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R v Allen [1985] AC 1029 House of Lords

Allen stayed at a hotel for nearly a month and left without paying his bill. He telephoned the hotel and said he was experiencing financial difficulties as he was awaiting payment from certain business transactions. He arranged to pick up his belongings and to leave his passport to secure the debt. When he went to pick up his things the police were waiting for him and arrested him. During the deliberations the jury sent a note to the judge asking whether intent to avoid making payment included a temporary evasion. The judge answered the question:

"It says in count 2, 'knowing that payment on the spot for goods supplied and services done was required or expected from him . . .' 'On the spot' means the day
you leave. There was no payment on the spot when he should have paid. It contrasts sharply with count 1 where the intent there is permanent: that is not so in count 2 where he was required to pay on the spot; and there has been a failure to do that."


The jury convicted and the appellant appealed contending that an intention to temporarily avoid payment was not within the ambit of the Act.

Held:

The conviction was quashed. Making off without payment required an intention to permanently avoid payment.
 
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