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Unit 3 ­ Offences Against the Person

Murder and Voluntary Manslaughter
Murder

The Actus Reus of Murder

The definition of murder is ­ "the unlawful killing of a reasonable creature in
being under the Queen's Peace" Lord Coke.

A foetus in utero and a person on life support is not…

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No novus actus interveniens

Factual causation is easily established using the `but for' test or the `Sin Qua
Non' principle which means `without which there is nothing'. (Pagett/White)

For legal causation, there must be more than a slight or trifling link between
D's act/omission and the consequences for the V…

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If the D foresaw that death or serious injury would occur in achieving their aim,
they may have `oblique intent'.

In Nedrick, the Court of Appeal suggested that the jury consider two
questions:

1. Was death or serious injury a virtually certain result of D's act?
2. Did D foresee…

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3. Was D's act the legal cause of V's death? (Not sole but more than trivial
and more than a slight or trifling link between D's conduct and V's death)

4. Was the chain of causation broken? (Novus Actus Interveniens)

5. Did D set about as far as possible to…

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a) D's loss of self control was attributable to fear of serious violence by the
V against D or another recognised person (the fear trigger)

b) Something said or done which constituted circumstances of an
extremely grave character and caused D to have a justifiable sense of
being seriously wronged…

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State ­ the defendant's act must result from a loss of control

Explain ­ need not be sudden but under s.54 it cannot be out of a `considered
desire for revenge'. No definition of `considered' but a time lapse between the
qualifying trigger and D's conduct may suggest there is…

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D will not be convicted of murder if at the time of the killing D was suffering
from an abnormality of mental functioning which

arose from a recognised medical condition

substantially impaired D's ability to: understand the nature of his conduct,
form a rational judgement or exercise self control

and…

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A question of fact and degree for the jury, not a medical issue

R v Lloyd ­ `the impairment must not be total but it must be more than trivial
or minimal'

What needs to be substantially impaired?

The defendant's ability to:

1. Understand the nature of his conduct

2.…

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If the defendant's mental functioning would not have made a difference to his
behaviour, the plea will be unsuccessful.

Structuring an Answer

State ­ D must be suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning arising
from a recognised medical condition that substantially impairs D's ability to
exercise self control, form…

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1. The defendant must do an unlawful act ­ with the necessary mens rea

2. The act must be dangerous on an objective test

3. The act must cause the victim's death (causation)

The D Must Do an Unlawful Act

The death of V must be caused by an unlawful…

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