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Singapore

Man given jail for making false claim to annul marriage because wife 'wilfully refused' sex

Man given jail for making false claim to annul marriage because wife 'wilfully refused' sex

File photo of wedding rings. (Photo: AFP/Jay Directo)

SINGAPORE: A man who wanted to get out of his marriage lied in a court statement that his wife had "wilfully refused" to consummate the union, and successfully obtained an annulment.

However, investigations revealed that the couple had sex several times, even before the annulment was finalised.

Daryl Lim Chun Leng, 25, was given a week's jail on Tuesday (Dec 22) for dishonestly making a false claim in the Family Justice Court.

He had given a statement that his then-wife, China national Wang Kechen, had wilfully refused to consummate their marriage, using this as the basis for the annulment.

The court heard that Lim married Ms Wang in January 2017 and they engaged in consensual sex several times after between January and July that year.

However, the couple began facing marital troubles when Ms Wang discovered that Lim was having an affair.

In July 2017, Lim asked Ms Wang to annul the marriage on the basis that they had not consummated it, saying this would be cheaper and both parties could avoid having "divorcee status".

In return, he promised to maintain appearances in front of her parents and to agree to her future requests.

They agreed to annul the marriage on the false claim, and Lim instructed a lawyer to commence annulment proceedings soon after.

The district judge made an order based on Lim's false claim that Ms Wang had wilfully refused to consummate the union and the marriage was eventually declared void in November 2017.

However, Lim admitted during investigations that the couple had consensual sex between January and July of 2017, as well as in August and October the same year. No information was provided as to why investigations were initiated.

Ms Wang has since returned to China.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaime Pang asked for two weeks' jail, saying that the gravity of the offence was in the abuse of court powers.

"The essence of the accused's offending is because he filed a claim he knew was false, and that gave him legal rights and status that he was not otherwise entitled to," said Mr Pang. 

"He was not entitled to the annulment nor the benefits of it, (he) should have gone through the divorce route instead. As a result of the false claim, he has in fact benefitted from the change in legal status."

He added that there was no evidence in terms of the defence's claim that there was violence in the marriage, and Lim did not file any related police report.

Defence lawyer Chong Xin Yi highlighted the circumstances of the marriage. She said her client was placed in "difficulties" at the time and had been "desperate to get out of that".

"While he did not make any police report, there had been an incident in which the police had been called," she said.

She also added that Lim has been "extremely cooperative" and was 21 at the time of the offence. He also has a clean record and is a useful member of society who does volunteer work, she added.

For making a false claim before a court of justice, Lim could have been jailed for up to two years and fined.

Source: CNA/ll(ta)

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