Autistic man was married 'despite lacking mental capacity to do so'

Man who got married at 'very bling' wedding in Pakistan could not tell a psychiatrist 'how babies came'

Brian Farmer
Sunday 06 December 2015 22:22 GMT
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A High Court in London has ruled that a man with learning disabilities who got married at a Muslim wedding in Pakistan lacked the mental capacity to do so
A High Court in London has ruled that a man with learning disabilities who got married at a Muslim wedding in Pakistan lacked the mental capacity to do so (Getty)

A man with learning disabilities who could not tell a psychiatrist “how babies came” got married at a Muslim wedding in Pakistan despite lacking the mental capacity to do so, a family court judge has heard.

Around 500 guests attended the “very bling” £25,000 wedding festivities. But at the ceremony an Imam had to ask the man, “Do you know why you are here?” and the marriage had not been consummated, Mr Justice Hayden was told.

The judge concluded that the man lacked the mental capacity to marry, but said he was convinced that the man’s family had organised the wedding in the belief that marriage would provide him with “care and security”.

Details of the case have emerged in a ruling by the judge following a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London. The bride is said to have given evidence over the telephone from Pakistan.

Mr Justice Hayden indicated that social services staff had raised concerns about the marriage and that lawyers had asked him to decide whether the man had the mental capacity to consent to marriage.

He said the man at the centre of the case could not be identified but said the local authority involved was Luton Borough Council.

A psychiatrist had questioned the man and had told the judge in a report: “He told me one had babies from intercourse. He could not tell me how to prevent this or how babies came.”

The psychiatrist concluded: “I am not persuaded he has any significant grasp of what is a role of a husband and of a wife... His intellectual disability and autism are key in him not understanding the simple generalities of the roles and to be able to talk around them.”

Mr Justice Hayden said he had “little difficulty” in concluding that the man lacked the “capacity to marry”.

“I am convinced that the objective of this marriage was to provide (the man) with care and security for the remainder of his life,” said the judge. “[His mother] contemplated marriage as a solution for her son’s predicament.”

Press Association

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