A2 Law notes Criminal Law

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  • Created by: sonyia
  • Created on: 14-10-13 17:50
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Actus Reus Omission
Any conduct must be voluntary - KAY V BUTTERWORTH ­ voluntary actus reus in this case was the dft fell asleep whilst
driving and drove into a group of soldiers
Few offences do not require any voluntary conduct at all these are known as absolute liability offences (does not
require mens rea) LARSONNEUR ­ dft ordered to leave UK & went to Ireland deported from Ireland & escorted
to UK by police. On her arrival she was arrested & found guilty despite the fact she did not voluntarily return to UK
There is no general duty to act however there are exceptions:
Duty to mitigate consequence of own actions: MILLER ­ fell asleep with a lit cigarette Fire. Instead of putting the
fire out, he simply moved to another room.
Duty under a contract: PITTWOOD ­ convicted of manslaughter when someone was killed on a level crossing that
he should be controlling. He argued he owed a duty to the railway company but none to the users.
Duty under a Status or position: DYTHAM ­ Policeman convicted of mis-conduct because he failed to intervene as a
man was beaten to death outside a nightclub. Police has a duty to protect the public
Voluntarily assumed responsibility: STONE & DOBINSON ­ stone's 61 yr. old anorexic sister came to live with him & his
partner, Dobinson. Stone was 67, nearly deaf, partly blind & low intelligence. Dobinson was ineffectual & inadequate.
Neither could use the phone. When she deteriorated they tried to find a doctor but failed. Convicted of
manslaughter. GIBBINS V PROCTOR - If food was deliberately withheld with intention to kill or cause GBH then the
offence would be murder.
Statutory duty: Road traffic act ­ failing to report an accident and failing to provide a breath test. Domestic Violence
crime & Victims act ­ creates the offence of causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable adult.
Crimes capable of committing by Omission
Can be committed Can NOT be committed
Murder - Gibbins V protor Burglary
Gross negligence manslaughter - Stone & Dobinson Robbery
Criminal damage/ Arson - Miller Unlawful & Dangerous Act manslaughter
Mis-conduct in pubic - Dytham Crime that requires any element that you can't physically do
by omission
Assault & Battery ­ DPP V Bermudez
AIRDALE NHS TRUST V BLAND ­ his state was permanent vegetative. Dr treating asked court ruling if they could stop
the feeding held it would be legal to stop feeding him it was in his best interest. However positive act would
result in murder. Legal distinction was emphasised between an act and an omission.
Proposals for reform
Introduce a similar law to that in law by laying down a duty to take reasonable steps to help in emergency situations.
This would raise the following issues.
How would this general duty be defined
It would not be acceptable if a person put himself in danger to rescue another
Who would decide when situation was an emergency
If several people present do all have a duty
Sensible proposal would be to require that a person does what is reasonable in the circumstances. So leave the
interpretation down to common sense of the jury or magistrate

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Actus Reus Causation
Actus reus of a crime requires prohibited consequences (murder) it must be established that the suspect's conduct is
factual and legal cause of the consequence.
Factual causation ­ but for test ­ but for the actions of accused would the prohibited consequence occurred
DALLOWAY ­ Child would have died even if it was driven by standards of a reasonable person.…read more

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Mens rea Intention
No statutory definition ­ left to judges to decide in case law - It has been made clear by courts that Intention should
not be confused with motive
MOHAN - intention was defined `decision to bring about the prohibited consequence no matter whether the accused
desired the consequence or not'
Direct intention - Purposive intent as the consequence is the dft's main purpose
Oblique intention ­ courts have felt the need to widen the meaning of the word intention to cover situations…read more

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Mens rea Recklessness
Defendant creating an unjustifiable risk and taking it that may cause a prohibited consequence but not deliberately
trying to bring it about
CUNNINGHAM ­ dft stole money from a gas meter and left the gas pipe exposed. Definition of recklessness `D must
have realised that there was a risk of the consequence happening, but decided to take that risk'
CALDWELL - D got drunk and started a fire in a hotel. The fire was put out and no serious damage was done.…read more

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Strict Liability
There categories of offences that do not require mens rea for conviction these offences are known as strict liability.
Created by statute - regulatory offences involving driving, food hygiene and public safety can apply to offences
that have no mens rea words in their definition
Parliament does not state whether or not it has created a strict liability offences so it is courts responsibility to
decide if an offence is one of strict liability.…read more

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Homicide act 1957 does not define murder but provided a number of defences
Common law definition of murder comes from 17th Century judge: Lord Coke "the unlawful killing of a human being
under the Queen's peace with malice aforethought" ­ mandatory life sentence
Intention is a subjective state of mind ­ what the dft was thinking at the time he committed the actus reus
Conduct, consequence & circumstances these elements must be present to be liable for murder under English law

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AO2 ­ according to the current law as stated in Woollin, there are several states of mind that either constitute the
mens rea of murder or can be used as evidence to infer the mens rea of murder
Direct intent as to kill
Direct intent as to cause GBH
Oblique intention (can be inferred if dft) foresaw that death was virtually certain
Oblique intention (can be inferred if dft) foresaw that GBH was virtually certain
Proposals for reform
AO2 ­ 2006 law commission report 304…read more

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Voluntary Manslaughter
Diminished responsibility
S.…read more

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Non-Fatal offences against the person (Assault & Battery)
Common assault (assault & battery) found at S.39 of criminal justice act 1988: CJA does not provide a definition
Do not require any harm
Summer offences tried in magistrate's court with maximum sentence of six months imprisonment
Assault ­ is to cause the victim to apprehend force (shaking a fist)
Battery ­ means to actually apply force to V (punching)
Actus reus of assault
1) acts or words causes the victim to apprehend personal violence FAGAN.…read more

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Offences against the person (OAPA 1861)
Consolidating statue - drew together a wide range of non-fatal offences containing older legislation into one statute.
OAPA did not create a coherent (clear) set of offences. Also act pre-dates even 1861. Need abolishing and replacing.
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm (S.47 of OAPA) ­ triable either way with maximum sentence of five years
Actus reus S.…read more


Raj Aujla

Those were really good detailed notes, thanks soniya :)

Former Member

These are great, thanks so much

Moqeem Zwan

These are really good notes. Thank You very much.


These notes are really good, thank you!

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