Criminal Law Exam Revision

Criminal offences - types of offences and descriptions of both offences

Actus reus - description + cases

Omissions - act through duty (cases)

Causation - types of causation, cases, examples and cases of breaks in causation

Mens rea - description

Two stage mens rea test - case this was applied in

Transfered and general malice - description and cases

Strict liability - description / cases /FOR / AGAINST

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  • Created on: 11-04-13 09:23
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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)
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
Due to statute: failure to pay tax/ display tax disc
­ Santana Bermudez ­ Finger prick

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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. No factual causation ­
NOT muder as she would have died `but for' the poision in
the coco.…read more

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However, not always, in these two cases medical treatment did
not break the chain:
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 muder.…read more

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­ this is known as direct intent.
There might be problems if one consequence was intended but
another was caused. This is known as `oblique' intent, or
foresight of consequence.
Woollin ­ dft threw 3 month old baby at a wall in an attempt to
`stop baby crying' but on the way the baby clipped the pram. The
baby suffered head injuried and died. Woollin wanted the baby to
stop crying but he caused the baby to die. Guilty.…read more

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Mitchell ­ in a post office, people queing, Mitchell pushing in, an
man shouted at him. Mitchell pushed the old man,
fell onto and pushed over an old lady ­ she later died.
Dft liable for the old lady's death.
Different type:
Pembiliton ­ dft threw a stone intending to hit people he'd
previously fought. Stone hit and broke a window. Intention could
not be transferred as different offence.…read more

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Was not their fault, but
they were proven guilty.
Smedleys v Braed ­ one tin of peas out of millions
produced contained a caterpillar.
Dfts were convicted under the Food
and Drugs Act 1955, even though
they had taken all reasonable care.
LBH v Shah ­ Court held that the offence of selling
national lottery ticket to a person
under 16 is a strict liability offence.
Offence not truly criminal but dealt
with as matter of concern.…read more

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Ilty. Appeal at
Crown Court ­ conviction was
quashed due to Sweet v Parsley ­ it
held that the ofence against him
required mens rea as to the age of
the child ­ either
incite/recklessness.…read more


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