Couple sentenced for falsifying birth details

Published: Wed 10 Sep 2014 01:51 PM
Couple sentenced for falsifying birth details
A South Auckland married couple convicted of falsely registering the birth of a child as their own were today each sentenced to 60 hours’ community work in the Manukau District Court.
To protect the child, Judge Ida Malosi made an order suppressing the defendants’ names and any factors identifying them.
The case involved the husband fathering the child with another woman; after the child's birth in September 2005, the married couple registered the wife as the child’s mother. Seven years later the birth mother alerted the Department. The couple initially denied providing false information but later made admissions in signed statutory declarations.
The Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Jeff Montgomery, who initiated the prosecution, welcomed the sentence.
“The judge commented that there was a significant public interest in ensuring the integrity of the birth registration system,” Mr Montgomery said. “Accurate and timely birth registration is a right of every child born in New Zealand. A child is entitled to know who his parents are. Recording both parents on a child's birth registration provides evidence of the person's identity, descent and whakapapa.
“We won’t hesitate to prosecute when we become aware of false statements, the maximum penalty for which Parliament has set at five years’ imprisonment.
“It’s essential that the official birth record is correct for many reasons. Some entitlements, for example, inheritance and benefits received under trusts, depend on a person establishing that they are the son or daughter of the benefactor.
“Similarly, certain government grants and benefits depend on a parent-child relationship being established. In addition, a child may be able to claim citizenship status through a parent, and a birth certificate will provide prima facie evidence of that relationship. Ensuring the integrity of our records is a vital part of good government where the public relies on such records.”
Mr Montgomery, has since amended the child’s birth certificate to record the birth mother.

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