Practice and Procedure

R v JTB (on appeal from R v T) [2009] UKHL 20; [2009] WLR(D) 140

PUBLISHED April 30, 2009

Crime ? Children, offences by ? Children between ages of 10 and 14 ? Presumption of doli incapax abolished ? Whether concept of doli incapax surviving abolition of presumption ? Whether child aged 12 entitled to raise defence that he lacked capacity to know that acts charged were wrong ? Crime and Disorder Act 1998, s 34

R v JTB (on appeal from R v T) [2009] UKHL 20; [2009] WLR(D) 140

HL(E): Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Carswell, Lord Brown of Eaton-under Heywood and Lord Mance: 29 April 2009

S 34 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 abolished the defence as well as the presumption of doli incapax.

The House of Lords so held in dismissing an appeal by the defendant, JTB, from the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) (Latham LJ, V-P, Forbes J and Sir Richard Curtis) (sub nom R v T) [2008] 3 WLR 923, which had dismissed his appeal against conviction at Worcester Crown Court (Judge McCreath).
LORD PHILLIPS OF WORTH MATRAVERS said that the defendant had pleaded guilty to 12 counts of offences contrary to s 13(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. He had been 12 at the time of the offences. He had said in interview that he had not thought that what he was doing was wrong. The judge had ruled that a defence of doli incapax was not open to him. The issue on appeal was whether s 34 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 had abolished the defence of doli incapax in the case of a child between 10 and 14 or merely abolished the rebuttable presumption. In his Lordship?s view, in using the language of s 34 Parliament had intended to abolish both. Ministerial statements in Parliament made that quite clear. The judge and the Court of Appeal had correctly held that s 34 had abolished the defence of doli incapax.


Appearances: Peter Blair QC and Kerry Barker (Sharpe Pritchard for Coulson Read Lewis, Hereford) for the defendant; David Perry QC and Gareth Patterson (Crown Prosecution Service, Special Crime Division) for the Crown.

Reported by: Michael Gardner, barrister