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Participating in Bigamy

Participating in bigamy is an offence under section 93 of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You legally married another person’s legal spouse
  2. You knew the person was legally married, and
  3. You knew the other person’s legal spouse was alive.

You are not guilty of the offence if you are able to establish ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that at the time of the marriage, the married person’s spouse had been ‘continually absent’ for 7 years, or in the event that the married person’s spouse was living in New South Wales, that he or she was ‘continually absent’ from the state for 5 years and you believed, on reasonable grounds, that he or she was deceased.

The meaning of ‘continually absent’ is a matter of fact determined by the court.

Duress is a defence to the charge.

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