R v George Dadson
Citations: (1850) 3 Carrington and Kirwan 148; (1850) 2 Den 35; (1850) 175 ER 499.
The defendant was employed to guard a copse to stop its wood being stolen. He legally carried a gun for this purposes. While on duty, he spotted an individual on the land and called out to him to stop. The individual began to run away. The defendant shot him in the leg. The thief had several prior convictions for theft and was in the process of stealing the wood, but the defendant did not know this.
The defendant was charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm or wounding. He argued that he should not be found guilty, because he was acting to prevent or stop crime.
- When relying on the defences of public or private defence, can the defendant rely on facts which he was not aware of at the time he used force?
The court upheld the defendant’s conviction. On the basis of the facts which the defendant actually knew, he had no justification to shoot the thief.
This Case is Authority For…
When establishing the defences of public or private defence, the jury may only take into account the facts which the defendant actually knew or believed.