Jeremy concerned the application of s7 of the offences against the official act 1980, this provided that “whosoever aids or abets or does any act preparatory to the commission of an offence under the Act shall be guilty of a felony. ” The literal meaning of s7 indicates that anyone who deliberately assists, encourages or commits any offence in opposition to the 1980 act shall be guilty of a felony. Based on a normal understanding, this means that whether the offender is guilty of a felony or misdemeanour, the offender is still in opposition to S7 and therefore shall be guilty.
The spirit of the law is concerned with the actual crime, itself, opposed to the level of crime (misdemeanor or felony). The case of R vs. Allen serves as an example of the Golden Rule concerning the application of s57. The 1861 act provided that ‘whosoever being married shall marry any other person during the lifetime of his spouse shall commit bigamy. ’ If you interpret ‘marry’ literally, there’s an “absurdity” (which contradicts the Golden Rule): No one married could ever marry another legally, therefore the offence could never actually take place.
Applying the Golden Rule of statutory interpretation, the court interprets the words ‘shall marry’ with the understanding: ‘shall go through the ceremony of marriage. ’ In this case, there is a possibility to reduce the sentence according to the situation. However, Jeremy was trying to use the ‘narrow golden role approach’ to escape from being guilty, which is an absolute absurdity. Nevertheless, according to the law, Jeremy shall be guilty under S7. The court interpreted the words ‘shall be guilty of a felony’ as if they said ’shall be guilty’.
b) Section 1 of the Street Offences Act 1989 provided: This Act is intended to prevent solicitation for purposes of prostitution in streets and other public places. Section 2 provided: It shall be an offence for a prostitute to loiter or solicit in a street or public place for the purpose of prostitution. Carl, a prostitute, was charged under s 2. It was established that from inside a house he had solicited men passing in the street by tapping on a windowpane to attract their attention and then either directly or by signs invited them into the house.
Could Carl be convicted? ”The golden rule provides that words must be given their plain, ordinary , and literal meaning. If the words of the statute are clear they must be applied as they represent the intention of parliament as expressed in the words used. ” Carl concerned the interpretation of s2 provides it shall be an offence for a prostitute to loiter of solicits in a street or public place for the purpose of prostitution.
With this in mind, Carl could not be convicted because he was inside his house, not in a street or public place. He has the right walk around naked in the privacy of his own ‘house’. He is lawfully permitted to have his window curtains open and to even make a display of himself to people who are walking on the street – as long as he, himself, is not on the street doing so. It is the prerogative of the public whether or not to look inside the window. Can this be considered an offence?
Literal interpretation defends Carl’s position. Cuttter vs. Eagle Star Insurance Co Ltd. is an example of literal interpretation at work. The claimant was sitting in his friend’s car in a car park and was injured when a can of lighter fuel exploded. As required by the Road Traffic Act of 1988, the driver was insured for injury caused while on a ‘road’. In this case, the House of Lords ruled that a car park is not a ‘road’ for the purposes of the Road Traffic Act of 1988.
They ruled that a road is defined as a place where cars move along towards a destination; but that a car park is defined as a place where cars stand still. Parking a car on a road does not make it a car park; driving a car across a car park does not make it a road, as it is incidental to its main function. In the same way, Carl was in his “house”, not on the “street” – the law cannot be reinterpreted by redefining literal definitions in an unnatural way.