Someone who conducts wedding ceremonies should know the intricacies of marital law, but that didn’t appear to be the case for Alec McIvor Stevenson, 73.
Stevenson married his first wife in New Zealand back in 1962.
They had three children together before Stevenson packed up and moved to Australia eight years later.
Stevenson joined the Liberal Catholic Church, becoming an ordained priest.
In 1974 Stevenson married his second wife while still legally married to his first.
They divorced, and Stevenson married for a third time in 2002.
His second wife became suspicious when she learned he’d had a son before they married.
The police became involved and it was revealed that neither wife number two nor wife number three had prior knowledge of Stevenson’s family in New Zealand.
In April, before the ACT Magistrates Court, Stevenson came face to face with the NZ wife he’d abandoned 44 years prior.
He claimed he thought his first wife had divorced him, despite never receiving any paperwork or signing any documents.
‘I chose to put all of New Zealand behind me,’ Stevenson stated.
Magistrate Beth Campbell expressed disbelief at his claim of ignorance and handed Stevenson a six-month suspended sentence and 18-month good behaviour bond.