Case Brief Wiki


The appellant was a British radio announcer who was living in Germany during WWII. With his family under threat he was forced to broadcast on the radio for the Nazis. After the war, when he returned to Britain, he was charged with "doing acts likely to help the enemy with the intent to assist the enemy". He was convicted at trial which he appealed.


  1. If specific intention is mentioned in an offence, must it be proved for a conviction?


Appeal allowed.


The court holds that this is a very clear decision. The specific form of intention that is required for conviction is explained in the crime itself, and this must be respected. Normally, merely the intent to broadcast would have sufficed this crime, however the wording requires there to be intent to assist the enemy for a conviction. There was obviously no intent to assist the enemy here; he was forced and threatened into doing it. Therefore, the crime is not proven and the defendant must be acquitted. There can be no presumption that merely doing the action implied his intent to help the enemy.


If a crime includes a specific intention in its wording, this must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order for a conviction to be entered - you cannot presume this specific intention from the prohibited action; it must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.