Santos v CPS Appeals Unit – Case Summary

Santos v Crown Prosecution Service Appeals Unit

High Court

Citations: [2013] EWHC 550.


The defendant was convicted of riding a motorcycle without insurance or a helmet. He argued that he was forced to ride the moped because it had been stolen and hotwired, and he was riding it to take it to safety. The magistrates did not allow him to advance the defence of necessity. This was because they were advised that this defence does not apply to strict liability offences. The magistrates sought the High Court’s opinion on whether this was correct.

  1. Is the defence of necessity available for strict liability offences?

The High Court remitted the case back to the magistrates for reconsideration by a different bench. The defendant should have been allowed to put forward the defence of necessity.

This Case is Authority For…

The defence of necessity can apply to strict liability offences.