Attempts

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  • Attempts
    • definition
      • s.1(1) Criminal Attempts Act 1981
        • 'if, with intent to commit an offence to which this section applies, a person does an act which is more than merely preparatory to the commission of the offence, he is guilty of attempting to commit the offence'
      • actus reus
        • a person does an act which is more than merely preparatory to the commission of the offence
      • mens rea
        • with intent to commit that offence
    • the old law on attempts
      • before attempts was defined in the Criminal Attempt Act 1981 common law tests were used
        • 'last act' test
          • had D done the last act he could do before committing the crime?
        • the 'proximity' test
          • were D's acts so 'immediately connected' to the actus reus of the offence as to justify liability for attempt?
        • Rubicon test
          • D crossed the line into criminality and passed the point of no return with no chance of going back
        • series of acts test
          • D did several things which together could create liability
          • difficult to decide what and how many acts are enough for liability
    • Actus Reus
      • acts which are merely preparatory
        • Gullefer (1987) - placed bet at dog race then tried to stop race to get money back when clear dog wouldn't win
          • CA quashed conviction of attempting to steal because had not embarked on crime proper
        • Campbell (1990) - seen loitering outside post office. When stopped by police C had sunglasses, imitation gun and threatening note
          • held to be still preparing
          • needed to enter shop to go beyond the merely preparatory
        • Geddes (1996) - found hiding in school toilets with bag containing knife, rope and tape
          • not guilty as hadn't actually tried to commit offence
      • acts which are more than merely preparatory
        • Boyle and Boyle (1987) - B and B found standing by door with broken lock and hinge
          • B and B has carried out a sufficient series of acts to be attempt
          • entering the building would have been committing burglary so trying to gain access was an attempt
        • Jones (1990) - got into car wearing crash helmet and pointed shotgun at man
          • guilty of attempted murder as done almost everything before he could commit full offence
        • AG Ref (1993) - man dragged girl into shed and attempted rape but couldn't get an erection
          • man had not performed last act but had done enough
        • Tosti and White (1997) - T and W caught examining barn padlock with cutting equipment hidden in hedge
          • by examining padlock men were trying to commit full offence
      • AG Ref (NO1 of 1992) (1993) - D need not have performed the last act before the crime proper nor need he have reached the point of no return
    • Mens Rea
      • Intention for full offence is needed
      • recklessness is not generally sufficient
        • there are exceptions
          • AG Ref (NO3 of 1992) (1994) - man threw petrol bomb at car containing four men but missed
            • needed intention to damage property but recklessness as to whether life endangered was sufficient
        • Millard and Vernon (1987) - M and V kept pushing fence in football stand
          • not convicted as both were only reckless
      • Easom (1971) - picked up, looked in and replaced handbag in cinema without taking anything
        • not convicted as no intention to steal particular items
        • no evidence that D had intended to permanently deprive owner
      • Husseyn (1977) - loitered near van containing sub-aqua equipment but ran off when saw police
        • not convicted as no intention to steal particular items
    • attempting the impossible
      • before the criminal attempts act 1981
        • if crime was physically or legally impossible to commit there was no offence
      • After Criminal Attempts Act 1981
        • Factually impossibility
          • s.1 (2) - person may guilty of attempted to commit an offence even though the facts are such that commission of the offence is impossible
        • legal impossibility
          • s.1 (3) - in any cases where:
            • a) apart from this subsection a person's intention would not be regarded as having amounted to an intent to commit an offence
            • but b) if facts of case had been as he believed them to be, his intention would be so regarded for the purpose of the subsection (1)
              • will be regarded as having an intent to commit that offence
      • Aderton v Ryan (1985) - bought video recorder thinking it was stolen but it wasn't
        • video player not stolen so R's acts are 'innocent'
      • Shivpuri (1986) - intended to receive suitcase which believed to contain drugs but actually contained harmless vegetable matter
        • intended to deal in drugs and impossibility no barrier to conviction, overruling Anderton v Ryan

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