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Gammon (Hong Kong) Ltd v Attorney-General of Hong Kong [1985] AC 1

The appellant was a builder who had deviated from plans in the construction of a building. It was an offence to deviate from the plans in a substantial way. The appellant accepted he had deviated from the plans but he believed that the deviation was only minor rather than substantial.

Held:

The offence was one of strict liability and therefore his belief was irrelevant and his conviction upheld.

In determining whether an offence is one of strict liability there is a presumption that mens rea is required. This presumption may be rebutted where:

1. The crime is regulatory as oppose to a true crime; or
2. The crime is one of social concern; or
3. The wording of the Act indicates strict liability; or
4. The offence carries a heavy penalty.
 
Back to lecture outline on strict liability in Criminal Law