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Gammon v A-G for Hong Kong [1985, Privy Council]

Facts

  • The defendant substantially deviated from building plans in his Hong Kong development
  • The defendant believed that his deviation was minor, but the offence committed was one of strict liability

Issue

  • Could a mens rea requirement be read into the offence?

Decision

  • No

Reasoning

  • Gammon was sentenced to 3 years in prison
  • A mens rea will be presumed in all offences, unless the crime is regulatory, not a true crime, the penalty imposed is not serious and Parliament didn’t intend a mens rea requirement
  • ‘True crime’ is undefined
  • Opinion: 3 years is substantial
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