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Couple convicted for falsifying birth details

Couple convicted for falsifying birth details

A South Auckland married couple have pleaded guilty to charges of falsely registering the birth of a child as their own. The plea came at the conclusion of the prosecution case, initiated by the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, in the Manukau District Court yesterday.

The couple, who have interim name suppression, will be sentenced on 10 September 2014.

They accepted that the husband fathered the child with another woman who agreed that the baby would be given up and raised by him and his wife as their own.

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, has since amended the child’s birth certificate to record the birth mother.

“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,” Mr Montgomery said. “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.”

ends

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