Misuse of Drugs in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Warner v Metropolitan Police Commissioner; R v Warner
    • House of Lords
    • 02 May 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.

    The question, to which an answer is required, and in the end a jury must answer it, is whether in the circumstances the accused should be held to have possession of the substance, rather than mere control. In order to decide between these two, the jury should, in my opinion, be invited to consider all the circumstances—to use again the words of Pollock and Wright—the "Modes or events" by which the custody commences and the legal incident in which it is held.

  • R v Americo Practico Afonso and Others
    • Court of Appeal
    • 09 Set 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.

  • R v McNamara
    • Court of Appeal
    • 12 Feb 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 Ene 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 May 1978

    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. Since it could not result in the production of cocaine, the two appellants by pursuing it could not commit the statutory offence of producing a controlled drug.

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

    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. That would be a misuse of state power, and an abuse of the process of the courts.

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