Alleged Negril bigamist reportedly wed to gain resident status in Canada
BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large, Western Bureau email@example.com
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — A West End, Negril, native accused of marrying a Canadian woman while he was still married was on Tuesday granted bail in the sum of $400,000 with surety, when he appeared in the Savanna-la-Mar Resident Magistrate's Court on a charge of bigamy and three counts of forgery.
He is scheduled to return to court on March 6, to answer to the charges.
Ian Samuels, 36, who has been living in Canada since 2009 — two years after he married his second wife in the resort town of Negril on Christmas Eve in 2007 — pleaded not guilty to the charges when he appeared before Resident Magistrate Colymore Gordon.
It is alleged that Samuels used his marriage to his second wife to obtain permanent resident status in Canada.
Samuels who has been vacationing in the island since December 18, was arrested and charged by members of the Fraud Squad, just days before he was scheduled to depart the island for Canada.
During his first appearance in court on Tuesday, a teary-eyed Samuels, nattily dressed in a multi-coloured shirt and jeans, and sporting a low hair-cut murmured "not guilty" to each of the four charges.
Attorney Delford Morgan, who is representing the accused, urged the RM to grant his client bail, arguing that Samuels has no previous convictions and had started the process to divorce his first wife.
RM Gordon then ordered that the accused be finger-printed; his travel documents seized; a stop order be placed on him at the island's ports; and that he report to the Negril Police Station every Friday between the hours of 6:00 am and 6:00 pm, as part of his bail conditions.
Morgan later told the Jamaica Observer West that the prosecution is alleging that after the grant of a decree nisi (first of two phases for a divorce) for his first wife, Samuels got married to his second wife before the decree absolute (final phase) was completed.
The attorney told the Observer West that he is yet to formulate a defence for his client, which he hopes will lead to his acquittal.
"I have not received all the statements from the prosecution, so I am not in a position at this stage to say how I will proceed with the matter," Morgan said.
Bigamy is a felony under the Offences Against the Person Act and attracts a maximum penalty of four years, with or without hard labour, on conviction.