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23 Cards in this Set

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What is ment by Strict liability
There are some crimes for which, with regard to at least one element of the Actus Reus, e.g. a particular cricumstance or required consequence, no MENS REA is required.

The D need not have intended or known about that circumstance or consequence. Liability is said to be strict with regard to that element.
Do crimes of strict liability never require Mens Rea?
No, Mens Rea may well be required with regard to other elements of the Actus Reus. It is only in extreme and rare cases where no MENS REA is required for liability, thereby making the particular offense "absolute" (see~Winzar v Chief Constable of Kent (1983).

Most strict liability crimes therefore are only "strict" as to one element of the actus reus.
What is the presumption of requirement for mens rea?
There is a presumption that mens rea is an essential ingredient in any offence. (see: Sweet v Parsley (1969)
Sweet v Parsley

Presumption of Mens Rea
D was a landlady, not living on the pemises, she would occasional visit the tenants. It was found that her lodgers smoked cannabis on the premises, which she unaware of them doing. She was charged under s.5 (now repealed) Dangerous Drugs Act 1965. The Magistrates held that know Mens Rea was necessary for the element of the actus rea and she was convicted.

The HL quashed the conviction, stating this was not an offense of strict liability. Lord Reid stated, that where a statute says nothing about the mens rea, there is a presumption that mens rea will be required.
Sweet v Parsley

How did Lord Reid make distinctions between pure crimes and regulatory crimes?
He made a basic distinction between crimes which were truly criminal, where penalies were sever and mens rea should be required, and purely regulatory offences with minor penalties.

These offences where "quasi-criminal" and trict liability was a practical and acceptable way of dealing with them.
B v D.P.P (2000)

Protection of the public
A 15 yr boy, charged with inciting a 14 yr girl to commit an act of gross indecency with him, contrary to s.1(1) of the Indecency with Children Act 1960. The HL used the approach laid down in Sweet v Parsley, applying the presumption for mens rea. Held that the presumption for the requirement for mens rea is rebutted only if the need for a mental element is negatived by a compellingly clear implication.
R v K (2001)

presumption of mens rea - public policy
D was charged with indencent assult on a girl under 16 yrs. It was held that D's mistaken belief (whether reasonable or not) that the girl was over 16 was a valid defence.

The Offenses Against the Person Act 2003 abolished these offences-now only a reasonalbe mistake that the victim was over 16 will be a defence.
Regulatory Offences - types of strict liablity cases - define
Regulatory offences where no moral issues are at stake, small penalty, and from a practical point of view makes stict liability easier to enforce for these offences (e.g. sale of food - see: Smedleys Ltd v Breed)
Public Danger Offences - define as per strick liability
Important for the protection of the public. The penalty may be severe but strict liability is still felt necessary to induce the highest standard of care (i.e. pollution, dangerous drugs, weapons)
Steele (1993)
d was charged under s.1(1)(a) of the Firearms Act 1968 with possession of a non-registered firearm. D claimed that he had been give the bag containing the firearms minutes before the police arrived and had no knowledge of the contents of the bag. The CA confirmed his conviction, it is irrelevant that he did not know, or even could not reasonalbe have known what was in the bag. This is an example of draconian public policy and strick liability.
List some areas of Strict liability offenses?
1. Dangerous Drugs, 2. Road Traffic Offenses, 3. Pollution, 4. Sale of Food
What is the leading strict liabiltiy case for Dangerous drugs?
Marriott (1971), D was in possession of a penknife which he knew had traces of a substance on it. This substance turned out to be a prohibitied drug. The CT held that D needed mens rea with regard to possession of a substance on the knife, but no mens rea with regard to the circumstance that the substance was a prohibited drug. It did not matter that he did not know, or could not reasonably have know, what the substance was.

Limitations to dangerous drugs - see Sweet v Parsley
Give an example of a Road Traffic offence under strict liability that are regulatory or quasi criminal in nature?
Bowsher (1973) D was convicted of driving while disqualified, even though he believed he had been reinstated, this was a reasonalbe belief as his license had been returned to him.

Another exampe is the offence of DUI contrary to s.5 Road Traffic Offense Act 1988. Mens Rea is not required with regard to the circumstance of having an amount of alcohol in the bloodstreem over the prescribed limit.

Give examples of strict liabiltiy in reference to case law and legistation.
National Rivers Authority v Yorkshire Water Service (1994). YWS operated the seqage plant, one of its customers, without its knowledge discharged forbidden effluence through YWS mechanism. The DC held the "cause" dose not imply either negligence or knowledge. Liability is therefore strict and YWS liable.
Strict Liability and the Sale of Food
Smedleys Ltd v Breed (1974), D company was charged with selling food which was not of the substance demanded by the purchaser. A catapillar had been found in a tin of peas from D company factory. The HL held D liable even though there was no other practical preventive measures which could have been taken and the standard of care at the factory was extremely high.
List other areas where strick liability is prevalent?
1. Trade and Industry, 2. Public Health, and Liquor regulations
Are there any Defenses to strict liability?

Some statutes imposing strict liability now contain a limited form of defense, often based upon a lack of negligence. It can be argued that crimes for strict liabiltiy are becoming crimes of negligence.
Give an exampe for strict liability for the sale of food
Under s.21 FSA 1990, D has a defense if he shows that he took all reasonable precaustions and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence by himself or a person under his control.
Explain Reverse burdens of proof?
Sometimes a reverse burden of proof is incompatible with the ECHR, in which case the staturtory provision is "read down" (interpreted) to impose on the D, not a legal burden but merely an evidential burden of proof.
What are the reasons for Strict liability?
the main reasons for imposing strict liability are:
1) to protect the public from dandgerous actions by creating a higher standard of care, and
2) to regulate quasi-criminal activities in as efficient a manner as possible
Give an Authority which clearly argue in favour of Strict Liability?
Gammon (Hong Kong) Ltd v Attorney General (1984) case of regulatory offences consernced with building regulations...The PC held that, althogh there is a presumption of mens rea to be read into all offenses, this can be displaced on clear evidence in two kind of case:
(i) cases of public protection where social danger exists, (ii) Quasi-Criminal offences of regulatory nature.

The reason for displacing the mens rea in such cases were siad to be the encouraging of a higher standard of vigilance and ease of administration. Strict Liability can also facilitate the control of corporate crime.
How does strict liability help control corporate crime?
Crimes committed by corporations are often under-reported and under-prosecuted, despite the consequences, both in terms of money and life. Strict liability can help the control of corporate crime becuase it dispenses in some respects with the often difficult task of imputing the necessary mens rea to a sufficiently senior offical with the corporation.
What are some recent reforms in strict liability?
The trend to modify strict liability is to introduce statutory defences, such as allowing a defence of all due care, a burden of being on the defendant to prove his defense - problems may arise with HRA 1998