Regina v Shorrock: CACD 1993

The defendants used land for an unauthorised ‘acid party’ which caused substantial inconvenience and disruption to neighbours. The defendant denied that he had had the requisite knowledge to be criminally liable.
Held: This was capable of amounting to the crime of public nuisance. An act of public nuisance can give rise to both civil (through a relator action) and criminal liability. The court considered what was the necessary mens rea for the offence of public nuisance, and applied Sedleigh-Denfield, saying (Rattee LJ) that he was guilty ‘if either he knew or he ought to have known, in the sense that the means of knowledge were available to him, that there was a real risk that the consequences of the licence granted by him in respect of his field would be to create the sort of nuisance that in fact occurred’.


Rattee LJ, Simon Brown LJ and Popplewell J


[1993] 98 Cr App R 67, [1994] QB 279


England and Wales


AppliedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .

Cited by:

CitedGoldstein, Rimmington v Regina CACD 28-Nov-2003
Two defendants appealed in respect of alleged offences under common law of causing a public nuisance. One had sent race hatred material, and the other bomb hoaxes, through the post. Both claimed that the offence was so ill defined as to be an . .
CitedRegina v Rimmington; Regina v Goldstein HL 21-Jul-2005
Common Law – Public Nuisance – Extent
The House considered the elements of the common law offence of public nuisance. One defendant faced accusations of having sent racially offensive materials to individuals. The second was accused of sending an envelope including salt to a friend as a . .
CitedRose vDirector of Public Prosecutions Admn 16-Mar-2006
The defendant appealed his conviction for outraging public decency by behaving in an indecent manner contrary to common law. He had been in the foyer of a bank at night with a girl who performed oral sex. The action could have been seen, but was . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Crime

Updated: 27 August 2022; Ref: scu.188880