CASE CITATION __________________________________________________________________________ Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Storkwain Ltd [1986] 2 All ER 635 PARTIES __________________________________________________________________________

Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain……………………………………...... Respondents Storkwain Ltd…………………………………………………………………….. Appellants Jonathan Fisher and Harry Hodgkin………………………….....Counsels (for the appellants) Robert Webb and Michael Crane……………………………..Counsels (for the respondents) Williams & James…………………………………………….....Solicitors (for the appellants) Walker Martineau……………………………………………..Solicitors (for the respondents) Mary Rose Plummer……………………………………………………………..……Barrister MATERIAL FACTS __________________________________________________________________________ On its true construction s 58(2)(a)a of the Medicines Act 1968 (which restricts the sale or supply of certain medicinal products except in accordance with a prescription given by a doctor, dentist, or veterinary surgeon or practitioner) creates an offence of strict liability. Accordingly, where it is alleged that a defendant supplied prescription only drugs in accordance with a forge prescription and without fault on his part, the prosecution do not have to prove mens rea on information laid under the section. PROCEDURAL HISTORY ________________________________________________________________________ The appellants were alleged for supplying medicine without a prescription issued by an appropriate practitioner. The Magistrate dismissed the information being of the opinion that a

prosecution under the section required proof of mens rea. So far as appeared, the forgery was sufficient to deceive the appellants without any shortcoming on their part. Yet, the House of Lords held that the Divisional Court was right to direct magistrates to convict. CASE REPORTED __________________________________________________________________________ Wells Street Magistrates’ Court CASE APPEALED __________________________________________________________________________ House of Lords ISSUES RAISED __________________________________________________________________________ 1. Does the particular statute required proof of mens rea? 2. Does the context require the court to construe it as being one of strict liability? JUDGMENT BY THE COURT __________________________________________________________________________ The House of Lords was unable to accept the submissions advanced on behalf of the appellants and thus, affirmed the decision held by the Divisional Court. RATIO DECIDENDI __________________________________________________________________________ Where a statute is concerned with an issue of social concern (such as public safety), and the creation of strict liability will promote the purpose of the statute by encouraging potential

offenders to take extra precautions against committing the prohibited act, the presumption in favour of mens rea can be rebutted. The decision was reached as it is perfectly obvious that appellants are in a position to put illicit drugs and perhaps other medicine on the market. Happily this rarely happens but it does from time to time. Therefore, it can be readily understood that Parliament would find it necessary to impose a heavier liability on those who are in such a position, and make them more strictly accountable for any breaches of the Act. JUDGMENT __________________________________________________________________________ House of Lords JUDGES __________________________________________________________________________ 1. Lord Bridge of Harwich 2. Lord Brandon of Oakbrook 3. Lord Templeman 4. Lord Ackner 5. Lord Goff of Chiveley

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