Posted by Patrick Hart, Partner
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14-year-old’s father jailed after forcing her to marry a 30-year-old who then abused her
A father who forced his daughter to marry a 30-year-old man, on her 14th birthday, has been jailed after the girl sought police help.
Manchester Crown Court heard that the girl in question was woken from her bed and taken downstairs to her home’s living room, where the marriage ceremony was performed by an Imam.
As the ceremony was conducted in Bengali, the girl could not understand what was being said and instead had to be prompted by her aunt, who pinched her when a response was needed.
The girl was then taken upstairs and undressed by her new husband, who then sexually assaulted her.
He is now believed to be in Bangladesh.
It was only when the girl ran away from home, while her father was also in Bangladesh, that she was able to seek help from the police.
The father returned to the UK after hearing about police involvement, but he initially tried to inform officers that the wedding ceremony had been a “birthday party” and that his daughter had only received a “blessing” from the Imam.
Judge Patrick Field QC sentenced the father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to 14 weeks in jail.
The sentence was given after Judge Field accepted that he had never intended for his daughter and her new husband to have any form of sexual contact before she turned 18.
Judge Field said: “It was not your intention that there should be any physical contact between husband and wife until she was 18.
“But this case is brought against you because you are her father. You owe to her certain grave duties… By forcing her into this union you betrayed her.
“It is important to stress that the law of England and Wales is that young girls should be free from such a threat and the courts will be diligent in enforcing this law.”
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