Man barred from marrying by court says he wants to be with his 'bride'

An intellectually disabled man whose legal marriage remains prohibited by court order due to a charity's concerns about his capacity to marry has said he wants to be with his intended bride, the High Court has heard.

Man barred from marrying by court says he wants to be with his 'bride'

An intellectually disabled man whose legal marriage remains prohibited by court order due to a charity's concerns about his capacity to marry has said he wants to be with his intended bride, the High Court has heard.

The man said he did not want "to be alone" and, when he is with the woman, "I feel good inside me", and "I know what I want", naming the woman, solicitor Marie Claire Butler said.

Ms Butler, who this week met the man on behalf of the general solicitor for wards of the court, said he is a "very nice, kind gentleman" who seems very committed to the woman but, in her view, he does not understand the legal functions of marriage.

When she asked him to describe his favourite thing about the couple's recent non-legal wedding celebration, he spelt out the letters: "F-O-O-D", she added.

The president of the High Court was told today by Michael Lynn SC, for the man and woman, who also has an intellectual disability but is high functioning and not subject of any court order, they want to challenge the High Court's wardship jurisdiction in the matter.

Mr Lynn, instructed by the Free Legal Advice Centres, said his side considered there is a difference between the test for the capacity to marry and for capacity in the context of wardship.

If the test is different, the wardship jurisdiction may not be the appropriate means for testing a person's capacity to marry, he said. An 1812 law still in force prevents a ward of court marrying, he noted.

A marriage services solemniser involved in the couple's celebration believed both have the capacity to marry and that view was shared by several other people who know them, counsel said. None are medical people, he said.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said any challenge to the wardship jurisdiction should await the outcome of an assessment by a court-appointed medical visitor of the man's capacity and any other such assessments and adjourned the matter pending those.

He also continued his order prohibiting the man undergoing a civil legal marriage.

That order was sought last week by a charity which provides services for the man arising from opinions of a psychiatrist and two psychologists he lacks the capacity to enter into a contract of marriage. The man's sister and his advocate shared the charity's concerns.

By court order, none of the parties can be identified.

Today, Felix McEnroy SC, for the charity, said it had moved its application properly.

While his side believed the Supreme Court has resolved issues concerning the scope of the High Court wardship jurisdiction, the other side was entitled to raise the jurisdictional point.

In her evidence about her meeting with the man at his residence, Ms Butler said his advocate and a female friend were also there and she asked him introductory questions in their presence before meeting him alone for about an hour.

During her meeting alone with him, the man instructed her to write down his responses, she said.

He appeared to have no recollection or understanding of the court order prohibiting him marrying, she said. She told him the court was most anxious to hear his views and asked him about his understanding of marriage and being married but was not sure he "fully processed" that.

He had said marriage was doing things together like the laundry and emptying the dishwasher, living and working together and "fun and games", he is very happy when with the woman and likes to be happy.

Asked about children, he was "very firm", said "No", and made clear he did not want to talk further about that.

He said to say he has a girlfriend, she is "the one I like to be with", he has feelings for her and put his hand on his heart. He indicated he would like to live with her and when asked whose idea that was, said the woman wants him to live with her.

When asked what living together meant, he again referred to emptying the dishwasher and hanging up clothes together. Asked did it mean anything else, he spelt out the word: "M-O-N-E-Y."

When she asked the man, who the court has heard has considerable assets, if he had money, he pulled out some €70 in notes from his pocket. When she asked had he a bank account, he said he has a safe and then indicated he did not wish to talk about money.

Later, the man indicated he was in the middle of two fires, his family on one side and the woman and her family on the other, Ms Butler said.

He kept repeating the phrase he was "not getting involved", seemed "very frightened of getting hurt" and to be genuinely trying to keep everyone happy. He seems very committed to the woman and she seems to be "his priority", she said.

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