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R v Shivpuri

[1987] AC 1

Case summary last updated at 11/01/2020 14:31 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case R v Shivpuri

D was convicted of attempting to deal drugs when, believing that he was dealing heroin, he was in fact only dealing vegetable powder. HL said that the distinction between acts which were objectively innocent and those which were not was untenable and that where D believed he was committing a crime then he could be guilty of an attempted offence. Lord Bridge, rejecting his own distinction in Anderton v Ryan, said that ANY act which fails to be completed so as to lead to the completion of a crime is objectively innocent. E.g. If I try to kill you but fail, in the context of murder, my act is objectively innocent. Therefore if we are to say that objectively innocent acts confer no liability, then there would be no such thing as an attempted crime and S.1 would be meaningless. Lord Hailsham shows that the ordinary meaning of S.1 contradicts the reasoning in Anderton v Ryan: In this case, D intended to do something illegal and did something more than merely preparatory to this crime (not necessarily true: he did something that he believed was more than merely preparatory to the crime)

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