Regina v Dytham: CACD 1979

A constable was 30 yards away from the entrance to a club, from which he saw a man ejected. There was a fight involving cries and screams and the man was beaten and kicked to death in the gutter outside the club. The constable made no move to intervene. He drove away when the hubbub had died down, stating that he was due off and was going off. He demurred to the indictment on the ground that it disclosed no offence since misconduct of an officer of justice involved malfeasance or at least a misfeasance involving an element of corruption and not merely non-feasance as alleged in the indictment.
Held: The conviction of the officer for wilful neglect to perform a duty was upheld.
Lord Widgery CJ said: ‘the allegation made was not of mere non-feasance but of deliberate failure and wilful neglect . . This involves an element of culpability which is not restricted to corruption or dishonesty but which must be of such a degree that the misconduct impugned is calculated to injure the public interest so as to call for condemnation and punishment. Whether such a situation is revealed by the evidence is a matter that a jury has to decide. It puts no heavier burden upon them than when in more familiar contexts they are called upon to consider whether driving is dangerous or a publication is obscene or a place of public resort is a disorderly house’
Shaw LJ, Lord Widgery CJ, McNeill J
[1979] 1 QBD 722, (1979) 69 Crim App R 722
England and Wales
CitedRex v Wyat 1705
Where an officer [a constable] neglects a duty incumbent upon him, either by common law or statute, he is for his default indictable. . .
CitedRex v Bembridge 1783
The defendant was an accountant in the office and place of receiver and paymaster general. The court was asked whether he held a public office.
Held: A man who holds a public office is answerable criminally to the king for misbehaviour in that . .
CitedRegina v Llewellyn-Jones CACD 1968
The Registrar of a County Court was convicted of offences of misconduct in public office. The indictment charged ‘misbehaviour in a public office, contrary to common law’ and alleged that court orders had been made ‘with the intention of gaining . .

Cited by:
CitedOsman v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-Oct-1998
Police’s Complete Immunity was Too Wide
(Grand Chamber) A male teacher developed an obsession with a male pupil. He changed his name by deed poll to the pupil’s surname. He was required to teach at another school. The pupil’s family’s property was subjected to numerous acts of vandalism, . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference (No 3 of 2003) CACD 7-Apr-2004
Police Officers had been acquitted of misconduct in public office. They had stood by in a police station custody suite as a prisoner lay on the floor and died.
Held: The trial took place before R -v- G which had overruled Caldwell. The . .
CitedHertfordshire Police v Van Colle; Smith v Chief Constable of Sussex Police HL 30-Jul-2008
Police Obligations to Witnesses is Limited
A prosecution witness was murdered by the accused shortly before his trial. The parents of the deceased alleged that the failure of the police to protect their son was a breach of article 2.
Held: The House was asked ‘If the police are alerted . .
CitedRegina v W CACD 2-Mar-2010
The defendant appealed against his conviction for misconduct in public office. As a police officer he had used an official credit card to pay for personal items. He said that he believed this was allowed where he intended to discharge the debt. He . .
CitedRegina v Bowden (T) CACD 24-Feb-1995
The defendant, a maintenance manager, was accused of misconduct in public office. He had caused works to be carried out by other employees of the local authority on premises occupied by a friend when such works were not required under the . .
CitedABC and Others, Regina v CACD 26-Mar-2015
Several defendants sought to appeal against convictions. They were public officials accused of having committed misconduct in public office in the sale of information relating to their work to journalists. The journalists were convicted of . .
CitedShum Kwok Sher 2002
Final Court of Appeal, Hong Kong. A senior government officer had used his position to provide preferential treatment to a company and its directors to whom he was related. He appealed against his conviction for misconduct in public office.
CitedRobinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police SC 8-Feb-2018
Limits to Police Exemption from Liability
The claimant, an elderly lady was bowled over and injured when police were chasing a suspect through the streets. As they arrested him they fell over on top of her. She appealed against refusal of her claim in negligence.
Held: Her appeal . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 27 October 2021; Ref: scu.183671