A woman who committed bigamy on
Valentine's Day has been let off with a warning from a judge
that in times past she would have been jailed.
Fiona Frances Fielding, 39, of Whangaripo was sentenced today
at North Shore District Court on a charge of bigamy and one
of making a false statement to a marriage celebrant.
The charges related to her marriage to Nino Nish on
Valentine's Day last year while still legally being married
to her previous husband.
She had pleaded guilty at a previous court appearance.
Judge Roy Wade said Fielding had been married to her first
husband from 1996 until splitting up with him in 2011.
However, neither had ever filed divorce proceedings.
Her lawyer Peter Syddall told the court that his client had
assumed her former family lawyer had filed the proceedings on
her behalf, but that was not the case.
Her former lawyer was no longer practising, and any
documentation relating to her divorce application could not
be found, Mr Syddall said.
His client would never have gone through with the second
marriage if she was aware she was not divorced, he said.
The first marriage had been “well and truly over for a very,
very long time” but was still causing “considerable
difficulty” and would be legally terminated soon, Mr Syddall
Judge Wade said that when he first started in the legal
profession in 1963, people were jailed for committing bigamy.
Luckily for Fielding, that was no longer the case.
Her offending technically had no victim and her second
marriage hadn't been for anything untoward such as committing
immigration fraud, he said.
The police prosecutor described the charge as “unusual in any
Judge Wade convicted Fielding on the two charges and ordered
her to come up for sentence if called upon in the next 12
Outside court, Mr Syddall described the sentence as being
essentially a good behaviour bond. He added that it was the
first time in his legal career that he had represented a
client facing a bigamy charge.
- By Brendan Manning of