A judge has sparked outrage with his comments about a case in which he will rule whether a man can continue to have sex with his wife of more than 20 years.
The Daily Telegraph reports that social workers assigned to the wife, who has learning difficulties, say there is “evidence that her mental health has reached a stage which means that she no longer has the capacity to make decisions about whether she wants to have sex”.
The Court of Protection - a specialist court in London that hears cases involving people who may lack the mental capacity to make legal decisions – has been asked to rule on the case.
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Lawyers representing social service officials have suggested that the court might have to issue an order barring the man from having sex with his wife to “prevent her from being raped”. A full hearing is expected in the near future.
The judge overseeing the case, Justice Hayden, said he “wanted to examine evidence in detail” before making any decisions. The judge also expressed concern that the husband would face jail time if he violated any orders not to have sex with his wife, adding that such an order would be difficult to police.
“I cannot think of any more obviously fundamental human right than the right of a man to have sex with his wife - and the right of the State to monitor that,” Justice Hayden said. “I think he is entitled to have it properly argued.”
His choice of words have drawn strong criticism from activists, with Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire accusing the judge of “legitimising misogyny and woman-hatred”.
“No man in the UK has such a legal right to insist on sex,” she added in a tweet.
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