PGA v The Queen

ON 30 MAY 2012, the High Court of Australia delivered PGA v The Queen [2012] HCA 21 (30 May 2012).

The Full Court of the Supreme Court of South Australia had held that in 2010, a man could be guilty of raping his wife in 1963. PGA appealed this decision on the grounds that it was not until 1991, when the High Court decided in R v L (1991) 174 CLR 379, could a man be guilty of raping his wife because, up until then the common law in Australia was that pronounced by Sir Matthew Hale in 1736 that upon marriage a wife gave her irrevocable consent to sexual intercourse.

The High Court in PGA v The Queen dismissed the appeal, holding that the marital exemption to rape, if it ever applied in Australia, had ceased to be part of Australian law by 1963 because Australian legislation concerning divorce, voting and property by that time had gone against Hale’s proposition.

Peter O’Grady
BA, LLB, Grad Cert Leg Prac, Acc Spec Lawyer