The Missing Witness? George V, Competence and Compellability and the Criminal Libel Trial of Edward Frederick Mylius

The Journal of Legal History, Vol. 33, No.2, pp 209 - 239

37 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2012 Last revised: 12 Jul 2012

See all articles by Robin Callender Smith

Robin Callender Smith

University of London - Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

Date Written: March 26, 2012

Abstract

A criminal libel trial in 1911 set the monarch against one of his subjects. Edward Mylius repeated a rumour that accused King George V of marrying Queen Mary when – secretly – the King had already married someone else and had three children. The criminal charge, the process used to bring the issue to court, the advice to the King of the relevant Ministers (including Winston Churchill as Home Secretary) and the trial itself stretched the boundaries of fairness. The legacy of the trial created a lingering problem. Can the monarch ever be required to face the direct scrutiny of examination by being required to appear as a witness in his or her own court to support a personal complaint?

Keywords: Monarch, evidence, competence, compellability, criminal libel, legal history, constitutional law

JEL Classification: K41

Suggested Citation

Callender Smith, Robin, The Missing Witness? George V, Competence and Compellability and the Criminal Libel Trial of Edward Frederick Mylius (March 26, 2012). The Journal of Legal History, Vol. 33, No.2, pp 209 - 239. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2037498 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2037498

Robin Callender Smith (Contact Author)

University of London - Humanities, Social Sciences and Law ( email )

QMUL Centre for Commercial Law Studies
67-69 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London, London WC2A 3JB
United Kingdom
+44 207 256 6508 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.qmul.ac.uk/staff/callendersmith.html

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