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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76627 Find in a Library
Title: Kidnapping and False Imprisonment at Common Law
Journal: Cambrian Law Review  Volume:10  Dated:(1979)  Pages:20-28
Author(s): J Lambert
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 9
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article examines the offense of kidnapping at common law in Great Britain, particularly the problem of the consenting minor.
Abstract: A 1973 decision of the British Crown Court illustrates the imprecise nature of the common law offense of kidnapping. The defendant was charged with unlawfully 'secreting' a 13-year-old girl against the will of her parents. Defendant's counsel moved to quash the count on the ground that it disclosed no known offense to the law; the trial judge acceded to the motion. Kidnapping is treated as a flexible concept at common law. The only modern authority is the decision of the Supreme Court of Ireland in People v. Edge (1943). In that case the judge held that kidnapping of 14 1/2-year-old boy and secreting him against the will of his guardian was not an offense. Thus, in its modern form kidnapping is associated with a ransom demand, and the charge of blackmail and false imprisonment may be made. Where terror and physical deprivation occur, kidnapping more clearly reflects the real gravity of the crime and gives a court more scope in arriving at an appropriate charge. Part of the confusion lies in the overlap between the concepts of kidnapping and false imprisonment. Where there is effective consent the imprisonment cannot be false. The Criminal Law Revision Committee recommends that the present offenses of kidnapping, false imprisonment, child stealing, and taking an unmarried girl out of the possession of her parents be replaced by five new statutory offenses. The committee proposals would represent an improvement over the present law with its confused common law origins. By formulating its proposed new offense of abduction as an infringement of parental 'custody, care, or control,' as opposed to 'possession,' the committee has ensured that if a case involving effective consent was to occur again a conviction would be obtained. The article provides 70 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Common law; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Incarceration; Judicial decisions; Kidnapping; Rights of minors
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