AR & Causation

Cases & development of the law (chronologically) of the Actus Reus & Causation - in relation to the offence of murder (but also transferable)

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  • Created on: 15-06-11 11:46
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- An act
- An omission (failure to act)
- A `state of affairs'
D acted; circumstances are immaterial
Consists of circumstances and sometimes consequences but no act on part of D
`Being done' rather than `done'
Sometimes not voluntary;
R v Larsonneur 1933 Div. Crt QBD
Banned from UK, went to Eire but pol. took from Eire to UK w/o consent
Caught in UK, arrested
Con. of breaking her `aliens order'
Didn't matter she was there not of own accord
Winzar v Chief Constable of Kent 1983 Div. Crt. QBD
D drunk in hospital and when done `dumped' on road outside
Arrested for being found drunk on a pub. highway ­ S12 Licensing Act 1872
Div. Crt. upheld con. as pol. asked to leave hosp. but didn't so had to drag him away
The act must result in a forbidden consequence
ie. ABH you must act (AR) but the V must sustain ABH in order for a crime to be committed
Raises issues of causation
If D fails to act when under a duty to
*See further notes*

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If succ. con. must prove D caused V's death
2 elements; factual & legal causation
D actually caused V's death
Pros. must prove that but for D's actions, V would not have died as & when he did
R v White 1910
Est. `But For Test' in order to prove factual causation
Son put cyanide in mum's drink intending to kill; she died before drinking it
Con.…read more

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D's actions need not be the medical c.o.d
R v McKetchney 1992 CA
D. hit V. over head w/TV
In hosp. discovered V. had stomach ulcer
Unable to op. due to injuries from D.
Ulcer burst & killed V. ­ CA upheld that D killed V
D must take V as he finds him; `Thin Skull Rule'
Hayward 1908
During row, D chased V out into street
V fell & D kicked her; she died due to cond.…read more

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D liable in most med. neg. circumstances
Smith 1959
D stabbed V but V dropped 3 times on way to busy military hosp.
No treatment for 45 min's then doc. pressed on chest and D died
D con. of M. & appeal quashed
Stab wound was `op. & sub.…read more

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The actions of 3rd parties must be `reasonably foreseeable' if D responsible
Pagett 1983
D used pregnant girlfriend as shield against armed pol. who had told they would shoot
V died & D claimed pol. fault
Con upheld; `reasonably foreseeable' 3rd party actions would fatally injure V
The actions of V must be `reasonably foreseeable' if D responsible
R v Roberts 1972
Female V jumped out of D's car due to sexual advances
Car doing 30-40mph & sustained injuries
Con.…read more

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D con. of GBH and CA upheld as `reasonably foreseeable' V would try and escape
Confirms test in Roberts
If V refuses to help themselves, doesn't break c.o.c
R v Holland 1841
D cut V finger w/ iron thing & contracted infection
Decided not to get it treated and got lockjaw, removed finger but sill died
Jury said c.o.…read more

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If V can save themselves, shouldn't be D's responsibility anymore; suicide?…read more


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