R v Charles

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Criminal Division)
Judgment Date28 Jul 2009

Court of Appeal, Criminal Division

Before Lord Justice Thomas, Mr Justice Wilkie and Mrs Justice Dobbs

Regina
and
Charles
Prosecution has to prove lack of ASBO-ban excuse

Where a person was charged with an offence of doing something which he was prohibited from doing by an antisocial behaviour order without reasonable excuse, the legal burden of proving that the defendant acted without reasonable excuse lay on the prosecution.

The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, so held when giving reasons for allowing an appeal by Chuks Emmanuel Charles, against his conviction at Woolwich Crown Court (Judge Murphy and a jury) on January 20, 2009, of breaching the terms of an antisocial behaviour order prohibiting him from engaging i n behaviour which caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to a person, without reasonable excuse, contrary to section 1(10) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Mr Ashley Hendron, assigned by the Registrar of Criminal Appeals, for the defendant; Mr Victor Ogunbusola for the Crown.

LORD JUSTICE THOMAS, delivering the judgment of the court, said that the trial judge ruled that the legal burden of proving whether the defendant acted without reasonable excuse lay on the defence.

Antisocial Behaviour Orders, A Guide for the Judiciary (3rd edition (2007), paragraph 6.5), published by the Judicial Studies Board, stated that if the defendant raised the evidential issue of reasonable excuse, it was for the prosecution to prove lack of reasonable excuse.

Unfortunately that guide was not brought to the attention of the trial judge. It was a fundamental rule that the burden of proving a defendant's guilt rested on the Crown and there were only limited exceptions to that rule.

As decided in R v HuntELR ([1987] 1 AC 352), where, as in the present case, no express provision was made for placing the burden on a particular issue on the defence, where the burden lay depended on the construction of the particular legislation.

The analogous offence of breaching a restraining order, contrary to section 5(5) of the Protection From Harassment Act 1997, was drafted in similar terms to section 1(10) of the 1998 Act, and in R v Evans (Dorothy)TLRWLR (The Times December 10, 2004; [2005] 1 WLR 1435), the Court of App eal observed that where the issue of reasonable excuse in section 5(5) of the 1997 Act was raised by the defendant, the burden of proving that he acted without reasonable excuse lay on the prosecution.

Those...

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2 cases
  • B v DPP
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 24 January 2012
    ...into account in determining whether the Crown has proved there was no reasonable excuse: the burden of so proving lies on the Crown: see R v Charles [2009] EWCA Crim 1570, [2010] 1 Cr App R 2. 14 The defence of "reasonable excuse" is found in a large number of statutory provision......
  • R v Richards (Anthony)
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 9 March 2010
    ...the relevant authorities are R v Edwards [1952] 1 QB 27, R v Hunt [1987] 1 AC 352, R v Dorothy Evans [2004] EWCA Crim. 3102 and, finally, R v Charles [2009] EWCA Crim. 1570. 6 The Crown also accept that, as section 1(10) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, section 5(5) of the Harassment Act......

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