murder

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  • Murder
    • Actus Reus
      • The Killing of a human being under the Queen's peace.
        • A human being does not include a foetus. It may only be murder if the foetus is injured and dies from the injury after being born. AG Reference No3 - 1994
      • Murder is a result crime.
      • The defendant's actions must cause the death of the victim.
      • 2 types of causation:
        • Factual causation - 'but for' d's actions the consequence wouldn't have happened. - White - case where d put cyanide in mother's tea but she died from heart attack so he was found not guilty
        • Legal causation - 3 things need to be considered
          • De Minimis rule: The defendants act does not have to be the sole cause but must be more than a minimal cause - Cheshire 1991 - Poor medical treatment generally will not break the chain if the d's act was significant in causing the death.
          • The thin skull rule - D must take v as he finds them (Blaue)
          • The chain of causation is where the defendant will be liable for the consequences if the chain of causation is not broken
            • The chain of causation will only be broken by three things: a natural but unpredicatable event, an independant third party and a victims own act
              • An act of a third party will generally break the chain of causation unless it was foreseeable
              • A victims own act will only break the chain of causation if the victims actions were unreasonable in the circumstances (Roberts) D started to make sexual advances against the victim whilst driving so the victim jumped out of the moving car (considered reasonable and d was found guilty) In williams the d was found not guilty as the victims own act (jumping out the car) was unreasonable because the d was only trying to steal his wallet
              • A natural but unpredictable event will generally not break the chain of causation
            • Generally , medical intervention won't break the chain of causation .
    • Mens Rea
      • The unlawful killing of a human being under the Queens peace with malice aforethought
        • 'Malice aforethought' means the intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm (Vickers 1957) and was confirmed in (DPP V Smith 1960)
          • Intent may be direct OR indirect
            • Direct Intention - It's the D's decsision to cause death or serious harm (Mohan)
            • Indirect Intention - where the death or serious injury caused is a virtual certainty and the D knows this (Nedrick/Woollin)
      • Transferred Malice - Mens rea can be transferred from the intended victim to the actual victim (Latimer) but only if the d has similar mens rea for the crime. (Pembliton) shows that the mens rea could not be transferred from a person to a object so the mens rea couldn't be transferred
      • The mens rea and actus reus must coincide but can be a series of acts (Thabo Meli) or a continuing act (Fagan)
    • Special Defences to Murder which result in the charge of VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER
      • Loss of control - S54 and S55 of the Coroners Justice Act 2009
        • Replaces the previous defence of provocation
        • Loss of control - S54
          • 3 Elements where D will not be convicted of murder: 1. D lost self-control. 2. the loss of self-control was triggered by something specified in S55. 3. That a normal person of D's sex and age would have reacted in the same way in D's circumstances
            • (A) D's acts and omissions in doing or being a party to the killing resulted from D's loss of control
            • (B) the loss of self-control had a qualifying trigger
            • (C) a person of D's sex and age, with a normal degree of tolerance and self-restraint and in the circumstances of D might have reacted in the same or in a similar way to D
              • It is an objective test.
              • Other characteristics of the defendant may only be considered when considering the effect of things said or done to the Defendant.
                • Wood - D was unemployed and suffering from depression and epilepsy which could have been taken into account in the circumstances.
          • Under S54(2) the loss of control no longer has to be sudden
          • S54 (4) States that loss of control will not be considered a defence if D acted in a 'considered desire for revenge'
        • The 3 Qualifying triggers - S55
          • (A) D's fear of serious violence from V against D or another identified person
          • (B) A thing or things done or said (or both) which: (i) constituted circumstances of an extremely grave character, and (ii) caused D to have a justifiable sense of being seriously wronged
            • The "things done or said" must be 'extremely grave' and 'justifiably' cause D to feel seriously wronged. - This is more strict compared to the old law
              • Daughty (1986) - The crying of a baby was said to amount to provocation. However, under the new law it would be unlikely to succeed as the crying of a baby would not be seen as 'extremely' grave nor would it have caused D to have a justifiable sense of being seriously wronged.
          • (C) or a combination of both
          • Excluding triggers - S55 (6)
            • Under S55 (6) if the thing 'said or done' consisted sexual infidelity. The defence of loss of control will be disregarded.
            • Another thing that is excluded would be situations where the D has incited either the fear of violence or the thing being done or said, in order to have the excuse to use violence
      • Diminished Responsibility (Where there is evidence of mental illness etc) S52 of Coroners and Justice Act 2009
        • There must be 4 elements proven by the defendant to be able to use the defence of diminished responsibility
          • (1) D must provide evidence that he was suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning. (Byrne) - this was described as 'a state of mind so different from an ordinary person that a reasonable man would think it abnormal'
          • (2) the abnormality must be caused by a recognised medical condition. This would include untreatable personality disorders.
          • (3) D must prove the abnormality substantially impaired his mental responsibility bso that he did not understand what he was doing, or was unable to form a rational judgement or exercise self control.
            • Case in support (Lloyd) - The impairment need not be total but nor can it be trival
            • Application in scenario:
              • If D suffers from delusions or has low mental age - they don't understand the nature of what they are doing
              • If the D is paranoid or suffers from schizophrenia or battered wives syndrome - they are unable to form a rational judgement
              • If unable to control their impulses e.g. Byrne - they lack the ability to exercise self-control
          • (4) The abnormality must provide an explanation for what D did. This need not be the only factor, providing that it was significant (S1B Homicide Act)
        • If there is evidence of alcohol/drug use in the scenario
          • If the D was just intoxicated he cannot rely on the 'mere transient effect' of drink or drugs if there was no other medical condition affecting mental functioning (Dica)
          • D will not be prevented from relying on the defence if they have a mental disorder and it was a significant factor in doing what he did. But it does not have to be the sole cause.
            • Dietschmann - HOL allowed the appeal of D where he killed when suffering from an adjustment order despite being intoxicated.
          • Providing D can prove other elements of DR and the abnormality was a significant factor in the killing the intoxication will not prevent the defence
          • If the D id an alcoholic or suffers from alcohol dependency syndrome then as long as D can prove an abnormality caused by the ADS which substantially impairs the mental responsibility then it will be allowed in the defence.

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