Joyce v Director of Public Prosecution. [1945] | Lord Haw Haw Case

PRINCIPLE: Protective Principle.  If a crime committed outside of the country by a foreign national which effect that country he may be charged for High Treason

FACT OF THE CASE: The appellant, Mr Joyce was an American citizen born in the United States of America in 1906. At about three years of age, He was brought to Ireland. In 1921, he came to England where he stayed until 1939. On 4 July 1933, he applied for a British passport describing himself as a British subject by birth, born in Galway. He asked for the passport for the purpose of holiday touring in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Austria. He was granted the passport for a period of five years. On its expiry, again describing himself as a British subject. He obtained renewals on 26 September 1938 and on 24 August 1939 each for a period of one year.

On some day after 24 August 1939, the appellant left the realm. On his arrest in 1945, it was proved that he had been employed by the German radio company of Berlin as an announcer of English news from 18 September 1939 and that he had broadcast propaganda on behalf of the enemy. The passport was not found in his possession when he was arrested. He was charged with High Treason by adhering to the King’s enemies elsewhere than in the King’s Realm, to wit, in the German Realm, contrary to the Treason Act 1351. Having been convicted of high treason, he appealed.

ISSUE: Whether an alien can be convicted of high treason-act committed outside the United Kingdom.

DECISION: The appeal was dismissed. An alien abroad holding a British passport enjoys the protection of the Crown and if he is adherent to the King’s enemies he is guilty of treason. So long as has not renounced that portion.

REASONING: The capability of a state to prosecute and punish its nationals on the sole basis of their nationality is based upon the loyalty which the person charged with the crime owes to the State of which he is a national. It is now generally accepted that a state may prosecute its nationals for crimes committed anywhere in the world.

Also, in this case, the protective principle was accepted by the House as providing can substitute basis for jurisdiction.

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Advocate Rayhanul Islam is the founder and Editor in Chief of Law Help BD. He is also a researcher. Critical thinking is his main focus. He is on a quest to bring positive change to the legal sector of Bangladesh. He promotes legal knowledge and human rights concept to the root level. e-mail: [email protected]

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