A girl who was raped by a Muslim she was forced to marry was just 14 years old at the time, a court has heard.
Melbourne man Mohammad Shakir, 34, is accused of having sex with the girl between September 30 and October 1, 2016, following their wedding.
The ceremony was conducted by ex-Imam Ibrahim Omerdic, 61, who also faces charges relating to the illegal marriage.
The girl is in a ‘fragile state’ and has ‘ongoing health issues’, prosecutor Ranjani Padmanabhan told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday.
Shakir appeared at court via video link and was told through an interpreter that the child’s mother, stepfather, police and a Department of Health and Human Services representative would give evidence at his committal hearing.
Omerdic, former imam of the Bosnian Islamic Society and Noble Park Mosque, was stood down after his November arrest and later sacked.
‘A new Imam has been appointed. Omerdic is no longer the Imam of the Noble Park Mosque and has no role with the Society,’ a Noble Park Mosque statement read at the time.
They said Omerdic’s marriage celebrant license had also been revoked.
When he appeared via videolink in Melbourne Magistrates Court last month, he broke down in tears throughout the hearing, the Herald Sun reported.
Omerdic’s sacking came after the Victorian Board of Imams condemned marriages that were illegal in Australia.
‘As Australian Muslims we are required to observe and respect the laws of Australia,’ it said in a statement in January.
The Islamic Council of Victoria also condemned underage marriages, despite saying it was acceptable in some cultures.
‘It is true that marriage at a younger age is permitted in other countries and cultures, but this is not a justification for marriage below the legal age or child marriages here in Australia,’ it said.
Omerdic is on bail while Shakir remains in custody.
The committal hearing is scheduled for April 18.