Legal Case Summary
R v Ghosh (Deb Baran)  EWCA Crim 2;  QB 1053;  3 WLR 110
Meaning of dishonesty under the Theft Act 1968.
See also: Ivey v Genting Casinos
Ghosh, the person on trial, was a temporary consultant at a hospital. He falsely claimed to have performed a surgical procedure in order to receive payment through the National Health Service, when in fact someone else had carried out the operation. He was charged with trying to get money by deceitfully obtaining a check in violation of section 20(2) of the Theft Act 1968 and obtaining money through deception according to section 15(1). Ghosh’s defense was that he had not deceived anyone, and that he was entitled to the money. He appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeal.
The defendant in the case argued that the trial judge had made a mistake by telling the jury to use current standards of honesty when determining whether the defendant was dishonest. He stated that deception had to be done on purpose or with disregard for the outcome under section 15 of the 1968 Act. The defendant was arguing about the interpretation of the word ‘dishonesty’ as used in the 1968 Act.
The defendant argued that “dishonesty” under the 1968 Act is a state of mind rather than an action. The test for dishonesty under this act involves both a subjective and objective component. First, the jury must determine whether the defendant’s actions were considered dishonest by the standards of reasonable and honest people (the objective test). If they were not deemed dishonest, the matter ends there. However, if the actions were found to be dishonest by those standards, the jury must then decide whether the defendant himself understood that his actions were dishonest according to those same standards (the subjective test). If the defendant did know his actions were dishonest, then he would be considered “dishonest” under the 1968 Act.
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