Divorce Magazine

Crime of Passion

By Judithmiddleton
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.

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