The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
When an offence does not require proof of a mental element it is an offence of strict liability. There are some common law offences of strict liability (eg public nuisance, outraging public decency and contempt) most though are statutory, arising often under regulatory provisions, eg the sale of food and drink, public health, and licensing. The fact that an offence is one of strict liability may:
be expressly stated in the statute, or
arise by necessary implication as the effect of the statute
Where it is not explicitly stated that an offence is one of strict liability, there is a legal presumption that a mental element has to be established before a person can be found guilty of the offence. The fact that a statute does not specify a mental element is not sufficient by itself to displace the presumption and justify the conclusion that the offence is one of strict liability, although the presumption does not apply to offences which are not truly criminal but acts which are prohibited by a penalty (eg certain summary driving offences such as driving while uninsured). Factors to be considered in determining whether a statutory offence is one of strict liability are:
the seriousness of the offence. Strict liability often applies
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