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The Actus Reus is the external elements of the offence, it may be and act or an omission
(failure to act)
It is specific to each individual offence however some offences share the same Actus Reus
e.g. Murder and Manslaughter
The Actus Reus is found in the definition…

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creation of dangerous situation
statute: see definition of offence

D's breach of contract creates a risk to the public (Pittwood 1902)
(1)R v Pittwood (1902) ­ Breached contract by failing to close crossing gate
(2)Airedale NHS Trust v Bland (1993) ­ Doctors turning off life support

Public Office:…

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It is up to the prosecution to prove that the required consequence came about as a result of
D's actions i.e. D's conduct caused the consequence
It is said that there must be a `chain of causation' between D's conduct and the result

Causation looks to deal with the problem…

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Where there is an intervening act between D's conduct and the result D should not be
criminally liable for the result
Events which may break the chain of causation are:
Naturally occurring events
Third party conduct
negligent medical treatment
actions/reactions of V

Naturally Occurring Events:
These must be unforeseeable i.e.…

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(20)R v Dear (1996) ­ V refused medical treatment and worsened wounds
Under the thin skull rule defendants must take their victim as they find them. This refers to
mental or physical abnormalities (Hayward 1908) and religious beliefs (Blaue 1975)
(21)R v Hayward (1908) ­ V died when…


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