Misuse of Drugs in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Warner v Metropolitan Police Commissioner; R v Warner
    • House of Lords
    • 02 Mayo 1968

    In considering these questions the wording in the Act must be regarded. It is a declared purpose of the Act to prevent the misuse of drugs. If actual possession of particular substances which are regarded as potentially damaging is not controlled there will be danger of the misuse of them by those who possess them. They might be harmfully used: they might be sold in most undesirable ways. Parliament proceeded to define and limit the classes and descriptions of people who alone could possess.

    By these I mean relating them to typical situations, that they must consider the manner and circumstances in which the substance, or something which contains it, has been received, what knowledge or means of knowledge or guilty knowledge as to the presence of the substance, or as to the nature of what has been received, he had at the time of receipt or thereafter up to the moment when he is found with it; his legal relation to the substance or package (including his right of access to it).

  • R v McNamara
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 12 Febrero 1988

    That, in our judgment, establishes the necessary possession. They must also of course prove that the box in fact contained the drug alleged, in this case cannabis resin. If any of those matters are unproved, there is no case to go to the jury.

  • Sweet v Parsley
    • House of Lords
    • 23 Enero 1969

    But in a very large number of cases there is no clear indication either way. In such cases there has for centuries been a presumption that Parliament did not intend to make criminals of persons who were in no way blameworthy in what they did. That means that whenever a section is silent as to mens rea there is a presumption that, in order to give effect to the will of Parliament, we must read in words appropriate to require mens rea.

  • DPP v Nock (on Appeal from the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)), ; DPP v Alsford (on Appeal from the Court of Appeal (Criminal Divisional)),
    • House of Lords
    • 24 Mayo 1978

    The trial judge in his direction to the jury, and the Court of Appeal in their judgment dismissing the two appeals, treated this impossibility as an irrelevance. In their view the agreement was what mattered: and there was plain evidence of an agreement to produce cocaine, even though unknown to the two conspirators it could not be done. Neither the trial judge nor the Court of Appeal thought it necessary to carry their analysis of the agreement further.

  • R v Looseley
    • House of Lords
    • 25 Octubre 2001

    Every court has an inherent power and duty to prevent abuse of its process. By recourse to this principle courts ensure that executive agents of the state do not misuse the coercive, law enforcement functions of the courts and thereby oppress citizens of the state. It is simply not acceptable that the state through its agents should lure its citizens into committing acts forbidden by the law and then seek to prosecute them for doing so.

  • R v Americo Practico Afonso and Others
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 09 Septiembre 2004

    These are the offenders who are out-of-work drug addicts, whose motive is solely to finance the feeding of their own addiction, who hold no stock of drugs and who are shown to have made a few retail supplies of the drug to which they are addicted to undercover police officers only.

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