Home Australia 48-year-old lawyer questioned about ‘sex life’ with 104-year-old girlfriend as he fights for Australian visa

48-year-old lawyer questioned about ‘sex life’ with 104-year-old girlfriend as he fights for Australian visa

by Elijah
0 comment
A 48-year-old man who says he is in a relationship with his grandfather's 104-year-old widow admits they have never had sex and don't even share a bedroom. Mart Soeson is shown pushing his girlfriend Elfriede Riit in a wheelchair to the Administrative Court of Appeals.

EXCLUSIVE

A 48-year-old man who says he is in a relationship with his grandfather’s 104-year-old widow admits that they have never had sexual relations and do not even share a bedroom.

Estonian lawyer Mart Soeson is seeking to remain in Australia on the grounds that Elfriedie Riit is his de facto partner, after his permanent residence visa application was rejected.

The Department of the Interior does not accept that the couple’s love story is legitimate and Soeson has been forced to prove that his romantic devotion to Riit is real.

Soeson was questioned for three hours about the nature of the couple’s relationship – and their half-century age difference – during a hearing at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal late last month.

Daily Mail Australia revealed The remarkable love story of Mr. Soeson and Mrs. Riit in early February, but this was the first time she had to take an oath to tell the truth about their union.

A 48-year-old man who says he is in a relationship with his grandfather's 104-year-old widow admits they have never had sex and don't even share a bedroom. Mart Soeson is shown pushing his girlfriend Elfriede Riit in a wheelchair to the Administrative Court of Appeals.

A 48-year-old man who says he is in a relationship with his grandfather’s 104-year-old widow admits they have never had sex and don’t even share a bedroom. Mart Soeson is shown pushing his girlfriend Elfriede Riit in a wheelchair to the Administrative Court of Appeals.

Ms Riit, who turned 104 on February 24, was not present but had attended court in a wheelchair when the matter first came up in January.

On that occasion she was too distressed and disoriented to participate in the process.

When the court hearing resumed on February 22, Soeson unsuccessfully attempted to have the media excluded from coverage of the case because Riit felt it had already attracted too much attention.

“I was speaking with Elfriede last night and she determined that it was not appropriate to discuss it in public,” Mr. Soeson said. ‘She asked that it not be allowed.

“It’s a personal matter for her. She doesn’t want to be like a celebrity.

Estonian lawyer Mart Soeson is seeking to remain in Australia claiming Elfriedie Riit is his legitimate de facto partner after his permanent residence visa application was rejected.

Estonian lawyer Mart Soeson is seeking to remain in Australia claiming Elfriedie Riit is his legitimate de facto partner after his permanent residence visa application was rejected.

Estonian lawyer Mart Soeson is seeking to remain in Australia claiming Elfriedie Riit is his legitimate de facto partner after his permanent residence visa application was rejected.

Soeson sat across from tribunal member David Barker, who explained each of the concerns that Home Affairs had expressed when originally denying him the visa.

Barker said the law did not require the couple to have sex for their relationship to be recognised, but asked Soeson to confirm there had never been sexual intimacy between them.

“Yes, none,” he said.

‘We have intimacy: holding hands, hugs, kisses. We have a spiritual and intellectual relationship. We have a strong emotional connection with each other.’

Last month. Mr. Soeson, you had evaded the same question about the couple’s sex life when interviewed by Daily Mail Australia.

Mr Soeson met Ms Riit in early 1996 when he came to Australia to study advanced English and she invited him to stay with her.

Riit knew Soeson as the grandson of her late second husband, Alfred, who, like her, had fled Estonia after World War II, when it was annexed by the USSR.

Soeson eventually returned to Estonia, but repeatedly returned to Australia in the following years to see Riit and their bond gradually grew.

She says her relationship with Riit became romantic in January 2013, when he was 37 and she was 92.

Soeson says his relationship with Riit became romantic in January 2013, when he was 37 and she was 92. She appears in the photo in 1957, aged 30.

Soeson says his relationship with Riit became romantic in January 2013, when he was 37 and she was 92. She appears in the photo in 1957, aged 30.

Soeson says his relationship with Riit became romantic in January 2013, when he was 37 and she was 92. She appears in the photo in 1957, aged 30.

“What started as a healthy bond I had with my late grandfather’s widow slowly but surely turned into a very meaningful and loving relationship,” Mr Soeson previously told Daily Mail Australia.

Soeson abandoned his legal career in Estonia and, according to him, began a de facto relationship with Riit in September 2018, when she was 98 and he was 43.

They lived together in Ms Riit’s home in Bankstown until she was forced to move into an aged care facility on doctor’s orders in September 2022.

In court, Barker told Soeson he would need to prove that he and Riit had a mutual commitment to a shared life – to the exclusion of others – in order to obtain a partner visa.

He said Home Affairs was not satisfied that Soeson and Riit had a genuine de facto relationship when their visa was canceled in December 2018.

One of the problems with that application was that Mr. Soeson sometimes referred to himself as Ms. Riit’s grandson when dealing with government agencies.

“We are intimate: we hold hands, we hug, we kiss,” Soeson says. ‘We have a spiritual and intellectual relationship. We have a strong emotional connection between us.’

Barker questioned why when Soeson flew to Australia in October 2013 he had told immigration officials he was visiting his grandmother.

“I felt discrimination, maybe because of that,” he said. ‘I was afraid that they would discriminate. In that we have had similar experiences.”

On other occasions, people who encountered Soeson and Riit had assumed she was their grandmother rather than thinking they might be in a relationship.

“Assuming it happens, it happens quite often,” Mr. Soeson said.

“I didn’t see her as my grandmother. I’ve never called her “grandma.” There was no relationship between grandson and grandmother.

When asked if she was worried about how observers might view the couple’s age difference, Soeson said they didn’t care what others thought of them.

“I didn’t think about her age and she didn’t think about my age,” he said. ‘She saw me as I saw her. What I saw was the soul of her, that she was young.’

The Home Office does not accept that the couple's love story is true and Mr Soeson has been forced to give evidence under oath to prove his feelings for Ms Riit are genuine. They appear in the photo from Ms. Riit's 97th birthday.

The Home Office does not accept that the couple's love story is true and Mr Soeson has been forced to give evidence under oath to prove his feelings for Ms Riit are genuine. They appear in the photo from Ms. Riit's 97th birthday.

The Home Office does not accept that the couple’s love story is true and Mr Soeson has been forced to give evidence under oath to prove his feelings for Ms Riit are genuine. They appear in the photo from Ms. Riit’s 97th birthday.

Soeson said that Riit had been the first to declare her love, but that the feeling was mutual.

“She said many times that she wanted someone by her side,” Mr Soeson told the court. ‘She was a widow. She was alone and helpless.

Mr Soeson described his relationship with Ms Riit as “like a normal couple”.

In the early years, they enjoyed gardening together and cooking together.

Mrs. Riit liked to have porridge, bacon and scrambled eggs for breakfast. Mr. Soeson’s favorite meals included chicken soup and avocado chicken.

Barker noted that sex was an important part of most couples’ lives and asked Soeson if he and Riit had ever talked about not being physically intimate.

“We don’t talk about it,” he said. “We never thought about this, about having a sexual relationship.”

The couple did not share a bedroom because Ms. Riit’s snoring bothered Mr. Soeson, who worked part-time as a painter.

Riit would also wake up screaming from nightmares about World War II and the brutal Soviet occupation of Estonia.

“She said many times that she wanted someone by her side,” Mr Soeson told the court. ‘She was a widow. She was alone and helpless.

Barker noted that, apart from the three witnesses Mr Soeson intended to call, there was limited independent evidence available about the nature of his relationship with Ms Riit.

“We don’t have many friends in common,” Mr. Soeson said. ‘Most of her friends are dead and due to her nature she is a recluse.

‘Even before I met her, she was a recluse. She liked to stay at home, not socialize with people.

Mrs. Riit suffers from Alzheimer’s illness and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder with depressive symptoms. He has hearing and vision problems.

Barker said that when Riit attended court last month she “didn’t seem oriented to time or place” and was “quite distressed” by her surroundings.

Soeson said that despite Riit’s physical and cognitive decline, “the conversation between us flows effortlessly.”

“I know when he can’t hear well I check his hearing aids or repeat what I want to say,” she told Mr Barker.

Ms. Riit suffers from Alzheimer's disease and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder with depressive symptoms. She has hearing and vision problems. Mr. Soeson is shown removing Ms. Riit from a Maxi Cab and placing her in a wheelchair.

Ms. Riit suffers from Alzheimer's disease and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder with depressive symptoms. She has hearing and vision problems. Mr. Soeson is shown removing Ms. Riit from a Maxi Cab and placing her in a wheelchair.

Ms. Riit suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder with depressive symptoms. She has hearing and vision problems. Mr. Soeson is shown removing Ms. Riit from a Maxi Cab and placing her in a wheelchair.

Until Riit entered a nursing home, the couple had shared expenses, with her covering the cost of food and Mr. Soeson paying the utility bills. Nowadays he pays for his medicines.

“We pooled my income and his pension to cover all of our living expenses,” Mr Soeson told Mr Barker.

Mr Soeson hoped Ms Riit would one day be able to join him in Bankstown, when she was “fit and healthy”.

“That’s my hope to have her back, that it’s just temporary,” Mr. Soeson said.

As for marriage, Soeson said he and Riit saw no benefit in the institution.

“We talked about this,” he said. ‘And she said that a common-law partnership is the same as a marriage. It does not matter.

‘She said there was no need to get married because it was the same. She is a modern person.

The hearing was postponed until a date to be determined.

You may also like