QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B e f o r e :
(Vice President of the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division)
MR JUSTICE JACKSON
|CHIEF CONSTABLE OF DORSET POLICE||(1ST DEFENDANT)|
|GOVERNMENT OF FRANCE||(INTERESTED PARTY)|
MR IAIN ROSS (instructed by Dorset Police) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
MR JOHN HARDY (instructed by the Government of France) appeared on behalf of the INTERESTED PARTY
Crown Copyright ©
Part 1: introduction
Part 2: the facts
Part 3: the present proceedings
Part 4: the law
"I would start by considering the law where police officers enter a man's house by virtue of a warrant or arrest a man lawfully with or without a warrant for a serious offence. I take it to be settled law, without citing cases, that the officers are entitled to take any goods which they find in his possession or in his house which they reasonably believe to be material evidence in relation to the crime for which he is arrested or for which they enter. If in the course of their search they come upon any other goods which show him to be implicated in some other crime, they may take them provided they act reasonably and detain them no longer than is necessary. Such appears from the speech of Lord Chelmsford LC in Pringle v Bremner and Stirling (1867) 5 Macph, HL 55, 60 and Chic Fashions (West Wales) Ltd v Jones  2 QB 299."
"Therefore before PACE came into operation I am of opinion that the police had power under the common law, after arresting a person in his house or in the grounds of his house pursuant to section 8(1)(b) of the 1989 Act, to search the house and seize articles which they reasonably believed to be material evidence in relation to the crime for which they had arrested that person. I am further of opinion that this power was one that served a valuable purpose because it ensured that what appeared to be material evidence in the house of the suspect would not disappear after his arrest and before the police had had time to obtain a search warrant."
"99. Miss Montgomery may well be right, of course, to say that Lord Denning formulated the common law powers of search on arrest more widely than had been done in earlier cases. What was novel, however, was not the understanding of the law as such but the fact that it had finally been stated by a court. As Chic Fashions (West Wales) Ltd v Jones  2 QB 299, 312 - 313 shows, Lord Denning had been concerned to draw together the earlier sparse authorities and to restate the law in a more systematic way, that took account of the circumstances of the day. Ghani v Jones is an example of the same approach. The real question for your Lordships in the present case, accordingly, is not whether in 1969 the pre-existing authorities technically justified Lord Denning's statement of the law in this passage in Ghani v Jones but whether the common law today should be regarded as conferring on police officers executing a warrant for the arrest of an individual such powers to search for evidence as Lord Denning described. I am satisfied that it should.
"100. To insist on a narrow interpretation of the earlier scattered case law and to confine the police officers' power to searching the accused's person and seizing articles in the room where he happens to be when arrested would make it a matter of chance whether potentially important evidence was recovered or lost. By contrast, Lord Denning's (by no means expansive) rationalisation of the law at one and the same time removes the element of chance and confirms the legality of what had been, to the knowledge of the courts, the practice of the police for decades."
"In Ghani v Jones  1 QB 693 Lord Denning was not dealing with arrest warrants in extradition proceedings. For the reasons given by Lord Hutton, however, I am satisfied that there is no reason to criticise the Divisional Court's decision, in Osman  1 WLR 277 that police officers should have the same common law powers when executing an arrest warrant relating to extradition proceedings. As the court recognised, the same considerations as make those powers appropriate in a domestic case make them appropriate in an extradition case. The recognition that those powers are available in extradition proceedings does not contradict or cut across any provision of the extradition legislation; rather it supports the policy of that legislation. The days are long gone when the common law could be blind to everything occurring outside the realm. Where Parliament has enacted extradition legislation with a view to assisting the forces of justice, law and order in certain other countries, there can be no legitimate objection in principle to the common law developing in a manner that promotes rather than hinders that objective."
Part 5: application of the law to the present case
1. The claimant's physical separation from 123B Commercial Road at the time of arrest.
2. The lapse of time between arrest and the commencement of the search. That time lapse was 2 hours and 10 minutes.
3. The tenuous nature of the link between the claimant and the premises at 123B Commercial Road.
Part 6: conclusion