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[2000] 1 All ER 833

Case summary last updated at 15/01/2020 07:59 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case B v DPP

A 14 year old boy asked a 13 year old girl (who he believed to be 14) to perform oral sex on him. He was charged with inciting a child under 14 to commit an act of gross indecency. He was convicted, his appeal rejected, but his final appeal allowed by the HL. There is the presumption of mens rea, so is there any compellingly clear implication by parliament that this should be otherwise with regard to this offence? Lord Steyn says that given the great stigma of being convicted of this offence he is convinced that the presumption still applies (what kind of logic is that? Just because punishment is great does not mean that no strict liability can exist!). Lord Hutton clearly spells out that the act is silent on the question of mens rea, while there is a presumption in such cases that mens rea applies. Therefore the appeal should be dismissed. 

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