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R v Bowen [1997] 1 WLR 372 Court of Appeal

The appellant had on 40 occasions obtained electrical goods amounting to a value of £20,000 by deception. He had so acted because of threats to petrol bomb himself and his family. The appellant was abnormally suggestible and vulnerable. He had a low IQ of 68. The trial judge did not direct the jury as to whether the characteristics of the defendant could be taken into account. He was convicted and appealed.

Held:

The appeal was dismissed and conviction upheld. Characteristics of being abnormally suggestible and vulnerable were not compatible with a person of reasonable firmness and therefore were not characteristics that could be taken into account. Also a low IQ falls short of being a mental impairment and can not be taken into account.   Stuart Smith LJ identified the following characteristics that could be taken into account: Age, sex, pregnancy, serious physical disability, a recognised mental illness or psychiatric condition.
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