Thursday, 19 January 2012


I was stunned today when somebody said to me that they’d read in the newspaper that if your wife had been unfaithful you’d be let off if you killed her for it! Now our criminal justice system might be constantly criticised for being too lenient, but it is never that much so. No, some of the headlines accompanying reports of the test cases on the new defence of “Loss of Control” to a murder charge were seriously misleading.

I am not a criminal lawyer and the points argued in the cases were somewhat technical but briefly, as I understand the position, if you calculatingly kill your spouse for sexual infidelity it is murder and the court must impose a life sentence upon you. If, however, that sexual infidelity is accompanied by a qualifying trigger leading you to lose your self control in circumstances where anyone similar would also have lost control, then you may have a defence. In the one test case that succeeded, the appellant’s murder conviction was quashed but he has gained a re-trial only and remains in custody. He argued that the infidelity was coupled with potentially provocative factors including his wife’s taunts about her sexual partners and the graphic descriptions that she gave him. This led to his loss of control manifesting itself in the killing. If successful, however, that defence does no more than reduce the crime from murder to manslaughter.

Either way the perpetrator of a crime of passion is going to spend many years behind iron bars. Believe me, if your spouse is having an affair, divorce has to be the more rational option.


John Bolch said...

I think this post could disappoint a lot of people!


Tulsa Divorce Lawyers said...

Here in the US, some of the old state the murder statutes allowed a man to plead 'crime of passion' as a defense to 1st degree murder. The exception applied to men who murdered their spouses 'out of passion' because they caught spouse 'in the act' of adultery. The thinking behind the law is that men tend to lose control of their ability to use logic during a moment of such intense emotions.

Rosemary said...

Agree with you.

Why two sets of laws - one for women and one for men?

Bruce Fisher said...

I think your friend was mistaken.

First, that just doesn't make sense. There's no justification for killing another human being, expect in self-defense when your life is threatened.

And if adultery were truly a "get out of jail free" card for murder, think of all the possibilities for abuse.