What is Strict Liability?
Strict liability - these only need actus reus and no mens rea
Criteria for strict liability:
- Gammon Ltd v Attorney Genereal for HK 1985
- pressume you need actus reus and mens rea
- is offence truly criminal?
- statute must clearly exclude mens rea
- presumption can be displaced in issue of social concern or safety
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Why have strict liability?
- Provides basic safety to public - Smedleys v Breed 1974 (catterpillar in peas; goes against statute)
- Easier convictions with no mens rea - speeding tickets
- created during industrial revolution to convict factory owners
- straightforward and clear regulations - Alphacell v Woodward 1972 (clearing floor after factory spillage)
- Quasi - crimes (not truly criminal) - Shah v London BC of Harrow (sold lottery ticket to an underage buyer)
- Acts as a deterent - R v Blake 1997 (unlicensed radio station)
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When is strict liability used?
- Words in statue must imply strict liability!
- Reckless or Knowingly shows mens rea thus not strict liability
- Truly criminal or merely regulatory?
- all crimes need mens rea unless stated - Sweet V Parsley 1970 (drugs being smoked in a cottage that was being let; statute required MR thus no strict liability)
- Examples of strict liability
- traffic offences
- food safety
- public disorders
- possession of a weapon
- health and safety
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+/- of strict liability
Advantages of strict liability
- easy to prove
- less conviction time
- protects the public
- encourages compliance
- straightforward regulations
Disadvantages of strict liability
- no evidence of compliance due to strict liability (outside factors?)
- unfairity due to no mens rea?
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