ACTUS REUS

Recklessness in the offence of assault would only be proved against a defendant if the magistrate or judge was satisfied that he actually foresaw a risk by taking a certain course of action but went on to take that risk.

The deliberate taking of photographs in court, in breach of notices prohibiting such conduct, was a contempt of court as well as an offence under the Criminal Justice Act 1925 s.41. A specific intent to interfere with the administration of justice was not required before such a contempt could be proven. It was sufficient that the act was deliberate and in breach of the criminal law or a court order of which the contemnor was aware.

[2016] EWHC 1241 (QB)

The Court of Appeal rejected a contention that, in order for the actus reus of an offence contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000 s.12(1)(a) to be made out, there had to be an invitation by a defendant to others to join him in providing practical or tangible support to a proscribed organisation. On a proper interpretation of that provision, it had to be determined whether a defendant knowingly used words which in fact invited support for that organisation. That broader interpretation was not incompatible with rights under the ECHR or the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1436

It had been appropriate for the Crown to pursue the generic charge of conspiracy to convert criminal property in relation to a drugs operation where there was substantial evidence that one of the defendants was heavily involved in supplying drugs on a wholesale basis to his co-defendants but the Crown was unable to prove the type and quantity of drugs involved.

[2016] EWCA Crim 6

The Court of Appeal considered appeals against findings made during hearings under the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 s.4A where the appellants had been found unfit to plead. An investigation into the state of mind of the unfit person was inconsistent with an enquiry under s.4A as to whether they had done the act.

[2015] EWCA Crim 2

The drinking of alcohol to excess by a pregnant woman in the knowledge that it would harm her unborn child did not amount to the criminal offence of inflicting grievous bodily harm by administering a noxious substance to any other person contrary to the Offences against the Person Act 1861 s.23 so as to entitle the born child to criminal compensation as the victim of a violent crime. A foetus was not to be regarded as a separate legal person and, except under statute, could not be the victim of a crime of violence. Consequently, an unborn child could not constitute “any other person” within s.23.

[2014] EWCA Civ 1554

Where a bankrupt was charged with an offence involving a failure to disclose creditors to the Official Receiver, the judge could simply direct the jury that they had to be satisfied that the bankrupt had failed to disclose creditors; it was not necessary to identify who the creditors were.

[2014] EWCA Crim 2210

Summonses issued by a lay magistrate alleging misconduct in public office against a Chief Crown Prosecutor and her deputy were quashed as the informations pertained to their decisions not to investigate allegations against a wide range of potential defendants, despite Crown Prosecutors having no such investigative powers. Further, the informations were vexatious.

[2014] EWHC 613 (Admin)

Contrary to the observation in R. v Patrascu (Andrew) [2004] EWCA Crim 2417, [2005] 1 W.L.R. 3344, in order to secure a conviction for witness intimidation under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 s.51(1), the Crown had to show that the victim whom an offender intended to intimidate was in fact intimidated, because the act of intimidation was part of the actus reus of the offence and therefore had to be proved. If the victim was not intimidated, but the other ingredients of the offence were proved, then the offender might be guilty of attempted witness intimidation.

[2013] EWCA Crim 989

The offence of wilfully neglecting a person who lacked capacity, contrary to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 s.44, was made out if the medical practitioner in question neglected to do that which ought to have been done in the treatment of the patient. It was no defence to say that the practitioner’s failure to act had been the result of panic, or that the outcome would have been the same whether or not the treatment had been administered.

[2013] EWCA Crim 965

In determining under the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 s.4A(2) whether a defendant, who was unfit to stand trial, was guilty of voyeurism the jury had to be satisfied that he had deliberately observed another person doing a private act for the purpose of his own sexual gratification.

[2012] EWCA Crim 770

The court set out what the prosecution would have to prove to establish that an offence under the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 reg.44(1)(d) of selling food after a “use by” date had been committed.

[2012] EWHC 296 (Admin)

A magistrates’ court’s finding that the appellant had made unwanted contact with a fellow passenger on a train when reaching out did not justify the conclusion that he was guilty of common assault.

[2011] EWHC 1860 (Admin)

The landing of a block of flats, access to which was restricted by an intercom system, was not a “public place”. Accordingly, the conviction of the appellant, who was alleged to have brandished a knife on the landing, for possessing a bladed article in a public place could not stand.

[2011] EWCA Crim 983

The bad character provisions in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.101(1)(d) applied to hearings conducted under the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 s.4A.

[2011] EWCA Crim 144

The offence of money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 s.328(1) would only be committed where the property in question was “criminal property” at the time of the relevant arrangement; the appellant, who had knowingly submitting false mortgage applications on behalf of third parties, was not guilty of the offence, because when he entered into the relevant arrangements with the mortgage brokers the property in question was not criminal in the hands of the mortgage company.

[2011] EWCA Crim 146

In a trial for murder and possession of an offensive weapon, the prosecution had put forward sufficient evidence for the case to be left to the jury, and so it could not be said that there was no case to answer.

[2011] EWCA Crim 2

For the purposes of the Terrorism Act 2006 s.2 it was enough that an offender within the United Kingdom possessed terrorist material with the relevant intent, and it was irrelevant that the material was to be disseminated abroad. Similarly, s.5 of the Act covered the preparation in the UK for acts of terrorism to be committed abroad.

[2010] EWCA Crim 3215

A conviction for damaging property being reckless as to whether life was thereby endangered contrary to the Criminal Damage Act 1971 s.1(2) was unsafe where the act of breaking a window at a residential property with a brick, which was separate, distinct and unrelated to a subsequent act of throwing in a petrol canister with a lit piece of paper, could not be said to have endangered life.

[2010] EWCA Crim 2361

A finding under the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 s.4A, that a defendant had committed the actus reus of the acts with which he was charged, was set aside as unsafe. The hearing had taken place alongside the trial of the defendant’s nine co-accused and the proceedings had not been severed, despite one of the co-accused making attacks on his character which he was unable properly to defend.

[2010] EWCA Crim 1684

The term “present together” in the Public Order Act 1986 s.2 meant no more than being in the same place at the same time; there was no requirement that there was a common purpose among those using or threatening violence. As such a school girl’s conviction for violent disorder, where she resisted arrest and members of the public became involved and issued threats of violence, was safe.

[2010] EWCA Crim 404

A judge’s failure to explain to the jury that the first ingredient of which it had to be satisfied in order to convict a defendant of attempting to facilitate a breach of immigration law, or of facilitating such a breach contrary to the Immigration Act 1971 s.25, was a material failure rendering a conviction unsafe.

[2009] EWCA Crim 2868

Where a defendant, having consumed alcohol in excess of the prescribed limit, expressed an intention to drive a motor vehicle and in furtherance of that intention opened the door of the vehicle, the act of opening the door was merely preparatory and he could not properly be convicted of attempting to drive with excess alcohol.

[2009] EWHC 2198 (Admin)

A judge’s failure to properly direct the jury as to the meaning of “wilfully” in the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 s.1(1) did not, in the circumstances, render unsafe a mother’s conviction for causing or procuring her child to be wilfully assaulted or ill-treated in a manner likely to cause her unnecessary suffering.

[2008] EWCA Crim 2360

“Control” within the meaning of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 s.53 should be given its ordinary dictionary meaning of directing a relevant activity and included, but was not limited to, individuals who forced another to carry out a relevant activity. Therefore there was no need to prove that a complainant had been forced, coerced or compelled to work as a prostitute, merely that she had been directed to do so.

[2007] EWCA Crim 2664

For the purposes of the offence of failing to take reasonable measures to prevent the escape of controlled waste, contrary to the Environmental Protection Act 1990 s.34(1)(b) , the prosecution did not have to establish that an “escape” had taken place.

[2006] EWHC 1615 (Admin)

A failure under the Social Security Administration Act 1992 s.112(1A) by an individual in receipt of housing benefit and council tax benefit to give proper notification of a change of circumstances had to be proved to the criminal standard of proof and it had to be established to the criminal standard that the individual knew that the change affected an entitlement.

[2006] EWHC 500 (Admin)

The cutting of hair without an individual’s consent constituted an offence under the Offences against the Person Act 1861 of assault causing actual bodily harm.

[2006] EWHC 94 (Admin)

The use of the word “immigrant” in its simple implication that a person was “non-British” was specific enough to denote membership of a “racial group” within its meaning in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 s.28(4) .

[2005] EWCA Crim 889

Where an offender had been involved in the supply of a controlled drug that was then self-administered by the person to whom it was supplied, resulting in their death, it was appropriate to find the offender guilty of manslaughter if the jury was satisfied that, when the drug was handed by the offender to the deceased “for immediate injection”, both parties were engaged in the one activity of administering the drug.

[2005] EWCA Crim 685

A car park attached to a public house was, during licensing hours, a public place for the purposes of the Road Traffic Act 1988 s.5 .

[2004] EWHC 3081 (Admin)

The removal from lawful control for the purposes of the Child Abduction Act 1984 s.2(1)(a) was completed by the time the defendants encountered the 15-year-old victim. Their subsequent knowledge of the victim’s age and failure to return her to her foster parents did not criminalise their previous behaviour.

[2004] EWHC 2955 (Admin)

In a prosecution for money laundering under the Drug Trafficking Act 1994 s.49(2) and the Criminal Justice Act 1988 s.93C(2) it was necessary for the Crown to prove that the property being converted was in fact the proceeds of drug trafficking, in the case of the 1994 Act, or of crime, in the case of the 1988 Act.

[2004] UKHL 50

The elements of the common law offence of misconduct in a public office were: (i) a public officer acting as such; (ii) wilfully neglected to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducted himself; (iii) to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the officeholder; (iv) without reasonable excuse or justification.

[2004] EWCA Crim 868

On the facts it was open for the jury to convict the defendant of unlawful act manslaughter where the defendant prepared heroin for the victim but did not inject her with it. The test was whether each of the parties had done an act that was a cause of the actus reus.

[2003] EWCA Crim 3868

Where a person, by act or word, created a danger and thereby exposed another to a reasonably foreseeable risk of injury which materialised, there was an evidential basis for the actus reus of an assault occasioning actual bodily harm, although it remained necessary for the prosecution to prove an intention to assault or the appropriate recklessness.

[2003] EWHC 2908 (Admin)

A defendant who merely stood outside a building whilst his co-defendants had committed a burglary could not without more be guilty of that offence.

[2003] EWHC 2717 (QB)

Where the appellant had convinced the complainant that she was going to be raped and had overcome her resistance, there was ample evidence to justify the conclusion that he had taken steps beyond the merely preparatory stage and was guilty of attempted rape.

[2003] EWCA Crim 2441

Where women were given or offered lifts by the defendant by way of fraud the correct offence was kidnapping and attempted kidnapping. Fraud was the essence of an offence of kidnap and if fraud was established consent could not be relied on at all, there was no room for the element of consent in kidnap cases as in the definition in R v D.

[2003] EWCA Crim 2149

The appellant, by leaving the scene of a serious road traffic accident and not reporting the accident until the following morning when he knew he was not at risk of a positive breathalyser reading, had not committed an act tending and intented to pervert the course of justice.

[2003] EWCA Crim 991

A defendant, who applied and held a tourniquet on the arm of a drug abuser injecting heroin who died as a result, had no answer to charges of administering poison so as to endanger life contrary to s.23 Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and of manslaughter.

[2003] EWCA Crim 945

Even though the defendants had published an inaccurate newspaper article as to the circumstances in which the Government of Mauritius was proposing to acquire an offshore patrol vessel, there was no evidence that the publication was of “such a nature as to disturb public order or public peace”, contrary to s.299(1)(b) Criminal Code of Mauritius.

[2002] UKPC 42

If a person caused a computer to record that information came from A when it in fact came from B, that manifestly affected the reliability of that information for the purposes of s.3 Computer Misuse Act 1990.

[2002] EWHC 589 (Admin)

A judge who had been satisfied that a defendant had committed an offence under s.4 Public Order Act 1986 had thereby made a finding that words used by the defendant were racist, threatening and abusive towards the victim.

[2002] EWHC 485 (Admin)

Threatened self-immolation in a public attraction was capable of being a threat to criminally damage the property of another contrary to s.2(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971. In this instance a misdirection about the ingredients of an offence under s.2 of the 1971 Act rendered the convictions unsafe.

[2002] EWCA Crim 500

Defences of provocation and lack of intent could not be considered by a jury under s.4A Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 where a person had been found unfit to stand trial. Concern was expressed that the condition for detention under Art.5(1)(e) European Convention on Human Rights, whether it could be reliably shown that a person was suffering from a mental disorder sufficiently serious to warrant detention, was not specifically addressed under the 1964 Act. * Leave to appeal to the House of Lords refused.

[2001] EWCA Crim 2611

In order to establish an the offence of aggravated trespass contrary to s.68 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, it was necessary to prove that the defendant had committed the act or acts complained of in the physical presence of a person engaged or about to engage in the lawful activity with which the defendant wished to interfere.

[2001] EWHC Admin 821

Where the prosecution sought to replace a count of common assault with a count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and had offered no evidence in relation to common assault, the appellant was entitled to rely on the defence of autrefois acquit when faced with the charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm based on the same facts.

[2001] EWCA Crim 1215

It was no defence to a charge of dangerous driving if a driver unintentionally pressed the accelerator when he meant to press the brake.

[2001] EWCA Crim 780

An offence could be committed under s.20(1) Consumer Protection Act 1987 without any evidence to prove that an indication by means of a notice applied to specific goods available at a specific price. * Leave to appeal to the House of Lords refused.

[2001] EWHC Admin 253