Case Summary: R Vs. Brown

Author: Divya Bhargava

Case Name: R Vs. Brown

Equivalent Citation

[1993] 2 All ER 75


Lord Templeman, Lord Jauncey , Lord Lowry , Lord Mustill and Lord Slynn


The issue of consent plays a very important role when charging of defendants in the sexual offence. or charging someone with section 47 of the offences against the person act , 1861 . This act talks about the “ If anyone shall be convicted upon an indictment of any assault occasionally or harm anybody he or she shall be liable to be kept in imprisonment with hard labor   and whosoever shall be convicted upon an indictment for a common assault shall be liable” . This case R v Brown or Regina V Brown is all about the consent in the section  47 of Offences against the person act , 1861 . Consent is nothing but the mens rea and actus rea , if there is no consent than the person will be held liable  and the consent can be used as a defense for the crime at hand .

Facts of the Case

R Vs. Brown concerned with a group of Homosexuals who were engaged in violent activities, including gentital torture for the purposes of sexual satisfaction. These types of activities are referred to as the Sadomasochistic sexual activities. All the participants are adults and actually they suffered no harm permanently. All these type of activities take place in different rooms at different places. So, the video camera was attached and they recorded the all types of activities and distributed to all the members of this group. The tapes were not sold or used for any other purpose. The group was held for section 47(a) of Offences against person, 1861 , and unlawful wounding contrary to section 20(b) of the act . But the victim afforded no charges and the accused told before the court that they are engaged in all these activities with their consent . The appellants against for their conventions, contending that the person could not be guilty for actually harming their body with consent .

Issues of the Case

Whether mens rea plays an actual role in the above case ?

Whether the Sadomasochistic activities are unlawful or not?


So , the Judgment was held in the ratio of 3:2 . The court held that the mens rea means purpose to cause harm is present in this case . The court held that since these types of activities are unlawful and also the public policy required that the society should be protected by the criminal sanctions against the cult of violence. Though a person can be convicted to assault or harm the body contrary to section 20 and 47 of Offences against people , 1857 , so yes the Sadomasochistic activities are unlawful which inflicted injuries which are neither transient nor trifling . It was followed that the appellants had been properly convicted and their appeals were dismissed.