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R v Clarence (1889) 22 QB 23

The defendant had sexual intercourse with his wife knowing that he was infected with gonorrhoea. He passed the infection to his wife and was convicted under s.47 and s.20 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and appealed.


Conviction was quashed. The wife had consented to sexual intercourse and therefore no technical assault or battery occurred. The court held that these were necessary ingredients of both ABH and GBH. (the position in relation to GBH has subsequently changed). It was irrelevant that the wife was unaware of the infection or whether she would have removed consent had she known since at the time a wife was deemed to consent to sexual intercourse with her husband.
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