K v Regina: CACD 13 Feb 2008

The Court considered the nature of the documents which fall within the section and, secondly, the scope of the defence of reasonable excuse under section 58(3).
Held: ‘A document or record will only fall within section 58 if it is of a kind that is likely to provide practical assistance to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. A document that simply encourages the commission of acts of terrorism does not fall within section 58.
The provisions of section 2 of the 2006 Act, and in particular those of section 2(5), require the jury to have regard to surrounding circumstances when deciding whether a publication is likely to be useful in the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism. Contrary to [counsel for the Crown’s] submissions, we do not consider that the same is true of section 58 of the 2000 Act. The natural meaning of that section requires that a document or record that infringes it must contain information of such a nature as to raise a reasonable suspicion that it is intended to be used to assist in the preparation or commission of an act of terrorism. It must be information that calls for an explanation. Thus the section places on the person possessing it the obligation to provide a reasonable excuse. Extrinsic evidence may be adduced to explain the nature of the information. Thus had the defendant in R v Rowe [2007] QB 975 been charged under section 58, evidence could have been admitted as to the nature of the substitution code possessed by the defendant. What is not legitimate under section 58 is to seek to demonstrate, by reference to extrinsic evidence, that a document, innocuous on its face, is intended to be used for the purpose of committing or preparing a terrorist act.’
and ‘As for the nature of a ‘reasonable excuse’, it seems to us that this is simply an explanation that the document or record is possessed for a purpose other than to assist in the commission or preparation of an act of terrorism. It matters not that that other purpose may infringe some other provision of the criminal or civil law.’


[2008] EWCA Crim 185, [2008] 2 WLR 1026, [2008] 2 Cr App R 7, [2008] 3 All ER 526, [2008] QB 827




Terrorism Act 2000 57 58


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedRegina v G; Regina v J HL 4-Mar-2009
G was to stand trial for possession of articles useful for terrorism. Whilst in prison, he collected and created diagrams and information and prepared plans to bomb a local army centre. When arrested he said he had done so to upset the prison . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 18 July 2022; Ref: scu.264513