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Cundy v Le Cocq (1884) 13 QBD 207 Divisional Court

The appellant was convicted of unlawfully selling alcohol to an intoxicated person under s.13 Licensing Act 1872. The appellant appealed on the grounds that he unaware of the customer's drunkenness.

Held:

Appeal dismissed and conviction was upheld.

S.13 was silent as to mens rea, whereas other offences under the same Act expressly required proof of knowledge on the part of the defendant. It was therefore taken that the omission to refer to mens rea was deliberate and the offence was one of strict liability.

Stephen J:
"Here, as I have already pointed out, the object of this part of the Act is to prevent the sale of intoxicating liquor to drunken persons, and it is perfectly natural to carry that out by throwing on the publican the responsibility of determining whether the person supplied comes within that category."
 
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