X 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 as incompatible with article 6(2). It created a rebuttable presumption which the defendant could disprove, and was not a presumption of guilt. A provision could, if widely or unreasonably worded, have the same effect as a presumption of guilt, and it was not sufficient to examine only the form in which it was drafted. The substance and effect must also be examined. In the present instance, the presumption was restrictively worded, and was neither irrebuttable nor unreasonable. To oblige the prosecution to obtain direct evidence of ‘living on immoral earnings’ would in most cases make its task impossible.
‘It is moreover the view of the Commission that Article 6.1 of the Convention cannot be so construed as to bar the Prosecution from formally discontinuing criminal proceedings or from simply dropping charges. This is in fact a daily practice in member states. It is in cases where the Prosecution has the intention of proceeding to a trial on an indictment that they are under an obligation to do so within a reasonable time. This is the very purpose of Article 6.1. . . . The Commission is of the opinion that, insofar as the present case is concerned, the undertaking made by the Prosecution on 29 March 1979 not to try the applicant on the three remaining charges on the F. indictment must be considered as being tantamount to saying that these charges have been effectively dropped. Consequently, the applicant thereby also ceased to be affected by the charges on the said indictment. Thus, as from that date, there are in fact no longer any charges against the applicant which require a determination within the meaning of Article 6.1 of the Convention.’

(1972) 42 CD 135, 5877/72
Sexual Offences Act 1956 30(1), European Convention on Human Rights 8(2)
Human Rights
Cited by:
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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: . .
CitedR, Regina (on the Application of) v Durham Constabulary and Another HL 17-Mar-2005
The appellant, a boy aged 15, had been warned as to admitted indecent assaults on girls. He complained that it had not been explained to him that the result would be that his name would be placed on the sex offenders register. The Chief Constable . .
CitedWood v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis Admn 22-May-2008
The claimant challenged the right of police officers to take his photograph as he attended an annual general meeting of Reed Elsevier Plc. He was a campaigner against the arms trade, but had always acted lawfully. The company noted the purchase of . .
CitedWebster 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 . .
CitedCatt and T, Regina (on The Applications of) v Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis SC 4-Mar-2015
Police Data Retention Justifiable
The appellants challenged the collection of data by the police, alleging that its retention interfered with their Article 8 rights. C complained of the retention of records of his lawful activities attending political demonstrations, and T . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Crime

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.218811