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Regina v Sanghera

27 October 2000
The issues

Police – are they justified without occupiers consent – searching premises of robbery victim.

The facts

Appellant was the victim of an armed robbery. He was a Postmaster. He handed his keys to the Post Office to the Police.

Two days after his complaint a Police search authorisation was completed. The words “searched with consent” were ticked. It as unsigned and consent was not in fact obtained. In the process of the search the Police discovered a large amount of cash in a box above the safe. Subsequently, the Claimant was surveyed following application to the Chief Constable. The Appellant was subsequently tried for theft. The Appellant argued that evidence of what had been found should not be given because it had been unlawfully obtained since the search had been conducted in Code B.

The Crown contended that because the Code did not apply to routine search of crime searches the Appellant’s argument had no substance because the Post Office was a scene of crime. Secondly, the Crown argued that the Code was designed to protect those under suspicion and not victims.

The decision

i) Although the searched commenced as a routine scene of crime search it was a routine scene of crime search by the time the money was detected. The exception in the Code was not intended to cover such circumstances.

ii) The Code should be regarded as applying generally to the search of premises and occupier is not deprived of protection because he was a victim rather than a suspect.

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