Lawrie -v- Muir; HCJ 23 Nov 1949

References: [1949] ScotHC HCJAC_2, 1950 JC 19, 1950 SLT 37
Links: Bailii
Coram: Lord Justice General Cooper
The prosecution case was said to have been based on evidence acquired during an unlawful search of the defendant’s premises.
Held: An irregularity in the method by which evidence has been obtained does not necessarily make that evidence inadmissible in a criminal prosecution.
Lord Justice General Cooper explained the basis for the approach: ‘From the standpoint of principle it seems to me that the law must strive to reconcile two highly important interests which are liable to come into conflict – (a) the interest of the citizen to be protected from illegal or irregular invasions of his liberties by the authorities, and (b) the interest of the State to secure that evidence bearing upon the commission of crime and necessary to enable justice to be done shall not be withheld from Courts of law on any merely formal or technical ground. Neither of these objects can be insisted upon to the uttermost.’
This case cites:

  • Approved – HM Advocate -v- McGuigan HCJ (1936 JC 16)
    An irregularity in the obtaining of evidence does not necessarily make that evidence inadmissible. . .

This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Her Majesty’s Advocate -v- P SC (Bailii, [2011] UKSC 44, Bailii Summary, 2012 SC (UKSC) 108)
    (Scotland) The appellant had been interviewed by police without being offered access to a solicitor. He complained that the interview and information obtained only through it had been used to found the prosecution.
    Held: The admission of the . .
  • Cited – Kinloch -v- Her Majesty’s Advocate SC (Bailii, [2012] UKSC 62, 2013 GWD 1-18, [2012] WLR(D) 385, [2012] 2 WLR 141, Bailii Summary, UKSC 2011/0251, SC, SC Summary)
    The appellant said that the police officers had acted unlawfully when collecting the evidence used against him, in that the information used to support the request for permission to undertake clandestine surveillance had been insufficiently . .

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