§ 84. Mr. Crossman
asked the Attorney-General if, in view of the uncertainty as to the law, he will undertake not to institute proceedings in connection with political propaganda except where it is alternatively shown that the expenditure was incurred with the intention of promoting the election of Parliamentary candidates or disparaging such candidates.
§ The Attorney-General
Under Section 42 of the Representation of the People Act, 1948, now Section 63 of the Representation of the People Act, 1949, which consolidated the law, unauthorised expenditure on political propaganda incurred "with a view to promoting or procuring the election of a candidate" is illegal. An intention to promote or procure the election of a candidate is a necessary ingredient of this offence. Intention, however, is not usually capable of positive proof; it can only be implied from overt acts and it is a well recognised principle of law that a person may be presumed to intend the natural and probable consequences of what he deliberately does. If, therefore, in the circumstances existing at the time of an election particular propaganda338W appeared calculated in fact to promote or procure the election of a candidate in the sense that that was its natural and probable consequence, and there was no evidence on which the Court was prepared to rely of the absence of such intention, it would be open to the Court to hold that the expenditure which had been incurred on such propaganda had been incurred "with a view to" promoting or procuring the election of a candidate. The expenditure contemplated by the section as illegal, if unauthorised, includes any incurred on account of "presenting the candidate or his views or the extent or nature of his backing or disparaging another candidate." These cases are essentially ones of fact and degree for the Court to decide and I do not propose to fetter the discretion of the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute where a prima facie case exists.