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R v Allen (1872) LR 1 CCR 367

The defendant was charged with the offence of bigamy under s.57 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The statute states 'whosoever being married shall marry any other person during the lifetime of the former husband or wife is guilty of an offence'. Under a literal interpretation of this section the offence would be impossible to commit since civil law will not recognise a second marriage any attempt to marry in such circumstances would not be recognised as a valid marriage.


The court applied the golden rule and held that the word 'marry' should be interpreted as 'to go through a marriage ceremony'. The defendant's conviction was upheld.
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