Regina v Price (Herbert): CACD 1989

A woman went to consult the defendant, a doctor, as she thought she was pregnant and did not wish to have the child. It was common ground that she told the defendant she thought she was some three months pregnant, that she desired not to have the child and that there was talk of going to Harley Street if there was any question of terminating any pregnancy. Although she exhibited most of the classic symptoms of being pregnant the defendant apparently told her that he did not think she was. The defendant suggested that she should be fitted with a Gynekoil, an IUD, according to the defendant, because she was frightened of becoming pregnant, and according to the woman, to procure an abortion. Two days later, the coil was inserted. The following day the woman went to a police surgeon who concluded she was pregnant and would shortly miscarry which she did on the following day, the foetus being some ten weeks old. The defendant was convicted by the jury of using an instrument – the Gynekoil – with intent to procure a miscarriage, contrary to section 58 of the 1861 Act.
Held: The judge had misdirected the jury in failing to warn them of the dangers of convicting the defendant on the uncorroborated evidence of the woman – she being in law an accomplice. Sachs LJ: ‘The essential issue for the jury was, did the defendant at the time that he inserted the Gynekoil with the insertion tube know or believe that [she] was pregnant and accordingly introduce the instrument with intent to produce a miscarriage, or did he, as it was his case for the defence, think that she was not pregnant and introduce it for the purpose of allaying anxieties on her behalf as regards the future.’


Sachs LJ, Fenton Atkinson and Cusack JJ


[1969] 1 QB 541


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedRegina (Smeaton) v Secretary of State for Health and Others Admn 18-Apr-2002
The claimant challenged the Order as regards the prescription of the morning-after pill, asserting that the pill would cause miscarriages, and that therefore the use would be an offence under the 1861 Act.
Held: ‘SPUC’s case is that any . .
CitedRegina v Dhingra CC 1991
(Crown Court at Birmingham) A doctor who had fitted a patient, with an IUD was charged with an offence under section 58 of the 1861 Act. Having heard medical evidence from two consultant gynaecologists and legal argument the judge withdrew the case . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Crime, Health Professions

Updated: 06 May 2022; Ref: scu.223716