DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND (BNO NEWS) -- A father and daughter in New Zealand who say they are in love with each other have been told by a judge to end their incestuous relationship, warning that future incest could land them in prison, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The father, 32, and his daughter, 18, appeared in Dunedin District Court on Tuesday and admitted to having an incestuous relationship which began in August 2010 when the woman was 16 years old. The incest continued until May this year and resulted in the couple having a baby girl which was born last year.
"This must stop. These sort of relationships do not last and are fraught with difficulties," Judge Stephen O'Driscoll told the couple when they appeared in court, the Otago Daily Times newspaper reported on Wednesday. The names of both the father and daughter have not been released.
The teenager told the court that she is in love with her father and that they had been living as 'husband and wife'. Her counsel, Bernadette Farnham, argued that both offenders have a mutual background of abuse and neglect and that, while outside society's norms, the relationship was between consenting adults.
According to the report, the 18-year-old woman was conceived from a sexual relationship between the male offender and his foster mother. The incestuous relationship took place when the foster mother was 30 and he was 13, with their daughter being born when he was 14.
The male offender was told that he was the father but had little contact with his daughter until she was about 16, the Otago Daily Times reported. A visit between the father and daughter was arranged in 2010 and, after several visits, the father moved into his daughter's family's home. The relationship then became sexual.
Psychiatric and psychological reports have indicated that the father and daughter are being affected by a phenomenon known as genetic sexual attraction (GSA), which sometimes occurs when close relatives first meet as adults. The best known case is of a brother and sister couple in Germany who have four children and have fought against the country's anti-incest laws.
Judge O'Driscoll said a rehabilitative sentence is more appropriate for the teenager because of her young age and because she now has a child to care for. He convicted her of one count of incest and sentenced her to 12 months of supervision with the conditions she undertake counselling or treatment as directed.
The judge sentenced the father to 300 hours of community work and 12 months of supervision, saying the man's offending was "at the higher end of the scale of wrongdoing," the newspaper reported. The judge said the man will have to complete a domestic violence program and will not be allowed to be in the company of his daughter unless another approved adult is present.
"As a father, you have a duty to your children and this offending was a gross breach of duty towards your daughter," Judge O'Driscoll said, as quoted by the Otago Daily Times newspaper. "Everyone has choices about the relationships and sexual relationships they enter into. This relationship was wrong, and I fail to see how you can justify it."
The judge also warned the couple that it is "highly likely" they would be sentenced to imprisonment if they appear again on similar charges.
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