Tini Owens has been ordered to stay married to her husband Hugh. The Supreme Court unanimously, although ‘with reluctance,’ ruled that she cannot have a divorce just because she is unhappy. Hugh Owens is contesting his wife’s petition and under British law this means the only way a divorce can be granted is after five years separation; unless it can be proved the marriage has irretrievably broken down because of adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or desertion. Making your wife unhappy is apparently not unreasonable.
The Supreme Court, and the lower courts through which this sorry tale has gradually wound its way, adopted the Ponitus Pilate defence: they only apply the law they don’t make it – that’s Parliament’s job.
Over in Westminster, the Ministry of Justice said: “The current system of divorce creates unnecessary antagonism in an already difficult situation.”
This caused a fair amount of panic that the country might be heading for divorce ‘on demand.’ Much like abortion ‘on demand’ this is absolutely beyond the pale in some quarters. Heaven forfend that women’s needs should be met, that their requests should be granted, guilt free, blame free, no fuss. Whatever next.
Meanwhile, tennis star Serena Williams said she’d been ‘randomly’ drug tested five times this year – while some of her competitors had yet to be asked for a single sample. ‘Discrimination? I think so’ was her conclusion. She could be right.
But given the number of athletes who over the years have, unfortunately, accidentally, overslept, not heard the doorbell, or been ‘out’ when the inspectors called, who can blame them for taking the odd shortcut to meet their targets? They probably thought: ‘She’s got a baby for God’s sake: she’ll be in, and she’ll be up.’