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Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

80Competence and compellability of accused's spouse

(1)In any proceedings the wife or husband of the accused shall be competent to give evidence—

(a)subject to subsection (4) below, for the prosecution; and

(b)on behalf of the accused or any person jointly charged with the accused.

(2)In any proceedings the wife or husband of the accused shall, subject to subsection (4) below, be compellable to give evidence on behalf of the accused.

(3)In any proceedings the wife or husband of the accused shall, subject to subsection (4) below, be compellable to give evidence for the prosecution or on behalf of any person jointly charged with the accused if and only if—

(a)the offence charged involves an assault on, or injury or a threat of injury to, the wife or husband of the accused or a person who was at the material time under the age of sixteen ; or

(b)the offence charged is a sexual offence alleged to have been committed in respect of a person who was at the material time under that age ; or

(c)the offence charged consists of attempting or conspiring to commit, or of aiding, abetting, counselling, procuring or inciting the commission of, an offence falling within paragraph (a) or (b) above.

(4)Where a husband and wife are jointly charged with an offence neither spouse shall at the trial be competent or compellable by virtue of subsection (1)(a), (2) or (3) above to give evidence in respect of that offence unless that spouse is not, or is no longer, liable to be convicted of that offence at the trial as a result of pleading guilty or for any other reason.

(5)In any proceedings a person who has been but is no longer married to the accused shall be competent and compellable to give evidence as if that person and the accused had never been married.

(6)Where in any proceedings the age of any person at any time is material for the purposes of subsection (3) above, his age at the material time shall for the purposes of that provision be deemed to be or to have been that which appears to the court to be or to have been his age at that time.

(7)In subsection (3)(b) above "sexual offence" means an offence under the [1956 c. 69.] Sexual Offences Act 1956, the [1960 c. 33.] Indecency with Children Act 1960, the [1967 c. 60.] Sexual Offences Act 1967, section 54 of the [1977 c. 45.] Criminal Law Act 1977 or the [1978 c. 37.] Protection of Children Act 1978.

(8)The failure of the wife or husband of the accused to give evidence shall not be made the subject of any comment by the prosecution.

(9)Section 1(d) of the [1898 c. 36.] Criminal Evidence Act 1898 (communications between husband and wife) and section 43(1) of the [1965 c. 72.] Matrimonial Causes Act 1965 (evidence as to marital intercourse) shall cease to have effect.

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