Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Nineteenth Report


Memorandum by the Department of Trade and Industry



  1. The provisions of Article 3(3) of these Regulations provide a defence in certain limited circumstances to a charge of selling, supplying or exporting petroleum or petroleum products in breach of a licence or a condition of a licence granted under the Regulations. This provision is in the same form as that in S.I. 1998/1531 on which the Committee reported in the 42nd Report of the Session 1997/98.

  2. The scheme of the paragraph is that it is an offence to sell, supply or export the stated products contrary to the terms of a licence unless the licence has been amended and the supply takes place before the modification of the licence was made. The effect of the word "unless" is, and is intended to be, that it will be for the prosecution to establish whether or not the licence has been modified without the consent of the licensee and whether or not any modification made was material to the offence that is charged. Paragraph (c) makes it clear that it is for the defendant to prove that the sale, supply or export happened before the modification took effect. It would be for the prosecution to establish the date on which any modification was made and the date and time on which the instrument modifying the licence was notified to the licensee.

  3. The policy is, and has always been, that an offence should not be committed where a person has a sale, supply or export licence which has been modified without his knowledge unless the sale, supply or export takes place after he has notice of the modification to the licence. The information as to whether and when a modification has been made is in the control of the Department so that the prosecution would always have to establish the existence of a licence and the nature of the conditions of the licence before it could establish a breach and thus the elemetns of an offence.

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