How have courts dealt with a wife’s petition for judicial review on the grounds of cruelty arid adultery?

Saskatchewan, Canada

The following excerpt is from Jones v. Jones, 1925 CanLII 98 (SK QB):

1863: Hudson v. Hudson, 3 Sw. & Tr. 315 (164 E.R. 1296). This was a wife’s petition for judicial separation on the ground of cruelty arid adultery, but the latter charge was not supported and struck out. Her complaint on the ground of cruelty was that she had suffered much from weak health and distress of mind, caused to some extent, and, at any rate, increased by her husband’s conduct. The evidence tendered for her on this branch of the case was accepted. The burden of her complaint was that the husband was given to intoxication, used rough and coarse language, was violent and abusive at times. It was held on the facts that she was in no fear of any actual danger to her person, and there was no danger of intolerable hardship in her life. When she separated herself from her husband she did so on a false pretense that she was leaving on a short visit to a relative, and separated on good terms.

1864: Pickard v. Pickard, 3 Sw. & Tr. 523, 33 L.J. Mat. 158. There the husband alleged cruelty by the wife. The wife was ill-tempered, abusive and guilty of great and unrestrained violence which the husband had submitted to, adopting, from religious motives, a policy of passive resistance. She ruled his conduct by threats of personal attack, and when she had been guilty of assailing him with abuse and blows on the steps of a public chapel, which he had been attending against her will, and had driven him home ignominiously, he left her and commenced action. The excitement of the last attack had induced a fit and much mental and bodily suffering. Whilst the Judge Ordinary refused to draw the conclusion that his safety was imperilled, or that he would receive serious bodily harm from her personal violence, as he could protect himself, the decree was, on the husband making provision for the wife, granted.

1870: Kelly v. Kelly, L.R. 2 P. 59, 39 L.J. Mat. 28: This was a decision on a wife’s petition for judicial separation on the ground of cruelty. No actual violence to her person was charged. The husband was a minister. They had lived together for twenty-eight years when the wife left him and commenced proceedings. The facts will appear from quotations from the judgments: He opened her letters. He called her a vile traitor and apostate. He told her that no modest woman would associate with her. That she had given her confidence to another man. He refused to sit at meals with her. He insisted on occupying a separate bedroom. He told the servants to take orders from him, and not from his wife. He kept apart from his wife all day. * * * She was entirely deposed from her natural position as mistress of the house, * * * debarred the use of money * * not permitted to disburse any for her necessary expenses, * * interdicted against going out at will, locked in, followed by his servants, and abused in epithets applicable to a woman who had committed adultery. He shunned her society, forbade the house to those who wished to see her, had her letters read before mailing, and practically isolated her, and treated her like a child or lunatic. Her health was imperilled and medical testimony that to expose her further to such treatment would have led to paralysis or madness was accepted. The husband was a fanatic, who apparently thought he benefited his wife by thus treating her and had no intention of injuring her. This conduct was held to constitute cruelty, and decree was made for judicial separation.

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