Collins v Wilcock – 1984

January 04, 2024
Micheal James

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Introduction to Collins v Wilcock – 1984

Collins v Wilcock is a legal case that stemmed from an encounter between Mary Collins, a police officer, and Wilma Wilcock, who was accused by Collins of soliciting in a public street. The situation escalated when Collins attempted to arrest Wilcock based on suspicion, but Wilcock vehemently denied the allegations and resisted the arrest. This resistance resulted in a physical confrontation between them, leading to Wilcock being charged with obstructing a police officer in the execution of duty.

The incident occurred when Collins, in the course of her duty, approached Wilcock, suspecting her involvement in soliciting. Wilcock, feeling unjustly accused and agitated, refused to comply with the officer’s orders and physically resisted the attempted arrest. This resistance and ensuing physical struggle became the focal point of the legal dispute.

Parties Involved

The primary parties involved in the case were Mary Collins, a law enforcement officer, and Wilma Wilcock, the individual accused by Collins of engaging in solicitation. Collins acted in her capacity as a police officer, aiming to execute an arrest based on suspicion, while Wilcock was the subject of suspicion and the subsequent attempted arrest. Collins attempted to carry out the arrest, believing Wilcock was involved in soliciting, while Wilcock vehemently denied the accusations and resisted the arrest, leading to a physical altercation between them.

Legal Issues

Central to the legal debate in Collins v Wilcock was the determination of whether Wilcock’s resistance constituted obstruction of an officer in the execution of duty or if her actions were justifiable due to the circumstances surrounding the attempted arrest. Legal principles governing individuals’ rights during interactions with law enforcement and the definition of obstruction in the context of resisting an arrest were pivotal in shaping the arguments presented by both parties.

Court Proceedings and Arguments

During the court proceedings, arguments were presented by both parties to support their positions. Collins contended that Wilcock’s resistance amounted to obstruction of an officer, while Wilcock’s defense focused on justifying her resistance due to her firm belief in her innocence and her perception of defending herself against wrongful accusations.

Judgment and Ruling

The court ultimately ruled in favor of Wilcock, determining that her resistance was justifiable considering the circumstances. The judgment was grounded in the notion that Wilcock reasonably believed in her innocence and acted in self-defense against what she perceived as unjust accusations. The ruling referenced past cases that established the right of individuals to defend themselves against wrongful accusations.

Impact and Significance

Collins v Wilcock set a significant legal precedent by emphasizing the right of individuals to defend themselves against perceived wrongful accusations during encounters with law enforcement. This case underscored the importance of considering contextual circumstances and individual rights in cases involving police actions and resistance.

Academic and Professional Discourse

Legal scholars engaged in extensive debates, analyzing the balance between police authority and individual rights highlighted in Collins v Wilcock. Ongoing discussions revolved around the implications of this case in refining and shaping laws regarding the rights of individuals during interactions with law enforcement officers.


The case of Collins v Wilcock highlighted the significance of contextual considerations in assessing resistance during police encounters and solidified the right of individuals to defend themselves against unjust accusations. Its ongoing relevance in legal discourse continues to contribute to the evolution of laws governing interactions between law enforcement officers and individuals, emphasizing the importance of understanding and upholding individual rights in such encounters.

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