DateWhen Assignment Due:

AScandal in Bohemia

Theevents and circumstances that Irene Adler faced in relation toWilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein and Sherlock Holmes,warrant for several charges to be made against them.


TheCriminal Damage Act 1971 (Criminal Damage Act 1971 c. 48), provides adefinition that applies to any tangible property. According tosection 1 (1) of the Act: ‘A person who, having no lawful excuse,damages another’s property or even destroys it, intends to damageor destroy it, or is reckless about whether a person’s propertywill be damaged or destroyed, will be held liable for committing anoffence’ Section 10 (2) of the same Act is specifically in regardto property ownership and states that ‘property is deemed to belongto an individual-

(a)Who has the control of it or is the custodian

(b)Has an interest in the property or holds proprietary rights over it(the interest should not be equitable that it arises from a transferagreement interest grant.) or

(c)Who has charge on it?’

TheKing of Bohemia had on several occasions instructed persons torecover the photograph using forceful means. The King intended todestroy the photograph once he received it, and yet the photographis, by law, the property of Irene Adler.

Theoffence is created by Section 1 (2) of the Act, which is inclusive ofall the section 1(1) offences with the intention or recklessness thatis endangering to life being included. The offence is in the possibleoutcomes of the actions of the defendant and is, therefore, notnecessary for the actual danger to life to be proven.

Inthe case of R v. Webster (1995), (R v. Webster, p. 168), therelationship between damage caused and intended damage was examined.The case involved heavy items that were thrown at moving vehicles`paths. It was concluded that the defendant is deemed guilty if hisintention is endangering the life by the intended actual damage, orhe is reckless in that there is endangering of life from the damage.Hence, though Sherlock Holmes had no intention of putting the life ofIrene Adler’s and those of other occupants in danger, by having thesmoke canister thrown in her apartment, the likely risk was thatother all occupants may have caused a stampede in their rush to exita burning building and hence constituting recklessness that is anenough causative nexus.

SherlockHolmes will be charged with intent to damage property as he hadinstructed Watson to throw in the smoke rocket through Irene Adler’sapartment window. The damage might have been caused by the smokecanister and it thus constitutes a reckless act. Watson was not inthe room, and a wrong shot could have caused whatever damage to aperson or thing in the room.


Thecreation of the offence of burglary is in the Theft Act 1968 (Section9) which states:

‘(1)an individual will be found guilty of the offence of burglary if,

(a)He gains access, as a trespasser, into a building or part of it withthe intention of committing any offence stated in subsection (2) ofsection 9: or

(b)After accessing, as a trespasser, the building or part of it, heengages or attempts to engage in theft of anything that is within thebuilding or part of it or attempts or succeeds causing grievousbodily harm to a person within the building.’

Thedefendant’s intention to commit the offence being a particularlyimportant element of burglary requires proof that is beyond anyreasonable doubt. For example, if the defendant makes entry into abuilding with the aim of regaining the property which the defendantholds the belief that he has the legal right to have it in hispossession, take, then the intention to steal is not present, and thedefendant should be acquitted. However, the conditional intent ofstealing anything valuable satisfies this requirement. (Lloyd v. DPP,p. 982.)

Thephotograph held sentimental value to Irene Adler. She had alreadyclarified to the King of Bohemia that it was not her intention to useit to blackmail him. The King, therefore, should be charged forburglary.


Theterm trespass could be described as the entry and or remaining in aperson’s property without their authority an individual who haspermission to gain entry for a particular purpose, but, in fact, doesso for a different purpose could become a trespasser. Burglary bytrick, artifice burglary and distraction burglary describes asituation where the access to the premises is granted throughdeception usually by the burglar pretending to be someone who mayreasonably request and gain access. (Storey&amp Lidbury p. 204Jaggard &amp Dickinson p. 716.)

SherlockHolmes gained access to Irene Adler’s home through feigning hisrescuing her. Her kind gesture was met by an intention to steal thephotograph. He should be charged with trespassing.

Harassmentand Stalking

Stalkingis the obsessive or unwanted attention by an individual(s) toward aperson. The behavior of stalking is related to intimidation andharassment and could include personally following the victim or alsomonitoring their movement and activity. The 1997 Protection fromHarassment Act ensures that individuals are protected from stalkers.Sherlock Holmes should be charged with stalking. He monitored IreneAdler’s movement and activity without her knowledge and consent.

IreneAdler had at no time suggested to the King of Bohemia that she wasagainst his marrying another woman. She herself got married toanother man, a clear indication that she was not interested incontinuing her relationship with the King. Being a celebrity, herwedding ceremony was secretive, and she preferred for it to be aprivate matter. However, it seems Sherlock Holmes read a differentscript and may have assumed that Adler had something to hide. Inconclusion, both the King and Sherlock Holmes had no grounds forharassing Irene Adler and were, therefore, liable for prosecution.


CriminalDamage Act 1971(1971c. 48).

Jaggardv. Dickinson[1980] 3 AllE.R.716, [1981] QB 527

Lloydv. DPP[1992] 1 All E.R. 982

Protectionfrom Harassment Act 1997.

Rv. Webster[1995] 2 All E.R. 168, C.A.

TheftAct 1968(1968c. 60).

Storey,Tony and Alan Lidbury .’CriminalLaw(3rd ed.),’ Cullompton, Devon: Willan, 2004.