On 10 July 2017, marriage celebrant Diane Caratozzolo-Waddington 58, was convicted in the Rockingham Magistrates Court of solemnising a marriage of a Rockingham couple in October 2015 in circumstances where the bride could not give consent.
Ms Caratozzolo-Waddington solemnised the marriage on 7 October 2015 in circumstances where the bride could not give consent to the marriage proceedings or participate in the wedding ceremony because she was terminally ill. Ms Caratozzolo-Waddington lodged the marriage documents two days later with the Western Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages - a Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage, a document she knew to be false. She took no steps to inform the Registry about the circumstances in which the ceremony was performed, so as to enable the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages to determine whether a ‘registrable event’ had occurred. In doing so, Ms Caratozzolo-Waddington breached her duties and obligations as a registered marriage celebrant, including those in the Code of Practice for Marriage Celebrants contained in Schedule 1A of the Marriage Regulations 1963 (Cth).
On 10 July 2017, Diane Caratozzolo-Waddington was convicted and placed on a Recognizance Release Order under Section 20(1)(a) of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) in the sum of $1,800 to be of good behaviour for 12 months in relation to:
- 1 count of solemnising a marriage, having reason to believe that there was a legal impediment to the marriage, or the marriage would be void pursuant to s100 of the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth)
The intended bride was terminally ill. Ms Caratozzolo-Waddington met with the couple some days beforehand and spent some time with the bride. On 7 October 2015, Ms Caratozzolo-Waddington was contacted and told the bride’s health had significantly deteriorated.
The Court accepted that it was a misguided attempt to facilitate the wishes of the parties but as a Marriage Celebrant, Ms Caratozzolo-Waddington had to put the law ahead of her personal feelings.
The Court understood that for Ms Caratozzolo-Waddington, the situation was that she was misguided – but ultimately she was obliged to follow her obligations as a Marriage Celebrant.
To obtain the full judgment in this matter contact the relevant court.