ASBO law update

There has been a recent development/confirmation regarding the burden of proof in cases involving asbo breaches.

The Law

S.1(10) Crime and Disorder Act 1999 makes it a criminal offence to breach an ASBO, it states:

"If without reasonable excuse a person does anything which he is prohibited from doing by an Anti Social Behaviour Order, he is guilty of an offence."

Apparently there was uncertainty as to who bore the legal burden, the Crown or the defence, of proving whether a defendant acted 'without reasonable excuse'.

Case Law

An earlier ruling in January 2009 held that the legal burden was on the defence.

However in R v Charles [2009] EWCA Crim 1570 the court held: "...The burden of disproving reasonable excuse rests on the Crown where the defendant has raised the issue on the evidence before the court. The Act is perfectly workable on the basis that it imposes only an evidential burden on the defendant, but leaves the legal burden on the Crown."