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6 corrections, most recently by yelsel2 - Show corrections



Some interesting evidence on the sub- ject of matrimonial agencies was given in the City Court yesterday, when Rachael Summers, a young woman of 18, was charged with inducing, and her husband, James Summers, with inciting her to induce, a clergyman to celebrate the marriage   of the parties without first obtaining   the consent of her parent or guardian.   Mr Nolan, who appeared for the defence, said that the charge was laid under section 24 of the Marriage Act, which act     forbade the marriage of minors unless such consent was granted. Messrs. Panton, P.M.Power, Lancashire, Verga and Major     Bartrop, J. P .s, occupied the Bench. The two charges were heard together, the   defendants, who are both of youthful   appearance, being accommodated with seats

near the solicitors' table.

Lewis Abramovich, describing himself   as a minister of the Gospel of the Free Christian Church, stated that he was authorised to celebrate marriages. On February 23, the two defendants visited his place in Queen street, and informed him that they wanted to be married. Witness could not say positively whether the gentleman or the lady broached the subject. He believed at that time he knew better now, that people could

not be married on Sunday. After a conversation,

he arranged that the ceremony     should be performed at half past 6 on the following morning. The couple seemed to be exceedingly interested and began a   consultation between themselves. (Laughter)

Sub inspector Milne (sternly). This is

no laughing matter.

Witness (continuing) said he retired   from the room leaving his wife to take   down the necessary particulars. The sound of voices raised in argument led him to think that either a quarrel was in progress, or that an explanation was required,   and he hurried back. His wife told him that the girl was under age, and was with out any written consent. Her father, said the girl, was in the country, she did not know where. On being told that she might   obtain the necessary consent from her mother or from a guardian, she replied

that she was unaware of her mother's whereabouts. Witness thereupon told her that Dr. Lloyd, a magistrate who was   empowered to give consent papers, resided in Franklin Street, and advised her to call upon him. He would be sure to attend to her, and when she had obtained the necessary papers witness would marry her. The   couple agreed to adopt this course and left the premises. Afterwards, witness heard that they had been married at Holt's   Matrimonial Agency.

Mr. Panton P.M. May I ask you how   long you have been celebrating maniages?

I think I got my authority in October or November last.

What nationality are you? Are you a Pole? I am a Russian.

When did you start this new idea of, what do you call it, Free Christian Church? Are you naturalised? Yes, sir. How many years? Scarcely a year.

What occupation had you before this, if any? I was an evangelist.

What? An evangelist to the Hebrews. I have been connected with mission work.

An evangelist to the Hebrews? I didn't


Witness, I suppose I am a Jew by belief.

I came to this country in 1888.  

Mr Panton. — Were you expelled from Russia? No, I came from England, where I had been living. I have been for 19 years a Christian. Although I am a Jew, I am of the Christian persuasion.

Why did you give those two such absurd advice as to go to Dr Lloyd? Because the girl didn't know where her father was.  

Mr. Nolan, Have you any bishop, or is yours a free church ? You are dealing with


Is there no head of your church, then? Christ is the Head of our church.  

I mean anybody on earth, or in Melbourne.

Yes, the Rev. Pastor Abbott. I   am not under his control. We get no   orders, we work together for the same


He used to marry for Holt's, did he not, at £10/6/8 a month, before Westwood took   the position? I was told so.

Is Pastor Abbott in partnership with you in this business? No.

Lily Abramovich, wife of the last witness, corroborated the magor part of his   evidence, with one unimportant exception.

"Everything went right," she said "until I came to the girl's age: and when I found out what it was, I said 'No one can marry you; what refers to my husband refers to every minister ."'    

James Holt matrimonial agent, of 448 Queen street, said that on February 24, the two accused visited him in the morning,   and he prepared the marriage certificate. They went away and returned at mid-day, when they made a declaration to the     effect, that they were both more than   21. This was signed by Westwood and the witness. The Rev. J.J. Westwood married the   the couple, and gave them the         marriage certificate.

Cross- examined by Mr. Nolan, witness stated that he had been carrying on this   business about 14 years.

Didn't it strike you as peculiar that they         should be just 21? The declaration covers


If a girl of 12 years of age came and signed a declaration, would you marry her?


Welll, did you in this case, when this   pair came to your factory?       (No reply.)

Did the minister ask any questions about these two? No. The declaration was read to them. I filled in the contents from information set forth in a paper I received from Mrs. Holt. I cannot say whether that paper was filled in by her. It is not a legal document, and was    

not kept.

How much do you get out of these performances?    

The witness declined to answer this question and Mr. Panton did not enforce Mr. Nolans request to compel him to do


Mr. Nolan (taking Mrs. Summers's wedding   ring from her finger, and exhibiting   it.) — Do you sell rings at your establish-

ment? — Yes.

Will you contradict the girl if she says she paid 16/- for the performance of the ceremony, including the purchase of the ring? — (No answer.)

What is Mr. Westwood's salary?      — I de- cline to say.

How many marriages a week does he celebrate? — I can say, but I won't.

It would help to advertise your business. (Laughter.) Do you usually question cus- tomers? — It is not my province to ask questions.

Joseph Jewell Westwood said that he was an unattached Baptist minister — He did not belong to the Baptist Union. He had married the accused at Holt's. The young woman said she was over 21. He would not have married them if they had not sworn to that declaration — certainly not. He declined to answer several of  

Mr. Nolans questions, and did not appear   to have a very clear recollection of what

had occurred.  

Mr Nolan. Are You shortsighted, Mr. Westwood? — Oh, I can see you well enough.   (Laughter.)    

How much a month do you get there? — Ah, wouldn't you like to know!  (laugh-


But I do know. You are getting £10 /6/8 — deny that on oath!

Witness (seizing the Bible.) — I do deny it on oath!

Mr. Nolan. — Well, you're not getting as much as the last man; that's all I've got to say. (Laughter.)  

Referring to the recently married couple,   the witness said that they had perjured themselves. He was very sorry for them.

John Charles Kendall and Alice Ken- dall, the parents of the female accused,   said that on February 23, they were away at the farm at Deer park.Their daughter         was absent from home when they re- turned.

Mr. Nolan (to Mrs. Kendall). — Would you have consented to the marriage if she had told you about it? — Oh, yes.  

Constable Mooney said that, in company   with Detective M'Manamny, he had ar-   rested the girl at South Melbourne, an hour after her marriage, on a charge of vagrancy, preferred against her by her       mother. She was discharged next morn-  

ing.             Mr. Nolan said that the Bench would  

see this as a pretty hard case.

Mr. Panton. — A case has been made

out.             Mr. Nolan submitted that there was no   evidence that either of the defendants had attempted to induce any person to marry them. Mrs Holt, to whom the statements were  

made, had not been called as a witness.

The accused were committed for trial,

husband and wife being admitted to bail in sureties of £50 and £20 respectively.