The Court Hearing - 20 November 1950
Again, a large crowd had formed outside the courthouse. The session was presided by Justice Brown ( I think he was the Chief Justice T.A. Brown ). Justice Brown had to consider 2 major points of contention:-
1. Was there a proper and legal adoption in the case of Maria ?
2. Was the purported marriage acceptable under the law?
Maria's natural mother Adeline Hertogh flew over from the Netherlands to attend the hearing. All the parties were present including Mansor Adabi, Che Aminah and Maria herself...and their counsels.
Under Dutch laws, the minimum age for a girl for marriage was 16 years.
However, our colonial English law in Singapore then recognised the marriage laws of the subjects' country of domicile. So, Maria being still a 13 year old minor of Dutch citizenship was under Dutch laws.
In the case of Mansor Adabi, an exception to the above could not be made out because Mansor was born in Kelantan and whether he was domiciled in Singapore could not be established. As for Maria the Court could not consider her a Muslim by law, since she was still a minor and therefore her father who had the legal right over her, had the same right to control her religion.
Her father, who was a Roman Catholic, had stated that he would never have allowed her to convert to Islam.
The Court Verdict
1. The short-lived marriage was overruled.
2. The Court awarded custody of Maria to the Hertoghs. Maria was ordered to be returned to
her natural parents with immediate effect.
Below....from the pages of Wikipedia...a detailed account describing the scene from the Court verdict of 20 November 1950 to early December 1950, before the Final Hearing and the riots.
Stay at the convent ( source: Wikipedia )
When policewomen came to take Maria away, she wept and clung to Aminah and Mansoor. Aminah fainted on the spot and a doctor standing by had to attend to her. Mansoor advised Maria to concede for the time being and promised that he and others would carry on the legal fight. Thus Maria allowed herself to be brought away into a car. Outside, the
First and foremost, the press was not barred from entering the convent grounds. Nor were they
These pictures, whether presenting Maria as happy or sad, mostly showed Maria surrounded by symbols of Christian faith. The Muslims, who looked upon Maria as one of their own, were deeply offended by such pictures, not to mention the sensational reports, some of which explicitly labelled the case as a religious issue between Islam and Christianity.
On 9 December, an organization calling itself the Nadra Action Committee was formally constituted under the leadership of Karim Ghani, a Muslim political activist from Rangoon.
In the light of these potent signs of a great disturbance, the Criminal Investigation Department
There were even more widespread reports in regional and newspapers around the world after the VERDICT was delivered.