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Weights and Measures (Northern Ireland) Order 1981

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Additional defences and safeguards for tradersN.I.

24.—(1) In any proceedings for an offence under this Part or any instrument made under it, it shall be a defence for the person charged to prove that he took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence.

(2) In any proceedings for an offence under this Part or any instrument made under it by reason of the quantity—

(a)of any goods made up for sale or for delivery after sale (whether by way of pre-packing or otherwise) in or on a container marked with an indication of quantity; or

(b)of any goods which, in connection with a sale or agreement for the sale thereof, have associated therewith a document purporting to state the quantity of the goods; or

(c)of any goods required by or under this Order to be pre-packed, or to be otherwise made up in or on a container for sale or for delivery after sale, or to be made for sale, only in particular quantities,

being less than that marked on the container or stated in the document in question or than the relevant particular quantity, as the case may be, it shall be a defence for the person charged to prove that the deficiency arose—

(i)in a case falling within sub-paragraph (a), after the making up of the goods and the marking of the container;

(ii)in a case falling within sub-paragraph (b), after the preparation of the goods for delivery in pursuance of the sale or agreement and after the completion of the document;

(iii)in a case falling within sub-paragraph ( c) after the making up or making, as the case may be, of the goods for sale,

and was attributable wholly to factors for which reasonable allowance was made in stating the quantity of the goods in the marking or document or in making up or making the goods for sale, as the case may be.

(3) In the case of a sale by retail of food, not being food pre-packed in a container which is, or is required by or under this Order to be, marked with an indication of quantity, in any proceedings for an offence under this Part or any instrument made under it by reason of the quantity delivered to the buyer being less than that purported to be sold, it shall be a defence for the person charged to prove that the deficiency was due wholly to unavoidable evaporation or drainage since the sale and that due care and precaution were taken to minimise any such evaporation or drainage.

(4) If in any proceedings for an offence under this Part or any instrument made under it, being an offence in respect of any deficiency in the quantity of any goods sold, it is shown that between the sale and the discovery of the deficiency the goods were with the consent of the buyer subjected to treatment which could result in a reduction in the quantity of those goods for delivery to, or to any person nominated in that behalf by, the buyer, the person charged shall not be found guilty of that offence unless it is shown that the deficiency cannot be accounted for by the subjecting of the goods to that treatement.

(5) In any proceedings for an offence under this Part or any instrument made under it, being an offence in respect of any excess in the quantity of any goods, it shall be a defence for the person charged to prove that the excess was attributable to the taking of measures reasonably necessary in order to avoid the commission of an offence in respect of a deficiency in those or other goods.

(6) If proceedings for an offence under this Part or any instrument made under it in respect of any deficiency or excess in the quantity—

(a)of any goods made up for sale (whether by way of pre-packing or otherwise) in or on a container marked with an indication of quantity;

(b)of any goods which have been pre-packed or otherwise made up in or on a container for sale or for delivery after sale, or which have been made for sale, and which are required by or under this Order to be pre-packed, or to be otherwise so made up, or to be so made, as the case may be, only in particular quantities,

are brought with respect to any article, and it is proved that, at the time and place at which that article was tested, other articles of the same kind, being articles which, or articles containing goods which, had been sold by the person charged or were in that person's possession for sale or for delivery after sale, were available for testing, the person charged shall not be convicted of such an offence with respect to that article unless a reasonable number of those other articles was also tested.

(7) In any proceedings for an offence under this Part or any instrument made under it, the court—

(a)if the proceedings are with respect to one or more of a number of articles tested on the same occasion, shall have regard to the average quantity in all the articles tested;

(b)if the proceedings are with respect to a single article, shall disregard any inconsiderable deficiency or excess; and

(c)shall have regard generally to all the circumstances of the case.

(8) Paragraphs (6) and (7) shall apply with the necessary modifications to proceedings for an offence in respect of the size, capacity or contents of a container as it applies to proceedings for an offence in respect of the excess or deficiency in the quantity of certain goods.

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