R v Collins [1973]

R v Collins [1973] QB 100 is an English criminal case that delved into the meaning of enters as a trespasser in the context of the burglary definition. The case involved distinct legal questions concerning an invitation based on mistaken identity and the extent of entry at the point of that beckoning or invitation.

Collins, a 19-year-old workman familiar with a small family, accessed a ladder after a late-night drinking session. He was convicted of burglary with the intent to commit rape against an 18-year-old woman. The victim, somewhat inebriated, slept naked in her room. Collins, using the ladder, entered the room, believing he had been invited for sex. The victim, mistaking him for her boyfriend, engaged in consensual sex. After realising her mistake, she confronted Collins physically. Collins asserted that he wouldn't have entered without an invitation, but the jury rejected his account.

During the trial, the defence argued that Collins had not entered as a trespasser since the victim had invited him into her bedroom, even under a mistake of fact. The judge rejected this argument, and Collins was convicted. The judge made mistakes by not listing all relevant issues for the jury, such as the precise location of Collins at the time of the mistaken invitation and whether his entry was reckless.

The Court of Appeal, recognising the lack of authority on the issue, formulated a test stating that the person entering must do so knowingly and deliberately as a trespasser or, at the very least, be reckless about entering without consent. The court found that the judge had misdirected the jury on this test and held that civil law concepts like trespass ab initio and occupancy status were irrelevant to criminal law. The appeal was allowed on the basis that the jury had not considered whether Collins was a trespasser at specific points during the incident. The conviction was quashed.
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