The breakdown of a relationship can be messy at the best of times. But it was particularly so for Edwin Shien Bing Toh and former fiancee Winnie Chu Ling Su, when the groom-to-be called off the wedding just 10 days before the big day.
As The Sydney Morning Herald reports, Mr To proposed to Ms Su with a $15,500 diamond engagement ring. He had also given her gifts including a Longines watch, Louis Vuitton handbag and diamond necklace during their time together.
When the relationship was over, Mr To asked for the gifts to be returned. But when Ms Su declined, Mr Toh sued his ex-fiancee in Sydney Downing Centre Local Court.
As news.com.au reports, the court heard that Mr To had originally called for “everything that belongs to each party will be returned to each party”. He returned a pair of shoes and wallet his ex-fiancee had bought him.
In court, Magistrate Rodney Brender ruled that because one can no longer sue for the breach of a promise to marry, "the gift of an engagement ring should be seen as unconditional".
"Many gifts are given in happy times and with optimism. Sometimes that optimism is borne out, sometimes it isn't. Why would the law treat a gift of a ring between same sex couples as different? Or between couples who give a ring in anticipation of a de facto relationship starting and prospering?" he said, news.com.au reports.
Mr Brender refused to order Ms To to return the rings or gifts to her former partner. But she was asked to give back $1000 in cash from a joint account and wedding bands that were “bought in contemplation of marriage”.