Legal Cases That Changed Britain

The Times has now concluded its series on The (Legal) Cases That Changed Britain: 1785 – 2006.

DPP v Ray
July 27, 1973

This case settled an important principle of law applicable to people caught legging it out of restaurants without paying. It has been applied countless times since. After eating a meal in the Wing Wah restaurant in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, Roger Ray, a university student, and his three companions decided not to pay. About 10 minutes later, after waiting for the waiter to leave the dining room, they made off. Ray was convicted under the Theft Act (now covered by the Fraud Act 2006) and the conviction was upheld by the House of Lords. The law lords ruled that Ray had impliedly stated in ordering the meal that he intended to pay, and that by remaining in his seat after deciding not to pay had ostensibly continued that earlier implied statement, thereby deceiving the waiter.

Part one: 1785-1869 | Part two: 1870-1916 | Part three: 1917-1954 | Part Four: 1955-1971 | Part five: 1972-2006