Regina v Ghosh: CACD 5 Apr 1982

The defendant surgeon was said to have made false claims for payment for operations, and was charged under the 1968 Act. He claimed to have been entitled to the sums claimed, and denied that he had been dishonest. The court considered the meaning of dishonesty.
Held: His appeal failed. Dishonesty is a state of the mind rather than a course of conduct. The views of the jury as to whether an Act was dishonest could not make an Act dishonest if it was not dishonest in the defendant’s mind. The test was not purely objective, but to accept an unvarnished subjective test would be to abandon all standards but those of the accused himself. Accordingly, a jury must first of all decide whether according to the ordinary standards of reasonable and honest people what was done was dishonest. If it was dishonest by those standards, then the jury must consider whether the defendant himself must have realised that what he was doing was by those standards dishonest.
Lord Lane CJ said: ‘In determining whether the Prosecution has proved that the defendant was acting dishonestly, a jury must first of all decide whether according to the ordinary standards of reasonable and honest people what was done was dishonest. If it was not dishonest by those standards, that is the end of the matter and the prosecution fails. If it was dishonest by those standards, then the jury must consider whether the defendant himself must have realised that what he was doing was by those standards dishonest. In most cases, where the actions are obviously dishonest by ordinary standards, there will be no doubt about it. It will be obvious that the defendant himself knew that he was acting dishonestly. It is dishonest for a defendant to act in a way which he knows ordinary people consider to be dishonest, even if he asserts or genuinely believes that he is morally justified in acting as he did.’

Lord Lane CJ, Lloyd, Eastham JJ
[1982] 1 QB 1053, (1982) 75 Cr App R 154, [1982] 2 All ER 689, [1982] EWCA Crim 2, [1982] 3 WLR 110
Theft Act 1968 1
England and Wales
ConsideredRegina v Greenstein; Regina v Green CACD 1975
Meaning of dishonesty under the 1968 Act. . .
Dicta disapprovedRegina v McIvor CA 1982
The defendant had been refused a loan by his employers. He took the money anyway from the till and repaid it. On discovery he was charged with theft. He denied that he had been dishonest. He had always intended to repay it and had done so. He . .
CitedRegina v Feely CACD 1973
In relation to a charge of theft where the issue of dishonesty is raised, the issue must be left to the jury. Dishonesty is not a matter of law, but a jury question of fact and standards. Except to the limited extent that section 2 of the Theft Act . .
ConsideredRegina v Landy; Regina v White etc CACD 1982
The defendants appealed against convictions for conspiracy to defraud. The three were bank employees including the chairman, and between them managed to take money from the bank by different forms of malpractice. The defendants denied dishonesty, . .

Cited by:
CitedRegina v Roberts (William) CACD 1987
A Ghosh direction can be misleading for a jury. . .
CitedRegina v Price CACD 1990
In most cases where dishonesty is alleged, a Ghosh direction is not only unnecessary but also misleading. . .
CitedAtkinson v Regina CACD 7-Nov-2003
The appellant had been convicted of false accounting in the making of false claims for payment for prescriptions, submitting forms which said that the patient was over 60 when she knew they were not. She said she filled the forms in mechanically. . .
CitedTwinsectra Ltd v Yardley and Others HL 21-Mar-2002
Solicitors acted in a loan, giving an undertaking as to its application. In breach of that undertaking they released it to the borrower. The appellants appealed a finding of liability as contributors to the breach.
Held: ‘Money in a . .
CitedHarrison v Teton Valley Trading Co; Harrison’s Trade Mark Application (CHINAWHITE) CA 27-Jul-2004
The applicant had been an employee of the objector at their nightclub ‘Chinawhite’ and whose principal attraction was a cocktail of the same name. Employees signed a confidentiality agreement as to the recipe. Having left the employment, the . .
CitedWheatley and Another v The Commissioner of Police of the British Virgin Islands PC 4-May-2006
(The British Virgin Islands) The defendants appealed against convictions for theft and misconduct. Being civil servants they had entered in to contract with companies in which they had interests. . .
CitedDepartment for Work and Pensions v Courts Admn 3-May-2006
The appellant challenged stays of proceedings by the respondent magistrates court for abuse of process infringing the defendants’ human right to a fair trial. The magistrates had fund that being faced with dismissal of a summary case through delay, . .
CitedRegina v Awoyomi CACD 14-Jan-1997
The defendant appealed against her conviction and sentence. The court had refused to admit medical evidence that she might be unfit to continue her trial.
Held: It would be rare to admit evidence which might support a Ghosh direction. The . .
CitedHashman and Harrup v The United Kingdom ECHR 25-Nov-1999
The defendants had been required to enter into a recognisance to be of good behaviour after disrupting a hunt by blowing of a hunting horn. They were found to have unlawfully caused danger to the dogs. Though there had been no breach of the peace, . .
CitedJohn Lewis Plc v T L Coyne EAT 7-Dec-2000
An employee had been dismissed for making private telephone calls at work, against company policy. The dismissal had been based upon the general assessment that making such calls was dishonest.
Held: The employer’s appeal failed. The procedure . .
CitedRegina v George and Others CACD 28-May-2010
The defendants were senior executives of BA. They made interlocutory appeals while undergoing trials for alleged price fixing under section 188 of the 2002 Act. The judge had ruled that the prosecutor need prove dishonesty only as against the . .
CitedRegina v Clarke CACD 2-Apr-1996
Several people had lost large sums of mony by a fraud. The defendant had approached them offering his services as a private investigator to seek to recover their money. He pleaded guilty to one allegation of deception after an indication from the . .
CitedRegina v O’Connell CACD 1992
The appellant and his wife appliied for loans to buy residential properties to be let to obtain a rental income covering most of the mortgage payments. The properties were later sold to take advantages of increases in value. A sum of andpound;1.5 . .
CitedGandhi Tandoori Restaurant v Customs and Excise Commissioners VDT 1989
The court considered the use of R v Ghosh when considering whether dishonesty had been established under section 13 of the 1983 Act, saying: ‘It is to be observed that in section 13(1) the first requirement for liability to a penalty is that the . .
CitedZen Internet Ltd v Customs and Excise VDT 5-Apr-2004
VDT VALUE ADDED TAX – dishonest evasion – VATA s 60 – appellant paying six successive centrally-issued assessments for less than the true liability – inadequate attempts to put accounting records in order – . .
CitedIvey v Genting Casinos UK Ltd (T/A Crockfords Club) QBD 8-Oct-2014
The claimant, a professional gambler, sued the defendant casino for his winnings. The club replied that the claimant’s methods amounted to a form of cheating, and that no liability arose to pay the winnings.
Held: The claim failed. ‘The fact . .
CitedIvey v Genting Casinos UK Ltd (T/A Crockfords Club) CA 4-Nov-2016
The claimant sought recovery of his substantial winnings from the defendant gaming club. The club had resisted saying that the methods used by the claimant at cards, called, ‘edge sorting’ was a form of cheating, a criminal offence within the . .
OverruledIvey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd (T/A Crockfords) SC 25-Oct-2017
The claimant gambler sought payment of his winnings. The casino said that he had operated a system called edge-sorting to achieve the winnings, and that this was a form of cheating so as to excuse their payment. The system exploited tiny variances . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.187645