Iraqi Sanction-Busting Offence Invalid (2011)

Adrian Darbishire and Rachna Gokani represented two individuals charged with a series of offences under the Iraq (United Nations Sanctions) Order 2003, a strict liability offence carrying a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment.

The individuals are alleged to have supplied military equipment to the Iraqi MOD in 2005. It was successfully argued in the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal that the Sanctions Order was invalid. The Court of Appeal agreed that the offence created in the Order was inconsistent with the underlying UN Security Council Resolution (1546) and was therefore of no effect, and in addition, that technical deficiencies in the definition of the prohibited goods meant that no valid offence was created. Accordingly, it was held, the prosecution on those counts must fail.