Regina v Junaid Khan: CACD 1987

The court was asked whether a wife under an (actually) polygamous marriage, entered into under the rites of the Moslem religion, was competent to give evidence against her husband. It was conceded that ‘in English law generally’ the lady was not the co-accused’s wife; but even so, it was argued, she was to be treated as his wife for the purposes of the common law principle that a wife is not a competent witness against her husband.
Held: The common law principles relating to competence applied. However: ”If that be the position with somebody who has gone through an invalid ceremony of marriage because it is bigamous, what is the position of a lady who has gone through a ceremony of marriage which under the religious observances of a faith, and under the law of some other countries, is entirely valid, but which, because it is a second polygamous marriage, is of no effect in the law of this country? In our judgment the position so far as her ability and competence to give evidence is concerned is no different from that of a woman who has not been through a ceremony of marriage at all, or one who has been through a ceremony of marriage which is void because it is bigamous. Exactly the same principles in our view apply, and therefore we hold that the learned judge was entirely correct in his reasoning in deciding that Hasina Patel was a competent witness for the prosecution, both in respect of her husband and in respect of this appell’


[1987] 84 CAR 45


Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 11


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedBala and Others, Regina v CACD 10-May-2016
The court was asked whether parties to a polygamous marriage recognised in Nigeria could be exempt thereby from a charge as co-conspirators because of s2 of the 1977 Act. The judge had held the marriage invalid after finding that the defendant was . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Evidence

Updated: 08 May 2022; Ref: scu.564472