R v Clinton [2012] EWCA Crim 2, [2012] Crim. L.R. 539

Key point

  • Evidence of sexual infidelity is admissible since can form the context for the qualifying trigger for loss of control


  • Clinton’s wife Dawn admitted to him that she had been having an affair, he told his wife that was going to commit suicide and she replied that he didn’t have the ‘balls’ to do it
  • He killed her by beating her head with a baton and strangling her
  • Trial judge did not allow evidence relating to sexual infidelity following s55(6)(c) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • Allowing the appeal and ordering a retrial as the judge erred in her direction

Lord Judge CJ

  • Sexual fidelity can be the context for a qualifying trigger but not as a trigger itself under the loss of control defence
  • If a qualifying trigger is present, evidence relating to sexual infidelity arises for consideration as part of the context in which to evaluate the trigger