Regina v Montila and Others: HL 25 Nov 2004

The defendants faced charges under the two Acts. They raised as a preliminary issue whether it is necessary for the Crown to prove that the property being converted was in fact the proceeds, in the case of the 1994 Act, of drug trafficking and, in the case of the 1988 Act, of crime. The Crown appealed a ruling that it was necessary.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. The House examined the history and background of the legislative provisions, including the international treaties from which they were derived.
The fact that the words of the subsections differed, allowing a conviction based upon suspicion did not mean that the money itself need not be shown to be the proceeds of crime. The words in each required that interpretation. The old rules about the non-use of side notes in Acts in support of interpretation needed to be revisited after the changes in procedures in recent years, where a separate explanatory note was now used.
The subject matter of these sections is ‘proceeds’ and no distinction is made as to subject matter between the various offence-creating subsections within each section. There is no indication that the subject matter of the activities that are being criminalised need not actually be proceeds of drug trafficking or of criminal conduct. Any problem this created was not to be resolved by relieving the Crown of the burden of proving the criminal origin.
‘A person may have reasonable grounds to suspect that property is one thing (A) when in fact it is something different (B). But that is not so when the question is what a person knows. A person cannot know that something is A when in fact it is B. The proposition that a person knows that something is A is based on the premise that it is true that it is A. The fact that the property is A provides the starting point. Then there is the question whether the person knows that the property is A.’


Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Steyn, Lord Hope of Craighead, Baroness Hale of Richmond and Lord Carswell


[2004] 1 WLR 3141, [2004] UKHL 50, Times 26-Nov-2004, [2005] 1 Cr App R 26, [2005] 1 All ER 113, [2005] Crim LR 479


Bailii, House of Lords


Drug Trafficking Act 1994 49(2)(b), Criminal Justice Act 1988 93C(2)


England and Wales


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The court discussed why marginal notes are not to be used as an aid for stautory interpretation: ‘I am aware of the general rule of law as to marginal notes, at any rate in public general Acts of Parliament; but that rule is founded, as will be seen . .
CitedRegina v El-Kurd CACD 2001
The defendants had been charged with four conspiracies, each of which was indicted as a conspiracy to commit offences under the 1994 Act on the one hand and under the 1988 Act on the other. The crown accepted that for a conviction for the laundering . .
CitedPickstone v Freemans Plc HL 30-Jun-1988
The claimant sought equal pay with other, male, warehouse operatives who were doing work of equal value but for more money. The Court of Appeal had held that since other men were also employed on the same terms both as to pay and work, her claim . .
CitedChandler (TN) v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 12-Jul-1962
The defendants appealed from conviction for offences under the 1911 Act. They were supporters of an organisation seeking to prevent nuclear war, and entered an Air Force base attempting to obtain information they would later publish. They pursued a . .
CitedRex v Hare 1934
Avory J said: ‘Headings of sections and marginal notes form no part of a statute. They are not voted on or passed by Parliament, but are inserted after the Bill has become law. Headnotes cannot control the plain meaning of the words of the . .
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Cited by:

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Extension oh Human Rights Beyond Borders
The appellants complained that the system set up by the respondent where Home Office officers were placed in Prague airport to pre-vet applicants for asylum from Romania were dsicriminatory in that substantially more gypsies were refused entry than . .
CitedRegina v Parole Board ex parte Smith, Regina v Parole Board ex parte West (Conjoined Appeals) HL 27-Jan-2005
Each defendant challenged the way he had been treated on revocation of his parole licence, saying he should have been given the opportunity to make oral representations.
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Lord Bingham stated: . .
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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 . .
AppliedAli, Hussain, Khan, Bhatti, Regina v CACD 7-Jun-2005
The defendants appealed against their convictions for conspiracy to launder money under section 49(2) of the 1994 Act. The appellants said that the effect of the decision in Montila, alongside sections 1(1) and 1(2) of the 1997 Act, was that a . .
CitedSuchedina v Regina; similar CACD 27-Oct-2006
Four defendants appealed convictions in money laundering cases. The first defendant operated a money exchange through which substantial volumes of cash were moved, but claimed that he believed the money to have been honestly acquired.
Held: . .
CitedAssets Recovery Agency v Olupitan and Another QBD 8-Feb-2007
The claimant was responsible for recovering money under the 2002 Act, and alleged that the first defendant had been engaged in a mortgage fraud.
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CitedBrown and Others v InnovatorOne Plc and Others ComC 19-Jun-2009
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CitedPeacock, Re SC 22-Feb-2012
The defendant had been convicted of drugs offences, and sentenced under the 1994 Act. The gains he had made exceeded his then assets. Later he acquired further property honestly, and the Court now considered whether those assets could be taken to . .
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The claimant company said that the 2010 Act was outside the competence of the Scottish Parliament insofar as it severely restricted the capacity of those selling cigarettes to display them for sale. They suggested two faults. First, that the subject . .
CitedGH, Regina v SC 22-Apr-2015
Appeal against conviction for entering into an arrangement for the retention of criminal funds. The defendant said that at the time of the arrangement there were not yet any criminal funds in existence. A had set up websites intending to con . .
CitedNuclear Decommissioning Authority v Energysolutions EU Ltd (Now Called ATK Energy EU Ltd) SC 11-Apr-2017
This is an appeal on preliminary points of European Union and domestic law regarding the circumstances in which damages may be recoverable for failure to comply with the requirements of the Public Procurement Directive (Parliament and Council . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 26 July 2022; Ref: scu.219872