Webster 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 succeeded. Article 6.2 does not provide an absolute prohibition against the application of a reverse burden of proof. What is required is a fair trial: ‘the imposition of the reverse burden was a necessary, reasonable and proportionate response to the circumstances in which it was introduced, that is, to counter a serious and growing problem involving the suspected corruption of public servants in a time of national emergency.’ Nevertheless, ‘ Parliament intended that section 3 Human Rights Act 1998 should be used in circumstances such as the present to render the legislation compliant with Article 6.2. Reading down section 2 would, in the defined circumstances, place a burden upon the defendant to raise in the evidence an issue whether a gift was corruptly made within the meaning of section 1 of the 1889 Act. The ultimate legal burden of proving to the criminal standard that the gift was corruptly made would rest upon the prosecution.’

Pitchford LJ
[2010] EWCA Crim 2819
Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889 1(2), Prevention of Corruption Act 1916 2, European Convention on Human Rights 6.2, Human Rights Act 1998 3
England and Wales
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 . .
CitedRegina 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 . .
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: . .
CitedPublic Prosecutor v Yuvaraj PC 1970
Diplock L said: ‘Corruption in the public service is a grave social event which is difficult to detect, for those who take part in it will be at pains to cover their tracks.’ and ‘In criminal proceedings, by an exception to the general rule founded . .
CitedStott (Procurator Fiscal, Dunfermline) and Another v Brown PC 5-Dec-2000
The system under which the registered keeper of a vehicle was obliged to identify herself as the driver, and such admission was to be used subsequently as evidence against her on a charge of driving with excess alcohol, was not a breach of her right . .
CitedAttorney General of Hong Kong v Lee Kwong-Kut PC 1993
(Hong Kong) In order to maintain the balance between the individual and the society as a whole, rigid and inflexible standards should not be imposed on the legislature’s attempts to resolve the difficult and intransigent problems with which society . .
CitedX v United Kingdom ECHR 1972
The defendant had been convicted of knowingly living on the earnings of prostitution contrary to section 30(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 1956.
Held: The Commission rejected as manifestly ill-founded the applicant’s challenge to this provision . .
CitedCondron v The United Kingdom ECHR 2-May-2000
A direction to a jury about an accused person’s silence during police questioning was inadequate to protect the right to a fair trial. The applicants had been advised by their solicitor to remain silent during interview because they were withdrawing . .
CitedBeckles v The United Kingdom ECHR 8-Oct-2002
The applicant had been convicted of serious offences, in part in reliance upon inferences drawn from his partial silence during interview. At trial, he said this had been on legal advice, and was ready to answer questions about that advice, but none . .
CitedGhaidan v Godin-Mendoza HL 21-Jun-2004
Same Sex Partner Entitled to tenancy Succession
The protected tenant had died. His same-sex partner sought a statutory inheritance of the tenancy.
Held: His appeal succeeded. The Fitzpatrick case referred to the position before the 1998 Act: ‘Discriminatory law undermines the rule of law . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Crime, Human Rights

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.426774