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R v Lambert [2001]

Facts

  • The defendant was in possession of drugs contract to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

Issue

  • Was the judge correct to direct the jury that there was an implied legal burden on the defendant to prove his lack of reasonable belief of possession?

Decision

  • Yes, but not in future

Reasoning

  • If the trial took place after the implementation date of the Human Rights Act 1998, a legal burden would run contrary to the right to a fair trial (Article 6(2) ECHR), therefore in future, only an evidential burden may be imposed on the defendant
  • No such protection exists in this case as the trial took place prior to that implementation date
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