Spousal Privilege

Symbol of Marriage

Currently, I am watching a Korean Drama titled “My Love From the Star”. Part of the story involved a bad guy who was married and got divorced as his wife knew he had killed a lot of people to satisfy his evil intention (bear in mind this is not the main story of the drama, it is just a small part).

To shut of his ex-wife from revealing his secret he dumped his ex-wife into a psychiatric hospital.  This small part of the story remind me of the spousal privilege that our national law secured. Surprisingly, not only in Malaysia but most of the countries globally share the same privilege under the evidence law.

Privilege here means communication privilege where the evidence law in Malaysia (Section 122 of the Evidence Act 1950) stated that any marriage couple is not compel to disclose any communication made between them for the purpose of evidence in Court. Isn’t that great? It means that we can always tell secret to our husband or wife without hesitation. This would include crime! For example, your wife secretly tells you that she shop lifted a lipstick from a supermarket in town. And you went and reported to the police, the information would be disqualified evidence to the law.

However, the Malaysia evidence law does provide two exceptions. Firstly, the information given by husband or wife may be admissible evidence if there is consent by both parties. Secondly, if the information is relevant for the purpose of criminal action against the husband or wife. The second exception does make sense to those who being the victim of abused during marriage.

Back to the small part of the drama I mentioned above, the ex-wife of the bad guy made a correct action by divorcing him as she could take the chance to reveal his secret (I bet she knew the law!). Unfortunately, she was a bit unlucky for being thrown out into the mental hospital by the bad guy. Seriously, I hope for a happy ending for the ex-wife of the bad guy.

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