Couple deny proposed marriage is sham

A Latvian woman and her Pakistani fiancée have secured leave to bring a High Court challenge against the Limerick County Registrar's refusal to allow their marriage, following a Garda objection.

The couple, Ina Aksjonova (aged 23) and Shahid Mahmood (aged 25), Georgian Villa, Clare Street, Limerick were due to be married last July. However they were "shocked and devastated" after being informed the day before their wedding that the ceremony could not go ahead because the Gardaí lodged an objection to their marriage.

The couple told the court that their marriage is not one of convenience and have argued they should be allowed marry because no impediment exists to their proposed marriage.

Today at the High Court Mr Justice George Birmingham granted the couple leave to bring a judicial review proceedings against the Registrar for Co Limerick and the Commissioner for an Garda Síochána arising out of the decision to lodge an objection to their marriage.

In their proceedings the couple are seeking a declaration that no impediment exists to their marriage. They are also seeking a number of orders from the court including orders quashing the objection lodged by the Gardaí, and the decision by the Limerick Co Registrar to refer the objection to the Registrar General for consideration.

Sunniva McDonagh SC for the couple said that Ms Aksjonova is a Latvian national who works in cafe in Limerick, while Mr Mahmood from Pakistan is an IT student in Ireland. The couple met on a Latvian social networking website.

Counsel said that an objection can only be lodged in respect of a marriage on the grounds that an impediment exists. In this case there was no such legal impediment. Counsel said the couple are not related, have never been married, are over 18 years of age, are of sound mind and are of the opposite sex.

Counsel added that the decision taken by the respondents in this action amounted to an unlawful interference with their right to marry.

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