Practice and Procedure

ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S REFERENCE (NO.4 OF 2002) sub nom R v A (2003)

PUBLISHED March 26, 2003

The imposition of a legal burden upon an accused person by s.11(1) Terrorism Act 2000 did not infringe the presumption of innocence.Attorney-General's reference to the Court of Appeal under s.36 Criminal Justice Act 1972. A had been charged with two counts contrary to s.11(1) Terrorism Act 2000. The charges had consisted of being and professing to be a member of a proscribed organisation ('Hamas'). A had arrived in Britain in April 2001 and had been granted temporary admission and accommodation at a local hostel. While he was at the hostel he had expressed himself to be a supporter and member of Hamas. This along with other comments had eventually led to his arrest. On the 21st May 2002 the court had ruled there had been no case to answer and had entered a not guilty verdict. As a result of the proceedings the Attorney-General had referred the following questions to the Court of Appeal: (i) What constituted an offence under s.11(1); (ii) Did the defence in s.11(2) of the 2000 act impose a legal or a evidential burden of proof on the accused; and (iii) Is a legal burden compatible with Art.6(2) and Art.10European Convention on Human Rights.HELD: (1) Section 11(1) defined the offence's ingredients in full. (2) The defence in s.11(2) imposed a legal rather than an evidential burden on the accused. (3) Section 11(2) did not infringe the presumption of innocence and was therefore compatible with the Convention.Order accordingly.

[2003] EWCA Crim 762