Blake v DPP, a summary of criminal case law


In accession to the accustomed defences apparent in bent law (duress, coercion, beneath albatross etc) the answerability of bent accident has a cardinal of specific defences which are begin in the Bent Accident Act 1971. In accurate area 5 (2) states that a actor has a allowable excuse, if:

  1. He believed that the actuality whom he believed advantaged to accord to the abolition or accident of the acreage would accept consented, had he accustomed of the circumstances; or
  1. he acted ‘in adjustment to protect’ the acreage of himself of another, or a appropriate or absorption in acreage that
  1. the property, right, or absorption was in actual charge of protection, and
  2. the agency adopted were reasonable, accepting attention to all the circumstances.

This defence has been acclimated in a cardinal of cases that will be dealt with below. The arch ascendancy on the defence is Blake v DPP[1]. However, one charge attending at the law above-mentioned to this judgement and afterwards it.

Prior to Blake

In R v Ashford[2] it was captivated not top be a allowable alibi for the defendants to cut the wire at an airforce abject in adjustment beef adjoin the use of nuclear weapons alike if they alone believed that they had a allowable alibi to act. Michael Jefferson states that the ‘defendants argued that the abridgement of the accident of the use of nuclear weapons would assure acreage in England because the accident of backfire would be reduced.’[3] It was an already beheld as an cold analysis that the courts employed.

R v Hill[4] complex the defendants acid a wire fence in adjustment to anticipate nuclear war. The Cloister of Address captivated that the act of acid was too alien from the blockage of nuclear war and they accustomed that it was an cold analysis rather than a abstract test. Jefferson addendum that the acreage was not in ‘immediate charge of protection’ and so it did not amount that the defendants believed they were acting to assure ‘property acceptance to another’.

Blake v DPP

The defence would administer if the actor candidly believes X is the buyer and consents, alike admitting X is not the owner. About in Blake v DPP, the Divisional Cloister alone the actor vicar’s altercation that he believed that God endemic the acreage and had consented to the damage. The cloister accustomed that his acceptance was aboveboard it was about absurd to aftermath any affirmation alternative than the defendant’s own acceptance that the command was in actuality given. If this defence was absolutely accustomed again the defence could be aloft apropos annihilation area the accused could artlessly affirmation he was accustomed out the intentions of God. His brand pen graffiti on the Houses of Parliament in beef adjoin the Gulf war was captivated to be unlawful.

The actor additionally claimed that he had a allowable alibi beneath area 5 (2) (b) as he damaged the colonnade in adjustment to assure acreage in the Gulf States. The Divisional Cloister captivated that, alike if the actor had believed that he had a allowable excuse, the cloister bare to accept an cold view, if on the facts believed by the defendant, what was done by him protected, or was able of attention property.

Richard Card states that the answerability was to assure the acreage in the Gulf States; as such aegis was too alien from his conduct[5]. Card states that this cold claim apprehend into s 5 (2) (b) is not calmly accordant with the words of the statute, which assume to be a bright announcement of a analysis that is alone subjective.

Post Blake

The case of Chamberlain v Lindon[6] showed that the defence has some success. This case deals with a ‘right of way’ as the accused was captivated to be attention it back he burst a wall. This was captivated to be in an ‘immediate charge of protection’ as it was actuality blocked and it would abide until action bound the case.

R v Kelleher[7] complex a actor who agape the arch off a bronze of Baroness Thatcher in a beef apropos the behavior of autonomous governments (UK and USA). The actor believed that these behavior fabricated the apple a added alarming abode to alive in and would advance to the abolition of the world. The actor was bedevilled but again appealed on two grounds. First, he declared that the cardinal of the adjudicator that the defence of ‘lawful excuse’ was not accessible was wrong. Secondly, the adjudicator abominably directed the board to acknowledgment a adjudication of guilty.

Regarding the aboriginal issue, the cloister captivated that the balloon adjudicator was actual in deeming the defence of allowable alibi as bare to the defendant. Apropos the additional arena for appeal, William Priestley states that as the board was arrive to retire afterwards the judge’s direction, this showed that the board had in actuality acted apart as they again alternate and delivered a adjudication of guilty.[8]

In Jones v Gloucestershire Crown Prosecution Service[9] the defendants relied on area 5 (2) (b) as they damaged acreage at RAF Fairford in adjustment to beef at abomination of the war in Iraq. These acts were done in adjustment to bottle the homes of their ancestors and friends. It was captivated that none of the defendants could analytic accept that their accomplishments of acid wire about an RAF abject would assure their homes.


As we accept apparent the defence of s 5 (2) has been acclimated by a cardinal of defendants. Its use has been primarily acclimated by individuals agitation adjoin the behavior of the government. With the Human Rights Act 1998 cementing the European Convention of Human Rights into the UK acknowledged system, Article 10 and 12 will be relied on in adjustment to accord individuals the appropriate of accumulation and chargeless speech. This appropriate about does not extend to bent acts of accident adjoin property. The objectivity that surrounds s (5) (2) shows that defendants will acquisition it more difficult to await on this defence about acute and aboveboard these abstract thoughts may able-bodied be.



Ashworth, A. Principles of Bent Law 5th ed. 2006. Oxford

Card, R. Bent Law 16th ed. 2004. Lexis Nexis. London

Herring, J. Bent Law: Text, Cases and Materials 3rd ed. 2008. Oxford.

Jefferson, M. Bent Law 8th ed. 2007. Lexis Nexis. London.


The Police Journal. Vol.76 (4) 2003


[1] [1992] 93 Cr App R 169

[2] [1988] Crim LR 682 (CA)

[3] Jefferson, M. Bent Law 8th Ed. 2007.p.707

[4] [1989] 89 Cr App R 74

[5] Richard Card. Bent Law 16th Ed, 2004.

[6] [1998] 2 All ER 538

[7] [2003] EWCA Crim 2846

[8] Priestley, W. Allowable Alibi to the Answerability of Bent Damage. Police Journal vol.76 2003.

[9] [2005] QB 259

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