R v Geddes (1996) 160 JP 697

False imprisonment - Requirement for evidence to show that defendant had committed act which was more than merely preparatory

Facts

Gary William Geddes (G), 29, was discovered in the toilets of a school to which he had no connection, with a rucksack. When leaving the school, G discarded the rucksack which was contained a knife, rope and masking tape. G was convicted of attempted false imprisonment under Section 1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 (1981 Act). G appealed against his conviction.

Issue

Section 1 of the 1981 Act states that a person is guilty of attempting to commit an offence where a person does an act which is more than merely preparatory to the commission of the offence, with the intention to commit that offence. G claimed that his actions were merely preparatory to the commission of an offence under section 1 of the 1981 Act, therefore section 1 was not applicable.

Held

Following the case of R v Campbell [1991] 93 Cr App R 350, determining whether actions amounted to an attempt of a crime, and not mere preparation, will depend upon the facts of the case. Attempt requires both the mens rea of intention to commit a crime and the actus reus of an act by the defendant which was more than merely preparatory to the commission of that crime. The offence under section 1 of the 1981 Act therefore required evidence that a defendant had moved from the planning and preparation stage to implementing his intention. In this case, G had a clear mens rea of intention to commit the offence under section 1 of false imprisonment, however he had not made any contact with his pupils and his preparatory actions of packing his rucksack and being in the school toilets did not surpass the preparation stage to the implementation and execution stage of that offence. The appeal was allowed and the conviction quashed.