Criminal Justice Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 30th October 2003.

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Photo of Viscount Bledisloe Viscount Bledisloe Crossbench 4:45 pm, 30th October 2003

My Lords, can the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, enlighten me? I see the force of the case he has described, but is that the only case in which one can make a submission of no case to answer? Why cannot the defence say that there is no case to answer because an element of the offence, properly understood, requires mens rea, let us say—a wicked mind—and the judge to say, "Yes, it does require that and there is no evidence of it, therefore I throw it out and there is no case to answer"?

If the prosecution wants to appeal and say, "No, that is not a proper interpretation of the statute", that is not an element, but is it not still a submission of no case to answer? Is the example given by the noble Lord that the judge is throwing it out because the case is evidentially too weak the only meaning of the phrase "no case to answer"?