criminal law

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Criminal Offences
There are two types of criminal offences:
1) Conduct Crimes ­ there doesn't HAVE to be a bad result
(dangerous driving). There needs not be harm or
consequence shown
2) Result Crimes ­ there needs to be proof of a prohibited
consequence (murder, rape)
Criminal law: the law that sets out the definitions of individuals crimes.
Criminal process: the system used in a criminal case to manage the
stages between the offence and conviction of the offender.
Criminal evidence: the rules that set out how the facts of a criminal case
must be proved
Sentencing: the decision of the courts relating to the punishment
imposed upon a guilty defendant and the way in which this is done.
Actus Reus: the guilty act
Mens rea: the guilty mind
Actus Reus
The physical element of the crime, what the D has or has not
Can arise from an act, an omission (failure to act) or a state of
Must be voluntary:
o Hill v Baxter: if a swarm of bees enters a car, the
driver cannot be responsible for swerving.
o R v Quick ­ diabetic, took insult then didn't eat and
assaulted someone.
o Leichester v Pearson ­ car stopped at a zebra
crossing and got hit by another car which caused
them to hit a person on the crossing.
However, it does not necessarily need to be voluntary in
State of Affairs
o Larsonneur ­ alien
An omission can amount to actus reus ­ duty situatuions:
Contractual duty ­ Pitwood ­ gate keeper
Duty due to relationship ­ Gibbins and Proctor
­ mistress/daughter
Duty voluntarily undertaken ­ Stone and
Dobinson ­ Fanny
Duty through official position ­ Dytham ­
policeman drove away from assault
Chain of events ­ Miller ­ cigarette/arson

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Due to statute: failure to pay tax/ display tax disc
­ Santana Bermudez ­ Finger prick
The prosecution must prove:
D's conduct was a factual cause of the consquesence
D's conduct was `in law' the cause of the consequence
There was no intervening act to break the chain of
There are two types of causation ­ factual and legal
Factual causation: `but for' (would the bad thing have happened
`but for' the dft?)
White ­ cyanide in the mothers coco.…read more

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Smith ­ soldier was stabbed by another soldier, he was
dropped on way to medical center, original attacker
was found liable
Cheshire ­ Dft shot V in the stomach, he was given a tube to help
breathe (tracheotomy), V died from complications
the tracheotomy. By the time he died, orginal wounds
were no longer life threatening BUT dft was still found
guilty of murder.…read more

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Stage test:
1) was the consequence of virtual certainty?
2) Did the dft resalise this?
If YES is the answer to both? There can be intention.
This rule was applied in the case of Matthews v Alleyne ­
pushed V off a bridge into the river. V couldn't swim. V ended up
dying. Court used two stage test.…read more

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EG: terrorism ­ intending to kill anyone
Dfts mens rea is held to apply to the actual victim
Contemporeignity rule
Contemporeignity rule is also known as a co-incidence.
The actus reus and mens rea must be present at the same time.
Fagan and MPC ­ man parked on a policemans foot, when
the policeman asked him to move the car,
he said wait a minute and then eventually
moved it.…read more

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Blake ­ Investigation officers heard an
unlicensed radio station broadcast
and traced it to a flat. Dft was found
using the equipment ­ admitted to
using the equipment but unaware he
was transmitting. Court said that
pirate radio could interefere with
public transmissions and a risk of
public safety. Dft found guilty.
More serious offences mean the court presume there is a mens
rea requirement, even if no mens rea is mentioned in the act.…read more

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Necessary to protect public by providing high standards of
Acts a deterrent
Improved road safety due to sanctions
Little threat to individual liberty
Saves money
Arguments AGAINST strict liability
Makes people who are not blameworthy guilty (Shah)…read more


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