Summary of Thomas v R

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In Thomas v R

The accused mistakenly believed that his first wife’s previous marriage had not been dissolved by a decree of the court and that therefore his marriage to her was void, and that he was free to remarry. On the basis of this mistake, the accused entered into a second marriage. By a majority of three to two the High Court of Australia quashed the conviction, although all five judges regarded Wheat and Stocks as indistinguishable: i.e., in both cases there was a mistake as to element (a) of the offence of Bigamy -“that the accused is married”

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