The defendants were to be tried for allegedly sending funds abroad to support terrorism. The court now considered the meaning of the phrase ‘reasonable cause to suspect’ in the context of the anticipated use of the funds: ‘Does it mean that the accused must actually suspect, and for reasonable cause, that the money may be used for the purposes of terrorism? Or is it sufficient that on the information known to him there exists, assessed objectively, reasonable cause to suspect that that may be the use to which it is put?’
Held: The defendants’ appeal failed. Parliament had deliberately chosen to widen the scope of the offence on its re-enactment: ‘to include those who had, objectively assessed, reasonable cause to suspect that the money might be put to terrorist use, as well as those who intended that it should be, or knew that it would be. In particular, the change in the definition of the offence which is now section 17 of the Terrorism Act 2000, and here under question, is a change from ‘knows or suspects’ to ‘knows or has reasonable cause to suspect’. That change can only have been intended to remove the requirement for proof of actual suspicion. It is not open to the court to ignore this kind of clear Parliamentary decision.’
However: ‘it would be an error to suppose that the form of offence-creating words adopted by Parliament result in an offence of strict liability. It is certainly true that because objectively-assessed reasonable cause for suspicion is sufficient, an accused can commit this offence without knowledge or actual suspicion that the money might be used for terrorist purposes. But the accused’s state of mind is not, as it is in offences which are truly of strict liability, irrelevant. The requirement that there exist objectively assessed cause for suspicion focuses attention on what information the accused had. As the Crown agreed before this court, that requirement is satisfied when, on the information available to the accused, a reasonable person would (not might or could) suspect that the money might be used for terrorism. The state of mind of such a person is, whilst clearly less culpable than that of a person who knows that the money may be used for that purpose, not accurately described as in no way blameworthy. It was for Parliament to decide whether the gravity of the threat of terrorism justified attaching criminal responsibility to such a person, but it was clearly entitled to conclude that it did. It is normal, not unusual, for a single offence to be committed by persons exhibiting different levels of culpability. The difference in culpability can, absent other aggravating features of the case, be expected to be reflected in any sentence imposed if conviction results.’
Baroness Hale of Richmond PSC, Lord Burnett LCJ, Lord Hughes, Lord Hodge JJSC, Lord Mance
 UKSC 36,  Lloyd’s Rep FC 438,  1 WLR 3647,  2 Cr App R 35,  WLR(D) 442, UKSC 2017/0080, SC 180419am Video
Bailii, Bailii Summary, WLRD, SC, SC Summary, SC Video Summary
Terrorism Act 2000 17
England and Wales
Cited – Sweet v Parsley HL 23-Jan-1969
Mens Rea essential element of statutory Offence
The appellant had been convicted under the Act 1965 of having been concerned in the management of premises used for smoking cannabis. This was a farmhouse which she visited infrequently. The prosecutor had conceded that she was unaware that the . .
Cited – O’Hara v Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary HL 21-Nov-1996
The plaintiff had been arrested on the basis of the 1984 Act. The officer had no particular knowledge of the plaintiff’s involvement, relying on a briefing which led to the arrest.
Held: A reasonable suspicion upon which an arrest was founded . .
Cited – B (A Minor) v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 23-Feb-2000
Prosecution to prove absence of genuine belief
To convict a defendant under the 1960 Act, the prosecution had the burden of proving the absence of a genuine belief in the defendant’s mind that the victim was 14 or over. The Act itself said nothing about any mental element, so the assumption must . .
Cited – Taylor, Regina v SC 3-Feb-2016
No Liability Extension on Taking Without Consent
Appeal by leave of the Court of Appeal on a point of law arising in the course of the trial of the appellant for aggravated vehicle taking, contrary to section 12A of the Theft Act 1968. The defendant had taken a vehicle without the owner’s consent, . .
Cited – Saik, Regina v HL 3-May-2006
The defendant appealed aganst his conviction for conspiracy to engage in moneylaundering. At trial he pleaded guilty subject to a qualification that he had not known that the money was the proceeds of crime, though he may have suspected that it . .
Cited – Brown, Regina v (Northern Ireland) SC 26-Jun-2013
The complainaint, a 13 year old girl had first said that the defendant had had intercourse with her againt her consent. After his arrest, she accepted that this was untrue. On being recharged with unlawful intercourse, he admitted guilt believing he . .
Cited – Hughes, Regina v SC 31-Jul-2013
Uninsured Driver Not Guilty of Causing Death
The appellant though an uninsured driver, was driving without fault when another vehicle veered across the road. The other driver died from his injuries, and the appellant convicted of causing his death whilst uninsured. At trial he succeeded in . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 18 February 2021; Ref: scu.619946