RL v Regina (Evidence of wife): CACD 7 May 2008

The defendant appealed against his conviction for sexual assault on his daughter. Whilst he was in custody, the police approached his wife and took a statement from her which was used in evidence. The defendant complained that since they had not warned her that she was not compellable as a witness, the statement should not be admitted. She had refused to give evidence in court.
Held: The appeal failed. The written statement had been properly admitted. The situation was quite different from a caution which was to respect a defendant’s basic right not to be required to incriminate himself, and nor was admitting somebody else’s record of a voluntary statement the same as compelling her to give evidence. That was not to say that the practice would always be unobjectionable. The court distinguished between compelling a wife to give evidence and permitting another witness to give evidence of a voluntary statement made by the wife in the past. Section 80 did not act as a bar to the production of the wife’s statement provided that the hearsay passed the interests of justice test set out in section 114(2).


Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, LCJ, Bean, Wilkie JJ


[2008] EWCA Crim 973, Times 14-May-2008, (2008) 2 Cr App R18, [2008] Crim LR 823, [2009] 1 WLR 626




Criminal Justice Act 2003 113, Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 80


England and Wales


CitedHoskyn v Metropolitan Police Commissioner HL 1978
The defendant had married the complainant only two days before he was to face trial for assaulting her. The House considered whether she was compellable as a witness against him as his wife.
Held: A spouse ought not to have been compelled to . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina v EED CACD 28-May-2010
A witness had been warned to attend court, but had not served with an order and did not attend. The defendant appealed against his conviction saying that her evidence should not have been read to the jury. He had faced allegations of sexual abuse of . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Evidence

Updated: 17 July 2022; Ref: scu.269926