Regina v Kelly; Regina v Lindsay: CACD 21 May 1998

Kelly was an artist allowed to draw anatomical specimens at the hospital, and Lindsay was a technician. They removed body parts from the hospital, and now appealed their convictions for theft.
Held: There is an exception to the traditional common law rule that ‘there is no property in a corpse’, namely, that once a human body or body part has undergone a process of skill by a person authorised to perform it, with the object of preserving for the purpose of medical or scientific examination or for the benefit of medical science, it becomes something quite different from an interred corpse. It thereby acquires a usefulness or value. It is capable of becoming property in the usual way, and can be stolen.’ The processes undertaken by a teaching hospital in which they preserved body parts created for them a sufficient proprietorial interest in the body parts to found a claim of theft against a defendant for removing them without their consent.
Rose LJ, Ognall J, Sullivan J
Times 21-May-1998, [1998] EWCA Crim 1578, [1997] 1 WLR 596, [1998] 3 All ER 741, [1999] QB 621, (2000) 51 BMLR 142
Theft Act 1968 4 5
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedYearworth and others v North Bristol NHS Trust CA 4-Feb-2009
The defendant hospital had custody of sperm samples given by the claimants in the course of fertility treatment. The samples were effectively destroyed when the fridge malfunctioned. Each claimant was undergoing chemotherapy which would prevent them . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 17 June 2021; Ref: scu.87047