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R v Vincent [2001] EWCA Crim 295  Court of Appeal

The appellant stayed in two hotels. He left both claiming to be suffering from financial difficulties and made arrangements to pay at a later date. He was later charged with making off without payment when no payment materialised. The trial judge directed the jury that they should convict if they thought the agreement to postpone payment was made dishonestly. The jury convicted. The appellant appealed arguing that payment on the spot was not required or expected and that he had made a genuine agreement to postpone payment and was therefore not dishonest.

Held:

His conviction was quashed. Since the appellant had entered an agreement to postpone payment, payment was not required or expected on the spot and therefore the actus reus of the offence was absent.

LJ Pill:

"In circumstances such as these, the section does not in our view require or permit an analysis of whether the agreement actually made was obtained by deception. The wording and purpose of the section do not contemplate what could be a complex investigation of alleged fraud underlying the agreement. If the expectation is defeated by an agreement, it cannot be said to exist. The fact that the agreement was obtained dishonestly does not reinstate the expectation. While the customer would be liable to be charged with obtaining services by deception, if he continued to stay at the hotel with that dishonest intention, he would not infringe section 3."
 
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