Beatty v Gillbanks: QBD 13 Jun 1882

The appellants assembled with others for a lawful purpose, and with no intention of carrying it out unlawfully, but with the knowledge that their assembly would be opposed, and with good reason to suppose that a breach of the peace would be committed by those who opposed it.
Held: Persons who are lawfully and peaceably assembled could not be convicted of the offence that they did ‘unlawfully and tumultuously assemble with divers other persons . . to the disturbance of the public peace, and against the peace of our sovereign Lady the Queen.’ They did nothing unlawful and the evidence showed that the disturbances were caused by other people antagonistic to the appellants. ‘What has happened here is that an unlawful organisation has assumed to itself the right to prevent the appellants and others from lawfully assembling together, and the finding of the justices amounts to this, that a man may be convicted for doing a lawful act if he knows that his doing it may cause another to do an unlawful act.’ Per contra the Court said ‘If this disturbance of the peace was the natural consequence of acts of the appellants they would be liable, and the justices would have been right in binding them over.’

[1882] 9 QBD 308, [1882] UKLawRpKQB 104, (1881-1882) 9 QBD 308, (1882) 15 Cox CC 138
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRegina v Chief Constable of Sussex, ex Parte International Trader’s Ferry Limited HL 2-Apr-1998
Chief Constable has a Wide Discretion on Resources
Protesters sought to prevent the appellant’s lawful trade exporting live animals. The police provided assistance, but then restricted it, pleading lack of resources. The appellants complained that this infringed their freedom of exports under . .
CitedHubbard v Pitt CA 1976
Protesters handed out leaflets and carried posters outside the plaintiff’s estate agency. He claimed in trespass over the public footpath outside his premises. The defendants appealed the grant of an interlocutory injunction to prevent their . .
CitedLaporte, Regina (on the application of ) v Chief Constable of Gloucestershire HL 13-Dec-2006
The claimants had been in coaches being driven to take part in a demonstration at an air base. The defendant police officers stopped the coaches en route, and, without allowing any number of the claimants to get off, returned the coaches to London. . .
CitedAustin and Another v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis CA 15-Oct-2007
The claimants appealed dismissal of their claims for false imprisonment and unlawful detention by the respondent in his policing of a demonstration. They had been held within a police cordon in the streets for several hours to prevent the spread of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Crime, Constitutional

Leading Case

Updated: 14 November 2021; Ref: scu.192009