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Bigamist sentenced to five months in prison

Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: May 14, 2013

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A man who married his mistress without getting a divorce from his wife was yesterday sentenced to five months in prison for bigamy.

Ruddy Charlton, 57, of Yamacraw Beach, admitted the bigamy charge when he made his initial appearance before Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis on March 12.

While Charlton was unfaithful to his wife, Brenda, during much of their 36-year-long union, the court heard that the couple would usually “reconcile and begin their relationship anew.”

However, Charlton reportedly told his wife that he planned to wed his Jamaican lover Mitchell Thompson.

Despite his active involvement in his church, on August 22, 2012, Charlton married Thompson, whom he met at a phone card stand in April 2010.

Just months after his marriage, Charlton walked off his job as a music teacher at the Carlton Francis Primary School and went to Jamaica for three months.

Charlton’s brother, Grandville, told a probation officer that his brother’s facial appearance was changed when he returned from this trip and this led him to conclude his brother was “under the influence of obeah”.

Probation officer Janice McKenzie recommended that the court not impose the maximum sentence of seven years.

His lawyer, Michael Kemp, agreed, saying, “This is the type of case where justice should be tempered with mercy.”

He said that Charlton had been on remand since March and “nothing would be served by him staying in prison longer.”

Rolle-Davis said Charlton’s actions could not be characterized as a mistake since he knew his first marriage was still valid.

Rolle-Davis said, “He knew the process was illegal, but he did not think the consequences of his actions would be severe.”

The sentence takes effect from March 12.

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