Case Laws- Strict Liability

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  • Created on: 10-12-12 18:00
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Harrow London Borough Council v Shah Sold national lottery ticket to under 16 year olds ­ no
mens rea required for offence, the act itself is enough to
make someone guilty.
Sweet v Parsley This case was not one of strict liability A RHW House of
Lords decided that the statute did not specifically
exclude mens rea
Alphacell v Woodward The D's company was convicted under the Rivers
(Preventing Pollution) Act 1951 even though the event
could not be predicted. This encourages better vigilance
in business
Smedleys v Breed The D company was guilty even though all reasonable
care had been taken- A caterpillar was found in peas-
one of millions- and was convicted under food and drugs
Act 1935 ­Provides basic safety to public
R v Blake Strict liability was found- was a matter of public safety as
the D was convicted of making illegal radio broadcasts
and could've affected the operation of the emergency
services- Acts as a deterrent
B v DPP Where an offence is truly criminal (in this case a sex
offence) it will be unlikely to be found a strict liability
Gammon (Hong Kong) Ltd v Attorney General Set out the general criteria for a crime to be a crime of
strict liability:
for Hong Kong There is a presumption that mens rea is required to
be guilty of a criminal offence
The presumption is particularly strong where the
offence is `truly criminal' in character
The statue must clearly exclude mens rea for it to be
an offence of strict liability
The presumption that mens rea is not required in a
statute for an offence when it is not clearly stated is
only for public safety or social concerns
R v Lemon and Gay News ltd It was held sufficient for the prosecution to prove an
intention to publish and here was no need to establish
an intention to blaspheme
Kirkland v Robinson Strict liability helps protect the countryside. The D was
unaware he was in possession of wild birds contrary to
the `Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981'.
Atkinson v Sir Alfred McAlpine Strict liability provides protection from unsafe buildings-0
a building company was convicted under the Asbestos
Regulations 1969 for failing to state it was working with
asbestos even though they were unaware of this fact.
Callow v Tillstone Strict liability provides protection from unsafe food e.g. a
butcher was convicted of selling meat which was unfit
for public consumption even though the vet had
certified the meat to be safe.
R v Howells Strict liability provides protection from unlawful weapons.
Pharmaceutical Society or Great Britain v Strict liability is unjust because a D has taken reasonable
care and does not deserve punishment e.g. pharmacist
Storkwain supplied drugs on a forged prescription unknowingly.

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Barnfather v London Borough of Islington Strict liability may breach article 6 of the European
Convention on Human Rights; `everyone charged with a
Education Authority and Secretary of State for criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until
Education and Skills proven guilty'. E.g. The D was convicted for the fact her
child had failed to attend school regularly.…read more


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