A Latvian woman living in Limerick married a Pakistani man — despite being already married, a court heard yesterday.
Both Ivita Visnevska’s marriages were conducted at the civil registry office in St Camillus Hospital, Limerick, and she voluntarily returned from London yesterday to plead guilty to a charge of bigamy.
Detective Garda Oliver Foley, of Henry St, told Limerick Circuit Court the illegal marriage was not a sham and Ms Visnevska, aged 34, did not do it for financial gain.
She had a lengthy relationship with her bigamous husband and they had two children who now live here with him.
Det Garda Foley said Ms Visnevska had subsequently separated from her Latvian husband and their two daughters live with her in London.
She is expecting a fifth child having entered a new relationship with a Muslim man in London. She has converted to Islam and adopted a Muslim name.
Ms Visnevska, also known as Esala Kana, with an address at 14 Berberis Court, Ilford, London, pleaded guilty to marrying Pakistani national, Mirza Azam Baig, at the civil registry office on October 16, 2009, during the lifetime of her marriage to her Latvian husband contrary to the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 and to giving false and misleading information to the registrar contrary to the Civil Registration Act 2004.
Brian McInerney, defending, said it was one of the most unusual cases of its kind to come before the court. There was no financial gain and it was not a sham marriage to a person she met for the first time at the registry office.
The couple had entered a relationship and had two children together.
Det Garda Foley said the accused married a fellow Latvian in Limerick in August 2005 before civil registrar Luoie Quirke.
In July 2009, she married Mr Baig, a native of Pakistan, in the same office, having made a declaration that she was not married.
Gardaí became aware of the bigamous marriage when Latvian authorities contacted them in 2014 after Ms Visnevska filed papers regarding her current status abroad.
The accused had by then gone to live in London and when contacted by gardaí she was most co-operative. She agreed to meet them in a London police station where she gave a statement. Det Garda Foley said the accused also agreed to come to Ireland yesterday to face the charges avoiding the hassle of gardaí having to get an EU arrest and extradition warrants.
Initially she claimed she had engaged a Latvian lawyer to get her first marriage annulled in Latvia due to the long and expensive divorce process in this country. She claimed to have sent €800 to this Latvian lawyer, via Western Union, but no evidence of this transfer could be found.
She then accepted that she had married Mr Baig while she was still married to her Latvian husband.
Judge Tom O’Donnell said what Ms Visnevska did was wrong, but the circumstances were most unusual.
He fined her €100 for making the false declaration at the registry office and took the charge of bigamy into account.
The case was sent forward to the circuit court for sentence.
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