Byrne v Low: 1972

The court was asked as to the amount of the monetary penalty for a contravention of the prohibition on the importation of indecent goods. The 1952 Act provided for calculation by reference to the price which the goods might reasonably be expected to have fetched if they had been sold in the open market. The court accepted the evidence of an invoice that showed the price that the actual seller required from the actual buyer for the goods as landed, there being no open market in this country in the sense of a market free and above board, not conducted in an underground fashion, in which the goods of that kind could be sold. Lord Widgery CJ said: ‘It is contended before us today, and I think clearly the contention is correct, that in deciding what is the open market value of goods of this kind, one is not restricted by the distinction between the so-called black market and white market. What is being sought is the price which a willing seller would accept from a willing buyer for these goods as landed at the port or airport at which they were originally landed. If we can ascertain what is the price which would be paid by a willing buyer to a willing seller at the port of landing, then that is the open market value of the goods for present purposes, and the penalty accordingly can be up to a maximum of three times that value.’


Lord Widgery CJ


[1972] 1 WLR 1282


Customs and Excise Act 1952 305(2)


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedIslam, Regina v HL 10-Jun-2009
The defendant appealed against a confiscation order saying that it should not have been set at values which reflected the black market value of the drugs he had imported.
Held: The appeal failed. The court could take account of the illegal . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Sentencing

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.374252