River pollution

According to the Divisional Court in F J Wrothwell Ltd v Yorkshire Water Authority (1984 Criminal Law Review), a pragmatic and common sense approach should be adopted in the interpretation of river pollution offences. The decision underlines the fact that liability for many regulatory offences in the field of environmental protection does not depend on familiar notions of criminal intention or guilt.

The director of the defendant company poured into his drains 12 gallons of a herbicide known to be toxic to fish, doing so in the belief that his drains connected to the public sewers and hence that the herbicide would reach the sewage works for treatment. In fact, his drains connected to a pipe discharging into a nearby stream, though there seems to be no evidence that he was negligent in failing to appreciate this. The herbicide entered the

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