Possession does not depend upon the alleged possessor’s powers of memory. Nor does possession come and go as memory revives or fails. ‘In the judgment of this court [that the argument that lack of memory or knowledge negatives possession is fallacious], it is true that a man does not necessarily possess every article which he may have in his pocket. If for example some evil-minded person secretly slips a portion of cannabis resin into the pocket of another without the other’s knowledge, the other is not in law in possession of the cannabis. That scarcely needs stating. But the present situation is different. Here the applicant himself put the cannabis into his wallet knowing what it was and put the wallet into his pocket. In our judgment, subject to the authorities to which reference will have to be made in a moment, he remained in possession even though his memory of the presence of the drug had failed or disappeared altogether. Possession does not depend upon the alleged possessor’s powers of memory. Nor does possession come and go as memory revives or fails. If it were to do so, a man with a poor memory would be acquitted. He with the good memory would be convicted.’
Lord Lane CJ
 84 Cr App R 31
England and Wales
Not Cited – Buswell, Regina v CACD 1972
The defendant was accused of possession of drugs. The drugs in question had been medically prescribed by the defendant’s doctor. After he had taken them home he genuinely thought that they had been accidentally destroyed by his mother when washing . .
Cited – Jolie v Regina CACD 23-May-2003
The appellant had been convicted of having a pointed article with him in a public place. He said that the car he was driving had needed an instrument to operate the lock. At first he had used a knife, but then used scissors, losing the knife in the . .
Cited – McCalla, Regina v CACD 1988
A cosh had been found in the glove compartment of the appellant’s car. He said he had picked it up a month earlier, had put it away and had forgotten about it.
Held: The court reviewed the authorities on what constituted possession. Once . .
Cited – Bayliss, Regina (on the Application of) v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 6-Feb-2003
The defendant was arrested in Tescos. On being searched he was found to have a lock knife. He had placed it in his belt and forgotten about it. He appealed conviction saying it had not been shown that he knew he still had the knife.
Held: . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 06 May 2022; Ref: scu.182749