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E XCEPT In cases of necessity' the wife was incompetent to
testify for or against her husband at common law Coke
suggests that the reason for the rule lay in the fact that husband
and wife were one, and naturally could not be divided for the
purposes of testimony Although the courts soon got beyond this
doctrine, they insisted on the value of the rule. They argued that
spouses, though perhaps not physically identical, were identical
in interest. When disqualification by interest was removed, the
judges bad to take other ground, and did so in Stapleton v
Crofts.' There they decided that the true basis for the rule was
the necessity of martial harmony and confidence.

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law and evidence, family relations, testimony