R v Taylor

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date1950
CourtCourt of Criminal Appeal
[COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEAL] REX v. TAYLOR 1950 May 15, 22. Lord Goddard C.J., Humphreys, Stable, Cassels, Hallett, Morris and Parker JJ.

Criminal law - Bigamy - Defence - Absence of husband or wife for seven years - “Second marriage” - Defence available in case of any subsequent marriage - Offences against the Person Act, 1861 (24 & 25 Vict. c. 100), s. 57.

On an indictment for bigamy the “second marriage” within the meaning of s. 57 of the Offences against the Person Act, 1861, with which the court is concerned is that which is the subject of the indictment, and if on the hearing of that charge it is proved that the lawful spouse had been absent for seven years, that defence is available to the person charged notwithstanding that person has previously committed bigamy with some other person or persons.

Rex v. Treanor (1939) 27 Cr. App. R. 35, disapproved.

If, in the opinion of a full Court of Criminal Appeal, it appears that in a previous decision of the court the law has been either misapplied or misunderstood and that, as the result of a judge's having followed that decision, a person has been sentenced and imprisoned for an offence, it is the bounden duty of the court to reconsider its own earlier decision with a view to seeing whether that person was properly convicted.

APPEAL against convictions.

In 1925 the appellant, John William Taylor, was married to his Wife, Alice Julie Taylor, who was still alive at the time of the present proceedings but who had not been seen by the appellant since 1927 and was not known by him to be alive. In 1927 the appellant went through a form of marriage with another woman, and in 1942, having left that woman, he married a third. In 1944 he was charged with bigamy in respect of this last ceremony and was acquitted by reason of the fact that in those proceedings it was alleged that he had committed bigamy during the lifetime of the woman whom he had married in 1942, who was at that time believed by the prosecution to be his lawful wife. In 1945 he was charged at the Central Criminal Court in respect of his alleged bigamy in 1927 and was again acquitted because the prosecution could not at that time establish that his wife had been alive at the time of that marriage.

In 1946 he went through a ceremony of marriage with one Lilian Smithers and in 1948 with one Olive Briggs. In respect of those two ceremonies he was charged with bigamy at the Central Criminal Court in March, 1949, when he pleaded guilty to both charges and received a sentence of four years imprisonment. He applied for leave to appeal against that sentence. The application came before a court of three judges, who raised the question why, since the appellant had not seen or heard of his wife since 1927, he had not availed himself of the defence of seven years' absence afforded by the proviso to s. 57 of the Offences Against the Person Act, 1861F1.

The appellant's counsel informed the court that, in view of the decision in Rex v. TreanorF2 that the defence of absence for seven years was only available in the case of a second marriage and was not available on any subsequent occasion, he had not felt justified in raising it. The court intimated that in their view the decision in Rex v. TreanorF3 should receive further consideration by a full court, and accordingly gave leave to the appellant to appeal...

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47 cases
  • Wong Hong Toy and Another v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 28 April 1987
    ...2 All ER 737 (distd) R v Cleere (1983) 5 Cr App Rep (S) 465 (distd) R v Manjeet Singh Sodhi (1978) 66 Cr App Rep 260 (refd) R v Taylor [1950] 2 KB 368; [1950] 2 All ER 170 (folld) R v William Joseph Thomas Reilly (1982) 75 Cr App Rep 266 (refd) Racal Communications Ltd, Re [1981] AC 374; [1......
  • DPP v Michael McDonagh
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 11 July 1996
    ... ... The People (Director of Public Prosecutions) v. Creighton [1994] 2 I.R. 570 , The People (Director of Public Prosecutions) v. Gaffey (Unreported, Court of Criminal Appeal, 10th May, 1991), R v. Haughian (1985) 80 Cr. App. R. 334 and R. v. Taylor (1980) 80 Cr. App. R. 327 followed. 3. That, accordingly, it was not necessary for the trial judge to refer to and explain to the jury the provisions of s. 2, sub-s. 2 of the Act of 1981 in every rape trial in which the fact of sexual intercourse was admitted and in which the ... ...
  • Mah Kah Yew v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 11 November 1970
    ...been wrongly sentenced it is the duty of the court to consider whether he has been wrongly convicted (per Lord Goddard in Re v Taylor [1950] 2 KB 368 at p 371).We turn now to consider the application of the doctrine in Singapore. In principle it is clear that the courts of Singapore are not......
  • R v Newsome ; R v Browne
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 29 July 1970
    ...the Court of Criminal Appeal as it used to be and the criminal division of this Court as it now is. 13 We have been referred to the case of Taylor, reported in 34 Criminal Appeal Reports at page 138 where a Court of seven departed from a previous view assumed by the Court and declined to fo......
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10 books & journal articles
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2019, December 2019
    • 1 December 2019
    ...149 below, and also Winyard v Toogood (1882) 10 QBD 218; R v Labouchere (1884) 12 QBD 320; R v Baskerville [1916] 2 KB 658; R v Taylor [1950] 2 KB 368; Willcock v Muckle [1951] 2 KB 844; R v McBride [1962] 2 QB 167; Ibralebbe v The Queen [1964] 1 AC 900; R v Arkle (1972) 56 Cr App R 722; R ......
  • Criminal Law
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Religious Institutions and The Law in Canada. Fourth Edition
    • 20 June 2017
    ...92; R . v. Jones , above note 93; R . v. Dwyer (McGuire) (1883), 27 L.C. Jur. 102; Queneau v. R. , above note 91; and R . v. Taylor , [1950] 2 K.B. 368 (C.A.). 95 Morris v. Miller (1767), 4 Burr. 2057, 98 E.R. 73; Catherwood v. Caslon (1844), 13 M. & W. 261, 153 E.R. 108; and R . v. Naguib ......
  • Criminal Law
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Archive Religious Institutions and the Law in Canada. Third Edition
    • 7 September 2010
    ...note 92; R . v. Jones , ibid .; R . v. Dwyer (McGuire) (1883), 27 L.C. Jur. 102; Queneau v. R. , above note 91; and R . v. Taylor , [1950] 2 K.B. 368 (C.A.). 95 Morris v. Miller (1767), 4 Burr. 2057, 98 E.R. 73; Catherwood v. Caslon (1844), 13 M. & W. 261, 153 E.R. 108; and R . v. Naguib , ......
    • Canada
    • University of British Columbia Law Review Vol. 54 No. 1, September 2021
    • 10 September 2021
    ...& Harris, supra note 6 at 110-11. (47) See e.g. Actavis UK Ltd v Merck & Co Inc, [2008] EWCA Civ 444. (48) See e.g. Rv Taylor, [1950] 2 KB 368, 2 All ER 170 (CA). The exception to stare decisis based on an accuseds liberty interests did not apply to any criminal matter, but only whe......
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