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Freeman v Home Office

[1984] 1 All ER 1036

Case summary last updated at 18/01/2020 17:42 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Freeman v Home Office

P claimed that the had been given drugs in police custody and that, as a prisoner, he was not capable of consenting to them. CA held that it is true that where, in a prison setting, a doctor had the power to influence a prisoner's situation and prospects the court must be alive to the risk that what might appear, on the face of it, to be a real consent was not so. However in this case there was consent. 

Sir John Donaldson MR: “Consent would not be real if procured by fraud or misrepresentation but, subject to this and subject to the patient having been informed in broad terms of the nature of the treatment, consent in fact amounts to consent in law.” Real consent is a total defence, even if D was in breach of duty of care. It is not the case that prisoners are presuured so much that they are incapable of giving real consent, since, if this were the case, they could never give consent to anything e.g. medical treatment. 

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