Causation

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  • Created by: claris.x
  • Created on: 23-01-18 10:57
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  • Causation
    • Factual cause
      • The defendant can only be guilty if the consequence wouldn't have happened 'but for' the D's actions.
      • R v Pagett (1983) - D took pregnant girlfriend from her home by force and, when confronted by police, opened fire and used her as human shield against police fire. The girl was killed by police fire and the D was convicted of manslaughter because 'but for' his actions, the girl would not have been shot and killed.
      • R v White (1910) - D put cyanide in his mother's drink, intending to kill her. She died of a heart attack that night, not from the poison so the D wasn't a factual cause of her death. D was not convicted of murder, but attempted murder because 'but for' the D putting cyanide in her drink, she still would have died.
      • R v Hughes (2013) - D driving camper van faultlessly. He rounded a right-hand bend on the correct side of the road and a car came towards him, swerving all over the road and crossing to D's side of the road. Car smashed into camper van and tipped it over. The other driver, influenced by heroin, suffered fatal injuries. D not insured and no full driving licence so charged under s 3ZB of the Road Traffic Safety Act 1988 with causing death by driving without a licence. Supreme Court quashed conviction because although D was 'cause' of other driver's death in sense that but for D's camper van being there, the driver wouldn't have died, but this was not enough to be an effective cause.
    • Legal cause
      • There may be more than one act that contributes to the consequence. Legal cause is when the defendant's conduct is more than the 'minimal' cause for the consequence.
      • R v Kimsey (1996) - D involved in car chase with a friend, when she lost control of her car, leading to a crash that killed her friend. Although the evidence of what happened before the D lost control was not completely clear, her act was still more than a minimal cause for the death of her friend, and thus was charged with death by dangerous driving.
    • 'Thin-skull' rule
      • This is where the D must take the V as he finds him, meaning that if the V has something unusual about his physical/mental state that causes a more severe injury, the defendant is liable to the more severe injury caused.
      • R v Blaue (1975) - a young woman was stabbed by D. She needed a blood transfusion to survive but, being a Jehovah's Witness, she refused and died. D was convicted of manslaughter because the fact that the woman was a Jehovah's Witness made her wound fatal, and D must always take his victim as he finds her.
    • Intervening acts
      • There must be a direct link from the D's conduct to the consequence, known as the chain of causation. In some situations something else happens after the D's act or omission which is sufficiently separate from his conduct, it can break the chain of causation.
      • The chain of causation can be broken by an act of a third party, the victim's own act or a natural but unpredictable offence.
      • R v Smith (1959) - Two soldiers had a fight and one was stabbed in the lung by the other. V carried to a medical centre but was dropped on the way. Staff gave him artificial respiration by pressing on his chest, which made the injury worse and he died. D was still guilty of his murder because the injury was still a substantial cause of the V's death.
      • R v Cheshire (1991) - D shot V in thigh and stomach and V needed major surgery. He developed breathing problems and was given a tracheotomy. 2 months after the attack, V died of rare complications with his tracheotomy which weren't diagnosed by the doctors. Original wounds almost completely healed by the time V died but D still liable for his death because D still contributed to his death.
      • R v Jordan (1956) - V stabbed in stomach and wounds healing well in hospital. V given an antibiotic but he was allergic so doctor stopped the use of it. Next day a different doctor ordered large dose of antibiotic to be given and V died from allergic reaction. D not guilty of murder because intervening act was the cause of the death.
      • R v Malcherek (1981) - D stabbed his wife in the stomach and she was put on life support in hospital. After a number of tests she was found to be brain dead and machine switched off. D charged with her murder.
      • R v Roberts (1972) - Girl jumped from car in order to escape D's sexual advances and injured. D held liable for her injuries. CoA upheld conviction under s 47 of OAPA 1861 because the V's reaction was a natural result of what D did.
      • R v Majoram (2000) - several people, including D, shouted abuse and kicked open the door to V's hostel room. They eventually kicked the door open and V fell (or jumped) from the window of the room and suffered serious injuries. D's conviction for inflicting GBH was upheld by the CoA as it was reasonably foreseeable that the V would fear the group and the only escape route was through the window.
      • R v Williams and Davis (1992) - hitch-hiker jumped from D's car and died of head injury. D's tried to steal V's wallet so V's reaction was 'daft' or not reasonably foreseeable thus the Ds were not liable for his death.
      • R v Dear (1996) - D slashed V several times with a knife, severing an artery. V didn't bother to have wounds attended and possibly opened wounds further and died from loss of blood. D convicted of murder and CoA held that because the wounds were an operating cause they were entitled to convict D, even if V effectively committed suicide by refusing treatment.

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