Nature of Offence in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Sweet v Parsley
    • House of Lords
    • 23 Jan 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.

  • Kakis v Government of the Republic of Cyprus
    • House of Lords
    • 18 May 1978

    "Unjust" I regard as directed primarily to the risk of prejudice to the accused in the conduct of the trial itself, "oppressive" as directed to hardship to the accused resulting from changes in his circumstances that have occurred during the period to be taken into consideration; but there is room for overlapping, and between them they would cover all cases where to return him would not be fair.

  • Norris v Government of the United States of America (No 2)
    • Supreme Court
    • 24 Feb 2010

    The reality is that only if some quite exceptionally compelling feature, or combination of features, is present that interference with family life consequent upon extradition will be other than proportionate to the objective that extradition serves.

    It is at this point that it is legitimate for the judge to consider whether there are any relevant features that are unusually or exceptionally compelling. If, however, the nature or extent of the interference with article 8 rights is exceptionally serious, careful consideration must be given to whether such interference is justified. In such a situation the gravity, or lack of gravity, of the offence may be material.

    I do not accept Mr Perry's submission that the gravity of the offence can never be of relevance where an issue of proportionality arises in the human rights context. Usually the nature of the offence will have no bearing on the extradition decision. If, however, the particular offence is at the bottom of the scale of gravity, this is capable of being one of a combination of features that may render extradition a disproportionate interference with human rights.

  • Dabas v High Court of Justice in Madrid, Spain
    • House of Lords
    • 28 Feb 2007

    In the light of this narrative I would have been willing to hold, had it been necessary to do so, that throughout the period of the conduct which is said to constitute the offence in this case the requirement of double criminality was satisfied. But it is the conduct for which extradition is sought, not any narrative that may be included in the Part 1 warrant simply by way of background, that must satisfy the test of double criminality.

  • R v Hanson; R v Gilmore; R v Pickstone
    • Court of Appeal
    • 22 Mar 2005

    The fewer the number of convictions the weaker is likely to be the evidence of propensity. A single previous conviction for an offence of the same description or category will often not show propensity. But it may do so where, for example, it shows a tendency to unusual behaviour or where its circumstances demonstrate probative force in relation to the offence charged (compare DPP v P [1991] 2 AC 447 at 460E to 461A).

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