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R v Ghosh [1982] 3 WLR 110 Court of Appeal

The appellant was a surgeon who claimed money in respect of operations which he had not carried out. He argued his actions were not dishonest as the same sums were legitimately due to him for consultancy fees. The trial judge directed the jury:

"Now, finally dishonesty. There are, sad to say, infinite categories of dishonesty. It is for you. Jurors in the past and, whilst we have criminal law in the future, jurors in the future have to set the standards of honesty. Now it is your turn today, having heard what you have, to consider contemporary standards of honesty and dishonesty in the context of all that you have heard. I cannot really expand on this too much, but probably it is something rather like getting something for nothing, sharp practice, manipulating systems and many other matters which come to your mind. "


The jury convicted and he appealed.

Held:

His conviction was upheld. The test for determining dishonesty:

Lord Lane CJ

"In determining whether the prosecution has proved that the defendant was acting dishonestly, a jury must first of all decide whether according to the ordinary standards of reasonable and honest people what was done was dishonest. If it was not dishonest by those standards, that is the end of the matter and the prosecution fails.


If it was dishonest by those standards, then the jury must consider whether the defendant himself must have realised that what he was doing was by those standards dishonest."
 
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