Regina v Lambert: HL 5 Jul 2001

Restraint on Interference with Burden of Proof

The defendant had been convicted for possessing drugs found on him in a bag when he was arrested. He denied knowing of them. He was convicted having failed to prove, on a balance of probabilities, that he had not known of the drugs. The case was heard before the 1998 Act came into effect. The issue was whether on his appeal after the Act, the Act could be applied.
Held: (Lord Steyn dissenting) ‘a legislative interference with the presumption of innocence requires justification and must not be greater than is necessary.’ There is an objective justification for some interference with the burden of proof in prosecutions under section 5. A reverse legal burden was disproportionate to address the legislative goal of easing the task of the prosecution in cases under section 5(3). The burden on the defendant should be interpreted as an evidential burden only.
The general presumption was that an Act was not retrospective in effect, and there was nothing to say Parliament so intended for the 1998 Act. Although the burden imposed by the 1971 Act might be contrary to the Human Rights Act, since the 1998 Act was not to be applied to statutes retrospectively, this appeal failed.
Lord Hope of Craighead said: ‘I would therefore answer the question whether an accused whose trial took place before the coming into force of the 1998 Act is entitled to rely in an appeal after the coming into force of that Act on an alleged breach of his Convention rights by the trial court in the negative’;
Lord Clyde said: ‘In my view the intention is that section 22 (4) should not extend to the other kind of ‘legal proceedings’ mentioned in section 7(6), namely an appeal. I am not persuaded that section 22(4) can avail the appellant’;
Lord Hutton said: ‘Section 7(6) provides: ‘In subsection (1)(b) ‘legal proceedings’ includes-(a) proceedings brought by or at the instigation of a public authority; and (b) an appeal against the decision of a court or tribunal’. The subsection therefore distinguishes between ‘proceedings brought by or at the instigation of a public authority’ and ‘an appeal against the decision of a court or tribunal’. Accordingly when section 22(4) refers, in identical words to the words of section 7(6)(a), to ‘proceedings brought by or at the instigation of a public authority’, the retrospective operation permitted by that subsection does not apply to an appeal against the decision of the Crown Court in this case’

Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Steyn, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Clyde, Lord Hutton
Times 06-Jul-2001, Gazette 31-Aug-2001, [2001] 3 WLR 206, [2001] UKHL 37, [2002] 2 AC 545, [2002] 1 All ER 2, [2001] HRLR 55, [2001] 2 Cr App R 28, [2001] UKHRR 1074, [2001] 3 All ER 577
Bailii, House of Lords
Human Rights Act 1998, Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 5 28(2) 28(3)(b)(i)
England and Wales
Appeal fromRegina v Lambert; Regina v Ali; Regina v Jordan CACD 14-Sep-2000
Each defendant was charged under a statute which provided a defence if they could prove a certain element. They complained that this was a breach of their human rights. The complaint was rejected. It would be wrong to impose a burden of proof on a . .
CitedRegina v Director of Public Prosecutions, ex parte Kebilene and others HL 28-Oct-1999
(Orse Kebeline) The DPP’s appeal succeeded. A decision by the DPP to authorise a prosecution could not be judicially reviewed unless dishonesty, bad faith, or some other exceptional circumstance could be shown. A suggestion that the offence for . .
CitedWilson v First County Trust Ltd (1) CA 3-Nov-2000
The administrative charges for entering into a loan were not to be included in the loan, but rather as an item entering into the total charge for credit. To hold otherwise went against accounting practice, would disguise the cost of the loan, and . .
CitedSalabiaku v France ECHR 7-Oct-1988
A Zairese national living in Paris, went to the airport to collect, as he said, a parcel of foodstuffs sent from Africa. He could not find this, but was shown a locked trunk, which he was advised to leave alone. He however took possession of it, . .
CitedSalmon and Moore v Her Majesty’s Advocate HCJ 13-Nov-1998
The court considered the burden of proof placed on the prosecution under s28 of the 1971 Act.
Held: ‘Subsections (2) and (3) of Section 28 are both designed to come into play at a stage when the Crown have proved all that they need to prove in . .
CitedRegina v McNamara CACD 1988
In order to establish possession of a controlled drug the Crown merely had to prove that the appellant had the bag in his possession and that the bag in fact contained a controlled drug, in this case cocaine. Thereafter the burden was cast upon the . .
CitedWallbank and Wallbank v Parochial Church Council of Aston Cantlow and Wilmcote With Billesley, Warwickshire CA 17-May-2001
The defendant owned land subject to an inclosure award of 1743, in exchange for other land which had made the owner a lay rector. The land was subject to the burden of a duty to maintain the chancel of the parish church. The defendants had been . .
CitedWoolmington v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 23-May-1935
Golden Thread of British Justice – Proof of Intent
The appellant had been convicted of the murder of his wife. She had left him and returned to live with her mother. He went to the house. He said he intended to frighten her that he would kill himself if she did not return. He wired a shotgun to . .
CitedRegina v Edwards 1975
On a charge of selling intoxicating liquor without a justices’ licence, it is not for the prosecutor to prove that the defendant had no licence but for the defendant to prove that he had. The burden of establishing a statutory exemption by way of a . .
CitedRegina v Hunt (Richard) HL 1987
The court objected to the insistence on leaving the burden throughout a prosecution on the defendant on the ground that ‘the discharge of an evidential burden proves nothing – it merely raises an issue’. The House emphasised the special nature of . .
CitedState v Coetzee 1997
(South African Constitutional Court) The court explained the significance of the presumption of innocence: ‘There is a paradox at the heart of all criminal procedure in that the more serious the crime and the greater the public interest in securing . .
CitedRegina v Whyte 1988
(Canadian Supreme Court) The court rejected an argument that as a matter of principle a constitutional presumption of innocence only applies to elements of the offence and not excuses: ‘The real concern is not whether the accused must disprove an . .
CitedRegina v Duncan CACD 1981
Where a defendant has not given evidence the whole of a ‘mixed’ statement, one which includes matter which is incriminating and also matter which is exculpatory, should be admitted in evidence, if it is to be admitted at all. Nevertheless, the court . .
CitedRegina v Sharp (Colin) HL 1988
The defendant had been seen fleeing the area of a crime. Some days later he volunteered a statement admitting his presence in the area, but providing an innocent explanation. He did not give evidence at trial. His statement was put in by the . .
CitedRegina v Aziz; Regina v Tosun; Regina v Yorganci HL 16-Jun-1995
The defendant (one of three) relied upon his part exculpatory statement made in interview and did not give evidence. The judge said that his good character was relevant as to his own propensity, and the character of the others was relevant to their . .
CitedWarner v Metropolitan Police Commissioner HL 1968
The appellant had been convicted of an offence contrary to section 1 of the 1964 Act, of having been found in possession of drugs.
Held: (Reid dissenting) The prosecution had only to prove that the accused knew of the existence of the thing . .
CitedB (A Minor) v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 23-Feb-2000
Prosecution to prove absence of genuine belief
To convict a defendant under the 1960 Act, the prosecution had the burden of proving the absence of a genuine belief in the defendant’s mind that the victim was 14 or over. The Act itself said nothing about any mental element, so the assumption must . .
CitedSweet v Parsley HL 23-Jan-1969
Mens Rea essential element of statutory Offence
The appellant had been convicted under the Act 1965 of having been concerned in the management of premises used for smoking cannabis. This was a farmhouse which she visited infrequently. The prosecutor had conceded that she was unaware that the . .

Cited by:
AppliedRegina v Kansal (2) HL 29-Nov-2001
The prosecutor had lead and relied at trial on evidence obtained by compulsory questioning under the 1986 Act.
Held: In doing so the prosecutor was acting to give effect to section 433.
The decision in Lambert to disallow retrospective . .
CitedThe Home Office v Wainwright and Wainwright CA 20-Dec-2001
The claimants were awarded damages, following the way they were searched on seeking to enter prison on a visit. The Home Office appealed. They were asked to sign a consent form, but only after the search was nearly complete. They were told the . .
CitedRegina v Clive Louden Carass CACD 19-Dec-2001
When a defendant was accused of an offence under the section, and wished to raise a defence under sub-section 4, the duty of proof placed on him by the sub-section amounted to a duty to bring sufficient evidence to raise the defence, and the section . .
CitedRegina v Johnstone, etc CACD 1-Feb-2002
The several defendants appealed convictions for breaches of section 92 of the Act.
Held: The section presumed that a civil infringement of the Trade Mark had taken place. Accordingly any of the defences available to a civil action must be . .
AppliedRegina v Daniel CACD 22-Mar-2002
The defendant appealed a conviction for hiding assets from her receiver following her bankruptcy. He said that recent case law suggested that the burden of establishing the defence under section 352 was evidential only.
Held: The conviction . .
CitedRegina v Lyons, Parnes, Ronson, Saunders HL 15-Nov-2002
The defendants had been convicted on evidence obtained from them by inspectors with statutory powers to require answers on pain of conviction. Subsequently the law changed to find such activity an infringement of a defendant’s human rights.
CitedBarnfather v London Borough of Islington Education Authority, Secretary of State for Education and Skills QBD 7-Mar-2003
The appellant was convicted of the crime of being a parent whose child had failed to attend school regularly. She challenged saying that the offence required no guilty act on her part, but was one of strict liability, and contrary to her human . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference No 4 of 2002 CACD 21-Mar-2003
The defendant had been tried for an offence under the Act of being a member of a proscribed organisation, and professing membership of Hamas. At trial the crown accepted an evidential burden, that the offence had to be read down to comply with the . .
Appealed toRegina v Lambert; Regina v Ali; Regina v Jordan CACD 14-Sep-2000
Each defendant was charged under a statute which provided a defence if they could prove a certain element. They complained that this was a breach of their human rights. The complaint was rejected. It would be wrong to impose a burden of proof on a . .
AppliedRegina v Matthews CACD 25-Mar-2003
The defendant appealed his conviction for carrying a bladed article in public, on the basis that the Act transferred to him the onus of establishing the statutory defence.
Held: There were four steps to be applied in assessing the case. Was . .
CitedRegina v Johnstone HL 22-May-2003
The defendant was convicted under the 1994 Act of producing counterfeit CDs. He argued that the affixing of the name of the artist to the CD was not a trade mark use, and that the prosecution had first to establish a civil offence before his act . .
CitedParochial Church Council of the Parish of Aston Cantlow and Wilmcote with Billesley, Warwickshire v Wallbank and another HL 26-Jun-2003
Parish Councils are Hybrid Public Authorities
The owners of glebe land were called upon as lay rectors to contribute to the cost of repairs to the local church. They argued that the claim was unlawful by section 6 of the 1998 Act as an act by a public authority incompatible with a Convention . .
CitedHooper and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions CA 18-Jun-2003
The appellants were widowers whose wives had died at a time when the benefits a widow would have received were denied to widowers. The legislation had since changed but they variously sought compensation for the unpaid sums.
Held: The appeal . .
CitedNorwood v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 3-Jul-2003
The appellant a BNP member had displayed a large poster in his bedroom window saying ‘Islam out of Britain’. He was convicted of an aggravated attempt to cause alarm or distress. The offence was established on proof of several matters, unless the . .
CitedWilson v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry; Wilson v First County Trust Ltd (No 2) HL 10-Jul-2003
The respondent appealed against a finding that the provision which made a loan agreement completely invalid for lack of compliance with the 1974 Act was itself invalid under the Human Rights Act since it deprived the respondent of its property . .
CitedLynch v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 8-Nov-2001
The defendant challenged a conviction for having a locked bladed article in his possession in a public place, on the basis that it placed on him a burden of proof contrary to the convention.
Held: Salabiaku permits a reverse onus but requires . .
CitedIn re McKerr (Northern Ireland) HL 11-Mar-2004
The deceased had been shot by soldiers of the British Army whilst in a car in Northern Ireland. The car was alleged to have ‘run’ a checkpoint. The claimants said the investigation, now 20 years ago, had been inadequate. The claim was brought under . .
CitedSmith (Wallace Duncan), Regina v (No 4) CACD 17-Mar-2004
The defendant appealed convictions for fraudulent trading and obtaining property by deception, saying that the English court could not prosecute an offence committed principally in the US.
Held: Provided some substantial element (here the . .
CitedSheldrake v Director of Public Prosecutions; Attorney General’s Reference No 4 of 2002 HL 14-Oct-2004
Appeals were brought complaining as to the apparent reversal of the burden of proof in road traffic cases and in cases under the Terrorism Acts. Was a legal or an evidential burden placed on a defendant?
Held: Lord Bingham of Cornhill said: . .
CitedDowsett v Criminal Cases Review Commission Admn 8-Jun-2007
The claimant had been convicted in 1993 of involvement in a murder. He had complained that the police had failed to disclose material which would have been of assistance to him. He had requested the Commission to take examine and pursue his appeal. . .
CitedIn re F (A Child) (Placement Order); C v East Sussex County Council (Adoption) CA 1-May-2008
The father sought to revoke a freeing order. He said that the social workers had conspired to exclude him from the process. The child was born of a casual relationship, and at first he was unaware of the proceedings. On learning of them he sought to . .
CitedJuncal, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and others CA 25-Jul-2008
The claimant appealed dismissal of his claim for wrongful imprisonment having been detained in 1997 on being found unfit to plead to an offence of violence.
Held: Parliament had a legitimate concern for the protection of the public, and . .
CitedChargot Limited (T/A Contract Services) and Others, Regina v HL 10-Dec-2008
The victim died on a farm when his dumper truck overturned burying him in its load.
Held: The prosecutor needed to establish a prima facie case that the results required by the Act had not been achieved. He need only establish that a risk of . .
CitedDirector of Public Prosecutions v Wright; Regina (Scott) v Taunton Deane Magistrates Court Admn 4-Feb-2009
The court heard appeals from rulings under the 2004 Act.
Held: In section 1, the hunting of a wild mammal did not include the search for an animal with a view to flushing it from cover. As to the exemptions, the operation of the 1980 Act and . .
CitedPearce v Mayfield School CA 31-Jul-2001
The claimant teacher was a lesbian. She complained that her school in failed to protect her against abuse from pupils for her lesbianism. She appealed against a decision that the acts of the pupils did not amount to discrimination, and that the . .
CitedWebster v Regina CACD 1-Dec-2010
The defendant appealed against his conviction under the 1889 Act for making a corrupt gift to a local government officer. He said that the 1916 Act placed an unfair burden on him to prove that the gift was not corruptly given.
Held: The appeal . .
CitedMcCaughey and Another, Re Application forJudicial Review SC 18-May-2011
The claimants sought a fuller inquest into deaths at the hands of the British Army in 1990 in Northern Ireland. On opening the inquest, the coroner had declined to undertake to hold a hearing compliant with article 2, and it had not made progress. . .
CitedRegina v Kansal (2) HL 29-Nov-2001
The prosecutor had lead and relied at trial on evidence obtained by compulsory questioning under the 1986 Act.
Held: In doing so the prosecutor was acting to give effect to section 433.
The decision in Lambert to disallow retrospective . .
CitedShepherd v The Information Commissioner CACD 18-Jan-2019
The defendant had been part of an organisation subject to an investigation of child sex abuse. He was cleared of involvement, but had disseminated the confidential reports containing sensitive personal data to support his contention that the process . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Criminal Evidence

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.88525