Regina v Kane: 1965

The court considered whether a private club was a public place. The defendants were charged with making an affray in a public place. The events had taken place in a member’s club. The practice at the club was that people were signed in without being known either to the doorman or the owner. On the night in question, there was no doorman.
Held: Such a private club was a public place in the context of a charge of affray. It would be a private place if there was a real restriction of access to members and their guests and anybody else securing access would be trespassing.
Barry, J said: ‘The real question is whether [the place] is open to the public, whether on payment or not, or whether on the other hand access to it is so restricted to a particular class or even to particular classes of the public such as for example the members of an ordinary householder’s family and his relations and friends and the plumber or other tradesmen who come to do various repairs about the house. If it is restricted to that sort of class of person then of course it is not a public place, it is a private place.’
and . . ‘I feel bound to direct you as a matter of law that there is no substantial difference between the meaning of ‘a public place’ as defined by the statute and the meaning of ‘a public place’ at common law. In substance, there is no difference between the two. At common law, ‘a public place’ is a place to which the public can and do, have access. I direct you as a matter of law that it matters not whether they come to that place at the invitation of the occupier or whether they come to it merely with his permission; also that it matters not whether some payment, or indeed, the performance of some small formality such as the signing of a visitors’ book, is required before they are allowed access.’


Barry, J


[1965] 1 All ER 705, 129 JP 170


England and Wales

Cited by:

ApprovedRegina v Williams (John) QBD 7-Oct-1994
A Police Constable’s fleeting view of a Defendant could be sufficient identification, subject to checks in court. However a Turnbull warning as to the need for corroboration may not always be necessary. The ‘striking similarity’ or ‘signature’ test . .
CitedRegina v Ellis CACD 12-Jan-2010
The defendant appealed against his conviction for possession of an offensive weapon in a public place. He had a friction locking police-style baton, handcuffs and a false police ID in the rear of his car when stooped. After first lying he said they . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 12 July 2022; Ref: scu.471047