Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED March 18, 2003

Where a defendant sought to have an indictment stayed for abuse of process on the ground of entrapment the judge's task was to distinguish between legitimate crime detection and illegitimate crime creation.Appeal against conviction with leave of the single judge. On 21 May 2002 at Leeds Crown Court, before HH Judge Kent-Jones TD, the defendant ('B') pleaded guilty to supplying heroin. She was sentenced on 22 November 2002 to 183 days imprisonment suspended for 12 months. In the summer of 2001 a police operation was set up to catch targeted drug dealers. B was not a targeted dealer but was approached by two undercover police officers and asked if she knew where they could "get sorted". B phoned a dealer and arranged for him to come and supply drugs. B took money from the officers and bought the drugs. A month later B was approached by one of the officers, who B recognised as one she had previously got drugs for. Again B arranged for drugs to be supplied. To give credibility to the operation the undercover officers gave the appearance of being drug addicts. B was arrested and in interview said she thought one of the officers had been suffering withdrawal symptoms and she arranged for drugs to be supplied because she didn't like to see anyone suffering the effects of withdrawal. Before the trial B made an application to have the indictment stayed for abuse of process on the ground of entrapment. B would not have been involved but for the requests made by the police officers. It had been the police officer's conduct that caused the offence. The judge ruled against her and held that B had only been asked for information, she had volunteered to contact a drug dealer and supply the drugs. There had been no pressure or inducement. B appealed conviction on the ground that the judge erred in holding that the question of whether B was pressurised or persuaded was determinative of the issue of entrapment. He had not taken into account the reason for the operation which was to target street dealers and B was not a street dealer. B's case was analogous to the example given in Attorney-General's Reference (No.3 of 2000) sub nom R v Loosely (2001) UKHL 53 of the policeman preying on human nature to create a crime.HELD: (1) The judge was right to refuse the application. By his reference to the passages in Attorney-General's Reference (supra) he was aware that causation was not the only factor but was an important factor in this case. There was a legitimate reason for the operation which could be compared with the example of a police officer merely creating an offence. The operation was closely supervised and what the police officers had done was justified because the operation was authorised. The fact that B thought of offending was hard luck. (2) The police officers did not tempt B to move outside her normal course of life, she was likely to do the same for anyone suffering withdrawal. The judge's task was to distinguish between legitimate crime detection and illegitimate crime creation. What the police had done fell into the former and the conviction was therefore safe.Appeal dismissed.