Regina v Gulbir Rana Singh: CACD 18 Dec 2003

The defendant appealed conviction on three counts of conspiracy to launder money. The prosecution said that he and his co-accused engaged in money laundering between June 1999 and March 2000. Each count alleged that he and his co-conspirators engaged in transactions which were prohibited by section 49(2)(b) of the Drug Trafficking Act 1994 and section 93C(2)(b) of the 1988 Act, ‘knowing or having reasonable grounds to suspect that certain property, namely banknotes, was, or in whole or in part directly or indirectly represented, another person’s proceeds of drugs trafficking and/or criminal conduct’. The appellant submitted that the words ‘knowing or having reasonable grounds to suspect’, whilst apt for an allegation of the principal offences, were not sufficient to describe what had to be proved for guilt of the statutory conspiracy. The prosecution said that an averment of intent as an alternative to knowledge was not necessary in a charge of conspiracy. The intent was inherent in the unlawful agreement alleged.
Held: The appeal failed: ‘If two or more people intend and agree to commit an act that they know to be unlawful, then knowledge or mistake as to a fact critical to the success of the conspiracy is immaterial to its proof; the intention is proxy for, or more correctly an alternative to, knowledge of such a fact. And, it follows, gradations of knowledge, such as ‘reasonable grounds to suspect’ it, are irrelevant.’ Words such as ‘knowing or having reasonable grounds to suspect’ included from the substantive offences was an immaterial averment. There was no point of substance in the appellant’s complaint that something short of knowledge was alleged in the indictment when, given the thrust of the prosecution case, knowledge of the precise provenance of the banknotes was not at the heart of the conspiracy but intention to launder illicitly obtained money was.


Lord Justice Auld Mr Justice Grigson Mr Justice Roderick Evans


[2003] EWCA Crim 3712




England and Wales


CitedRegina v Shivpuri HL 15-May-1986
The defendant had been accused of attempting to import controlled drugs, but the substances actually found were not in fact a controlled drug, though he had believed and intended them to be. He appealed saying that he should not be conviced of an . .

Cited by:

CitedSaik, 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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 08 June 2022; Ref: scu.189925