But en route a short point has arisen as to the direction given in respect of the offence charged under section 4(3)(b) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 ("the Act"), namely being concerned in supplying a controlled drug, here a class A drug, to another. As will be suggested, the leading textbooks may, with respect, wish to clarify their treatment of this subsection.
Section 4(3) of the Act gives rise to three separate and distinct offences. Section 4(3)(a) deals with "supply" or an "offer to supply". Subsections 4(3)(b) and (c) broaden the ambit of the section by applying to those who are "concerned in" either the supply or an offer to supply controlled drugs.
It follows that there is no room for an either/or direction. When the issue goes to whether a defendant was concerned with supply or an offer to supply controlled drugs, the count in question must either relate to subsection (b) or subsection (c).
Though counsel approached the matter with admirable diligence, the treatment of this offence in Archbold (2019) at paragraph 27-41 is, perhaps, with respect, unduly compressed. For its part, Blackstone (2019), at paragraph 19.49, wrongly it would seem, in our respectful view, includes the "either/or" formulation in its summary of the ingredients of the offence.