Does just having a changed passport, even without knowing it’s altered, count as breaking the law?
In the case of Hobbs v Winchester Law Society (1933), the court grappled with the precise issue of whether possessing an altered passport, even without the possessor’s knowledge of the alteration, constituted a breach of the law.
The judgment in this case established that the mere possession of an altered passport was considered an offense, regardless of the possessor’s awareness or lack thereof regarding the alteration. This ruling underscored the principle that the responsibility for possessing such a document fell upon the possessor, irrespective of their knowledge about its alteration.
This decision established a legal precedent that possessing an altered passport, even without knowledge of the changes made to it, could lead to legal repercussions. It placed significance on the act of possession itself rather than the possessor’s awareness or intent, emphasizing the need for caution and vigilance when handling important documents like passports.
So, in essence, according to this case’s ruling, yes, possessing an altered passport, even if the possessor is unaware of its alteration, can be considered breaking the law.