R v Page – Case Summary

R v Page

Courts-Martial Appeal Court.

Citations: [1953] 3 WLR 895; [1954] 1 QB 170.


The appellant was a corporal for the Royal Corps of Signals, stationed in Egypt. He was convicted of the murder of an Egyptian man by court-martial. He appealed the conviction. The appellant argued that murder requires the killing to be within ‘the Queen’s peace’, and that a foreign national in a foreign country is not in the Queen’s peace.

  1. What is the meaning of ‘the Queen’s peace’?

The Courts-Martial Appeals Court upheld the conviction. Section 9 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 specifies that a person can be convicted of murder or manslaughter regardless of where the offence occurred and the nationality of the victim. The killing was in the Queen’s peace.

This Case is Authority For…

The Court approved of Coke’s definition of murder:

‘Murder is when a man of sound memory, and of the age of discretion, unlawfully killeth within any county of the realm any reasonable creature in rerum natura under the King’s peace, with malice fore-thought.’

The victim’s nationality and location is irrelevant to whether they are in the Queen’s peace. The court suggested that the ‘King/Queen’s peace’ element of the offence is meant solely to exclude ‘killing in the course of war and, possibly, rebellion.’