Australia trial over 1963 spousal rape charge OK'd

Associated Press Published: May 29, 2012
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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's highest court has found that a man can be tried for raping his then-wife almost 50 years ago.

The High Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling that a husband could be guilty of raping his wife in South Australia state in 1963. The judges were split on the decision five to two.

The man, who cannot be named, had argued that in 1963, a husband could not rape his wife because the law considered that through marriage she had given consent. The High Court had not ruled otherwise until 1991.

The man was charged with rape in 2010 after South Australia lifted the statute of limitations.

A judge then delayed his trial until the question over spousal rape was resolved.