CRIMINAL LIABILITY AS LAW

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CRIMINAL LIABILTY
To prove someone is guilty of committing a crime you must have actus
reus and mens rea.
ACTUS REUS
Actus Reus means Guilty Act.
This act can be a voluntary act, which means they did it out of their own free will or
an omission which means a failure to act.
VOLUNTARY ACT ( came up once in past papers )
The Act itself must be voluntary, Hill v. Baxter court gave examples of situations
where a driver of a car would not be driving voluntarily. Included, stung by a swarm
of bees and being hit on the head by a stone.
These actions would not form the actus reus of a crime and defendant could not
be guilty.
OMISSIONS ( came up three times in past papers)
Omission in contrast is the failure to act where a legal duty is owed
Contractual Duty
Pittwood failed in his contractual duty by leaving the railway gate open
Public Office Duty
Dytham a police officer failed in his duty to protect the public by doing nothing to
intervene or help a member of the public who was in need
Act of Parliament
Children and Young Persons Act 1933
Voluntarily takes on Duty
Stone and Dobinson (Where they voluntarily assumed a duty of care of Stones sister
who died of Blood poisoning and was known to suffer from anorexia but they sought no
medical aid even when it appeared her condition was worsening)
Fail to Minimise Harmful Consequences of his Act
Miller created a dangerous situation by causing a fire accidentally and moving his own
location making no attempt / active steps to rectify the situation through putting out the fire,
removing the threat, or informing others of the threat.

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CAUSATION ( five times in 5/6 papers)
Causation is establishing the link between act and consequence (A Chain of Causation)
FACTUAL CAUSATION
When establishing the actus reus Factual causation must be identified/established first.
A factual causation is where the 'But for' test can be applied:
But for the Defendants actions the Victim would not have suffered.…read more

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INTERVENING ACT(s) ­ NOVUS ACTUS INTERVENUS
Actions of a Third Party
When the sole cause of the death/injury is a completely independent act
Malcherek The operating and substantial cause of death had been the original wounds
caused by D, there was no break in the chain of causation
Cheshire
White
Take the Victim as You Find Him
As stated in the thin skull rule/principle where the Defendant must take the victim as
he finds them, including all attributes (taking into account the whole person)
Blaue…read more

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Direct intention occurs when the consequence is the defendants
aim or purpose
Mohan case gave definition of direct intention, it was said that direct
intention is a decision to bring about the criminal consequence, no matter if
the D wanted that consequences of his act or not
Oblique intention occurs when the consequence is NOT
defendants aim or purpose (indirect)
Woolin (virtual certainty test for oblique intention) the D didn't direct
intent to kill his son, the court stated a two part test to decide…read more

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SL Offences Introduced
To provide basic saftey to the public
To make convictions easier as NO MENS REA is needed to be
proven
Created during industrial revolutions as factory owners were getting
away as there was no mens rea.
Makes regulations striaghtforward and clear
Quasi crimes not 'truley criminal'
Act as a deterent to the public for doing certain things
Strict liability Case examples
Sweet vs.…read more

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ACTUS REUS OF ASSAULT
Act that causes the victim to apprehend the infliction of immediate unlawful
harm this can be committed with the intention of causing fear or recklessness
as to whether fear is caused.
THREE ELEMENTS OF ACTUS REUS
1) Causing the victim to apprehend violence ( there is no need for
any physical contact between D and V)
Causing the victim to apprehend violence, there is no need for only physical
contact between the defendant and the victim.…read more

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Haystead The defendant committed a battery against a woman when he punched
her. He also committed a battery against her child when it fell out of her arms
onto the floor, even though there was no direct contact between Haystead and the
child.
ACTUS REUS OF BATTERY
Thomas where D touched a girls skirt it was held by the CoA that if someone
touches the clothing someone is wearing then this equivalent to touching them.…read more

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