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Definition of `attempt'
`Attempt' is now defined by s1 (1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981.

As with all offences the prosecution must prove the actus reus and the mens rea. The definition above sets these
out. They are:
Actus reus ­ a person does an act which…

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Cases showing mere preparation
The case of Gullefer illustrates a situation in which D's acts were mere preparation. Although D had tried to interfere
with the race, he had several other acts to do before the theft (which would mean him getting his money back). He
had to go…

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Cases in which there was an attempt
The following two cases show situations where the defendant had gone beyond more than merely preparation. In
each case the defendants were held to be guilty of an attempt to commit the full offence.

The difference from Campbell is that burglary is…

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The decision by the Court of Appeal in both these cases can be criticised. Surely the defendant did intend to steal
something? The fact that Easom did not do so (presumably because there was nothing really worth stealing) should
not make him guilty of attempting to steal. Equally in…

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Act 1981 was passed it contained a subsection (s1 (2)) which was intended to close this loophole and make
defendants guilty of an attempt even though the full offence was available.

Section 1 (2) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 states:
"A person who may be guilty of attempting…

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What is `more than merely preparatory'?
The cases of Gullefer, Geddes and Campbell that we looked at show the courts are not always prepared to take a
broad approach when deciding what is `more than merely preparatory'.

However, it can be argued that the more than merely preparatory test…

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had not formed any mens rea. After all, it is a key principle of criminal law that a person should not be guilty unless
they have a guilty mind.


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