R v Ghosh [1982]

R v Ghosh [1982] EWCA Crim 2 is a landmark case in English criminal law that established a two-limb test for assessing dishonesty in cases of theft and other dishonest offences.

Dr Ghosh, an NHS surgeon, was convicted of offences under the Theft Act 1968 for attempting to obtain extra wages during his work as a locum surgeon. He appealed on the grounds that the trial judge had instructed the jury to use their common sense to determine whether the accused's conduct was dishonest or not. The defence argued that the judge should have instructed the jury to consider dishonesty as a subjective test based on the accused's state of mind, rather than an objective test based on the jury's perspective.

The Court of Appeal dismissed Dr Ghosh's appeal, affirming the conviction. The court reformulated the test for dishonesty, introducing a two-part test that combined both subjective and objective elements. The jury was instructed to first determine whether the act, according to the ordinary standards of reasonable and honest people, was dishonest (the objective test). If it was deemed dishonest by those standards, the jury then had to consider whether the accused must have realised that his actions were dishonest (the subjective test). This test became known as the Ghosh test for dishonesty.

The Ghosh test has been widely applied in subsequent cases involving allegations of dishonesty. However, the test has also been subject to criticism, particularly in cases where the defendant's cultural background or personal circumstances may affect their understanding of what is considered dishonest.

In 2017, the second limb of the test was removed by the Supreme Court in Ivey v Genting Casinos, so the test for dishonesty is now only an objective test, except in rare circumstances where the subjective elements must be considered.
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