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Locked: If a Wife Cannot Testify Against Her Husband in Court ....

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  • Mar 22nd, 2012 10:03 am
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Deal Addict
Sep 29, 2005
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If a Wife Cannot Testify Against Her Husband in Court ....

What about a common law wife where they are not legally married?
Also, what if it's in Quebec?
Phils
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Dec 30, 2006
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I always understood that commona law is being leally married.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Sep 29, 2005
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D-Roc wrote:
Mar 22nd, 2012 7:55 am
I always understood that commona law is being leally married.

I realize that is the case for many circumstances but I know that in Quebec common-law spouses have no legal standing when couples split up so I wonder if Quebec is different for this as well.
Phils
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Sep 14, 2003
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Phils wrote:
Mar 22nd, 2012 8:45 am
I realize that is the case for many circumstances but I know that in Quebec common-law spouses have no legal standing when couples split up so I wonder if Quebec is different for this as well.

I'm not a lawyer, but I would suspect that, if the couple presented themselves as a common-law couple, the spousal privledge would extend to them.
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Phils wrote:
Mar 22nd, 2012 7:29 am
What about a common law wife where they are not legally married?
Also, what if it's in Quebec?

It's not a question of cannot but will not. A wife can testify against her husband. She can also "will" not or choose not to testify.

I believe it's not an inflexible rule though, as there are probably circumstances in which the wife will be compelled to testify.

Edit: scratch that. It appears the wife, in large part, is not compellable, even if she is willing. But the bit about the rule being "not inflexible" remains valid. For example:
Offences against young persons

(4) The wife or husband of a person charged with an offence against any of sections 220, 221, 235, 236, 237, 239, 240, 266, 267, 268 or 269 of the Criminal Code where the complainant or victim is under the age of fourteen years is a competent and compellable witness for the prosecution without the consent of the person charged.

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-5/page-1.html
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