The Ghosh test of dishonesty - worldwide survey

Discussion in 'Finance, Property, Law' started by Iolis, May 20, 2009.

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  1. The Bar Council report that Brunel University and the British Science Association are calling for a review of the test for dishonesty.

    The current legal test for dishonesty is the two-stage objective/subjective test set out by the Court of Appeal in R v Ghosh [1982] EWCA Crim:

    “In determining whether the prosecution has proved that the defendant was acting dishonestly, a jury must first of all decide whether according to the ordinary standards of reasonable and honest people what was done was dishonest. If it was not dishonest by those standards, that is the end of the matter and the prosecution fails.

    If it was dishonest by those standards, then the jury must consider whether the defendant himself must have realised that what he was doing was by those standards dishonest. In most cases, where the actions are obviously dishonest by ordinary standards, there will be no doubt about it. It will be obvious that the defendant himself knew that he was acting dishonestly. It is dishonest for a defendant to act in a way which he knows ordinary people consider to be dishonest, even if he asserts or genuinely believes that he is morally justified in acting as he did.”

    Dr Stefan Fafinski and Dr Emily Finch, criminal lawyers and social scientists at Brunel Law School, believe that the Ghosh test is flawed because it is based on an unattainable common standard of ‘dishonesty’.

    To discover how public perceptions of dishonesty can vary (and therefore affect the outcome of criminal trials), Brunel University and the British Science Association announce the start of an international scientific study into dishonesty.

    Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Honesty Lab, is an interactive online survey open to members of the public across the globe. The aim is to get 20,000 people to complete the brief online study over the coming months and the results will be revealed at the British Science Festival in Surrey in September 2009. Under current criminal law, there is no definition of dishonesty but a defendant is found to have acted dishonestly if they were aware that their conduct was dishonest in the eyes of reasonable and honest people.