullivan where a party was induced to marry while drunk and had no intention of exchanging vows.

The courts mainly seek evidence whether there was real consent to marry - consent given freely and knowingly by a person with capacity to contract and aware of the implications of his/her actions.



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