This was the basis upon which the conclusions arrived at in R v Shivpuri rested and therefore this shows how valuable the writings of academics can be in helping to clarify the legal basis of the law and its application within a purely theoretical context. This can then be extended into the hothouse area of actual practice in the courts, where it is difficult to arrive at the slow, measured and well thought out legal positions that academics are able to present. The impact of Professor Glanville’s writings in the decision in the Shivpuri case was acknowledged by Lord Bridge of Harwich who stated, “it would be churlish not to acknowledge the assistance I have derived from it.” Therefore, the outcome of Shivpuri and subsequent cases have undoubtedly been affected by the views of Professor Williams, which ha helped to clarify the law of impossibility and when exclusions to the general rule would be applicable.
The defendant Shivpuri was contacted while in India and handed a package of what was purportedly illegal drugs and asked to smuggle it in when he entered the U.K. However, he was arrested by customs officers when he went to deliver the drug to the contact person, while in possession of a suitcase which was believed to contain Class A Drugs. After he was arrested, he confessed to the officers that he knew he was dealing in drugs that were prohibited under the law. However, once the contents of the suitcase were examined, it was discovered that they were not drugs but harmless materials that could be classed as vegetable matter. The defendant was charged with a criminal offense under the Criminal Attempts Act of 1981 (Section 1), for the offense of harboring prohibited drugs.