439. JOHN EDWARD MCLOUGHUN, Feloniously marrying Regina Adda during the lifetime of his wife.
MR. HORACE AVORY Prosecuted, and MR. LEONARD Defended.
ANN JANE HART . I am the wife of James Hart, schoolmaster, of St. Mary's School, Scotch Parade, Athlone—I was present at the Baptist Chapel on 1st April when my sister, Rebecca Walsh, was married to John Edward McLoughlin, the prisoner, by the minister of the chapel, the Rev. Thomas Berry (The certificate was here produced to the witness, but MR. LEONARD objected to it.)—I was the principal bridesmaid, and witnessed the ceremony, which was in the usual form—I have been to a good many other weddings—after the ceremony I saw the parties sign their names in the register; the prisoner signed his name, I am sure—after the marriage they lived together as man and wife—the prisoner went to Ashantee, I think, in 1873, having lived with my sister as man and wife up to that time—I visited them three times—he was away a few months, and came home in 1874—afterwards, when he was in Egypt, I wrote one letter to him—his wife did not go with him, she was an invalid—she is in Court now—I know her writing—these cheques are all endorsed by her.
Cross-examined. I was about twenty-three at the time of the marriage—I saw the prisoner going up to the desk with two other gentlemen to sign a book—the minister, Mr. Berry, gave him the book to sign—I don't know if that was the only book he signed—the prisoner separated from my sister in 1873, and came home early in 1874—they did not live apart by mutual consent after that; I used to inquire after him, and she said she heard regularly from him—they lived from 1874 to 1878 in London after he came home from the Ashantee war—I do not know that they were living separately in England by mutual consent.
REGINA ADDA . I made the acquaintance of the prisoner in Cairo, and on 18th February, 1886, I went through the form of marriage with him at the British Consul's office, Cairo—this is the certificate—at that time he represented himself to be a batchelor; I never thought he was a married man—I saw the description he gave of himself in the register—after the marriage we both signed the book at the Consul's office—he lived with me for two years in Alexandria—in 1888 he went to England, leaving me behind—after about nine months he returned with the troops, and remained for a fortnight, and then went back to England with the same ship, leaving me behind—after about twelve months I came over to
Aldershot, and lived with the prisoner for a little time—in February, 1891, I took proceedings against him before the Magistrate, the result being that a separation order was made, and an order compelling him to maintain me.
Cross-examined. Q. Is it not against your wish that the prisoner is having this charge brought against him?—A. Unfortunately I don't know what to say—I have entreated, and begged the prosecution—after the separation order I became reconciled to the prisoner, and lived with him again—I always thought I was his wife—as long as I have been in England he has contributed to my support—when I was illtreated by him he said to aggravate me, "I did not marry you, you married me"—when proceedings were taken against the prisoner to make him pay for my support, he did not say a word about his not being married to me—he has not treated me well since the proceedings at Aldershot—he has supplied me with money lately—I have gone back to live with him within the last few months; my position was so sad—I was all by myself in this country—I thought he was some companion to me—he has treated me kindly as a companion.
Re-examined. I complained of his assaulting me at Aldershot, and he was convicted and fined for it, and bound over to keep the peace for six months—I have a child, three and a-half years old, by him—I have no father or mother, no home, no money—during the last twelve months he left me in Egypt he only sent me £10—the Magistrates made an order for 30s. a week for me and the child; I believed then I was his wife—I heard a rumour that he had another wife and children in England, and then I communicated with the police.
CHARLES EDWARD MCLOUGHLIN . I live at Bristol, and am an accountant—I am the prisoner's son—my mother lives at Bristol—the prisoner stopped there for a night three or four years ago—he has been in the habit of writing to my mother and contributing to her support up to last November; since then he has not sent anything—all these cheques (produced) appear to be drawn by the prisoner, payable to my mother, and endorsed by her—they extend from 1884 to 27th September, 1886, which is the date of the last—he was in regular correspondence with my mother throughout.
Cross-examined. I have seen my father write—cheques never came from Egypt several at a time, or in bundles, but always separately; one at a time as far as I remember—from 1885 onwards, I can safely say they never came more than one at a time—they were not antedated, or never more than a month—about 1886 my mother was in very weak health; she had a sort of nervous illness at the end of 1886—she never suffered from heart disease—grave fears were not entertained as to her life either at the end of 1886 or the early part—the prisoner has always contributed to my mother's support and mine—my father and mother were not living apart by mutual consent, he was away on campaign—he was in the Zulu and Boer wars—at the Cape he was gazetted honorary captain on account of his distinguished services—at Dover he lived in barracks, and my mother was then in London—after the Boer war he was not at home for more than six months at the most—during that six months my father and mother did not live apart by mutual consent—they did not live together—when he was in London he was with us.
CHARLES WRIGHT (Detective-sergeant L). At five o'clock on Saturday
I arrested the prisoner at Farringdon Street—I said, "Is your name McLoughlin?"—he said, "Yes"—I said, "I am a police-officer, and arrest you on a charge of bigamy"—he said, "It is all rubbish; has she done this? I promised to meet her here, as she said she wanted to buy something in the market. I did not think she would do this; I admit it is true"—I took him to the Police-station, where he was formally charged—he said, "I understand very well what it is."
Cross-examined. Sergeant Leonard was with me when I arrested him—he is here—the prisoner did not say, "Did she tell you she was going to meet me here?"—he did not say, "Therefore you admit it is true."
The prisoner's statement before the Magistrate: "I deny that I committed bigamy, because I thought the other one was dead at the time I was married at Cairo."
MR. LEONARD submitted that there was no, legal evidence of the first marriage, as the certificate was signed by Mr. Eland, the minister of a Baptist chapel, and was taken from a private register kept by his predecessor at the chapel, and therefore—(1) the register from which the certificate was copied was not a document of a public nature, which the officer who was supposed to keep it was under any duty to keep, and was not produced from any proper custody; (2) no certified copy could be given in evidence under the Evidence Further Amendment Act if there was any statute which enabled its contents to be proved otherwise; (3) the certificate was neither an examined copy, nor was it certified as a true copy by the officer to whom the original was entrusted. It was necessary to prove that the marriage took place in the presence of a Registrar, or, in his absence, that it was performed in a registered place. In the case of Baptists and Independents the only person who had any right to keep the record of a marriage was the Registrar, and his presence was as necessary as the presence of a clergyman would be in the Church of England, and the copy of the certificate should have been produced from him. There was no evidence that the requirements of the Act of Parliament had been fulfilled; there was no evidence that the marriage was performed in a registered place, or that the Registrar was present. Q. v. Cresswell; 1. Q. B. D. Q. v. Craddock; Foster and Finlayson. Q. v. Mainwaring; 1 Dearsley and Bell. Q. v. Savage; (2) Cox, 178, Q. v. Povey; 32 L. J. M. C. Q. v. Collins; Sessions Paper, 5th Session, 1883. Morris and Miller; 4 Burroughs.
MR. LEONARD also urged that as to the second marriage there was no evidence as to the law of Cairo, and that the certificate was not produced from the custody of the Consul. MR. AVORY contended that the certificate of the first marriage was sufficient evidence of the ceremony, it being signed by the minister to whom the register was entrusted; that apart from that a witness had deposed to being present at the ceremony, and further that a prisoner's admission of having committed bigamy had been held to be sufficient evidence against him. The RECORDER ruled that there was evidence to go to the Jury.
GUILTY —Case Reserved.