Criminal Liability; Unit 2 - Notes

Notes made from a combination of resources including the Nelson Thornes text book and Philip Allan revision guide.

Covers the Criminal Liability half of the course; Underlying Principles of Criminal Liability (Actus Reus, Mens Rea, Coincidence, Transferred Malice and Strict Liability), The Offences Against the Person (Assault, Battery, ABH, GBH and Wounding) and the Criminal Courts (Courts and Appeal System, Procedure to Trial and Sentencing)

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Principles of Liability
Actus Reus:
Unlawful act causing injury (harm or wound) to V
Must be voluntary
There is no liability if the act wasn't voluntary (Hill v Baxter)
Omitting to act when there is a duty to act can be an actus reus:
Public position (Dython)
Contract (Pittwood)
Act of Parliament (Children and Young Persons Act 1933)
Voluntarily assuming duty of someone (Stone and Dobinson)
Failure to minimise consequence of an act (Miller)
Possible acts:
Stab (Eisenhower)
Shoot (Lamb)
Throw (Savage)
Did D's act cause injury in the definition of the crime
No liability if the act didn't cause the injury
Crimes can be categorised:
1. action crimes -> Immaterial consequence
2. result crimes -> produce a consequence
Factual causation:
The `But For' test
1. Consequence wouldn't have happened `but for' D's act (Pagett)
2. Consequence would have still happened `but for' D's act (White)
Legal causation:
1. D must be the operating and substantial cause (Smith)
2. D need not be the sole of main cause (Pagett)
3. D's act and V's injury must have a more than trifling link (Cato)
Intervening Acts:
Breaks the chain of causation
Must be: (Chesire)
Can be an:

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Act by a 3rd party (Malcherek)
Act by the V (Roberts / Williams)
A natural event
As a matter of policy here is sympathy towards medical professionals who intervene (Smith), unless
however their act is grossly negligent (Jordan)
Thin Skull:
D takes their victim as they find them (Blaue)
Mens Rea:
Guilty state of mind
D wants to commit the crime
1. Direct intention: A decision to bring about the criminal consequence and the injury is their aim
of purpose (Mohan)
2.…read more

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Will be effective to promote the objects of the statute by encouraging greater vigilance to
prevent the commission of the prohibited act" (Gammon v Hong Kong)
Pro's and Con's:
Encourages compliance with the law
Helps guard the public
Makes it easier to prove guilt
Frees up court time
Lack of consistency
Unfair results can occur
Hidden costs for firms (publicity, time...…read more

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Actus Reus:
Causing the victim to apprehend an immediate infliction of unlawful violence
V must genuinely believe harm will be inflicted (Logdon)
Words can constitute (Constanza) or negate (Turberville) an assault as can silent phone calls
Immediate means as part of the current activity, not instantly (Smith v Woking)
Mens Rea:
Intention or recklessness as to causing V to apprehend immediate unlawful violence (Savage)
Recklessness is foreseeing a risk of harm but going ahead and taking the risk (Cunningham)
s39, Criminal Justice Act…read more

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Need not intend ABH (Savage)
Recklessness is foreseeing a risk of harm but going ahead and taking the risk (Cunningham)
Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm:
s20, Offences Against the Person Act 1861
Either-way offence
5 years imprisonment
Actus Reus:
Commission of an assault of battery which caused grievous bodily harm
"Really serious harm" (Smith)
"Serious" harm (Saunders)
Can by psychological (Burstow)
Need not be directly inflicted (Martin)
Mens Rea:
Intention or recklessness as to causing assault some harm (Savage)
Need not intend GBH (Mowatt)
Recklessness…read more

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Serious" harm (Saunders)
Can by psychological (Burstow)
Need not be directly inflicted (Martin)
Mens Rea:
Intention alone, recklessness will not suffice (Belfon)
3. Direct intention: A decision to bring about the criminal consequence and the resulting injury is
their aim of purpose (Mohan)
4. Oblique intention: A consequence is a virtually certain result of the act and D knows it is
s18, Offences Against the Person Act
Indictable offence
Life imprisonment
Actus Reus:
1. An unlawful act
2.…read more

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Triable in Magistrates of Crown
Maximum sentence is 5 years
Indictable Offences:
Most serious offences
Tried in Crown Court by judge and jury
Maximum sentence is life
Jurisdiction of Courts
Magistrates Court:
Trying summary and either-way offences
Crown Court:
Hearing appeals from Magistrates Court
Trying either-way and indictable offences
Burden of Proof: Prosecution (Woolmington v DPP)
Standard of Proof: Beyond all reasonable doubt
Procedure to Trial:
Summary Offence:
1) Charged or summoned
result of inquiries
2) Decision on being granted bail or remaining in…read more

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Indictable Offence:
1) Appear before Magistrates
decide on bail or custody
everybody has a general right to bail (Bail Act 1976)
preliminary issues (Adult Court Bench Book)
2) Plea and case management hearing
ensure all necessary steps are taken:
number of witnesses confirmed
formal admissions
exhibits to be produced
documents to be used
points of law
plead guilty -> sentence
plead not guilty -> trial
3) Trial by jury
not guilty -> free
guilty -> sentenced by judge
Aims of Sentencing
Similar crimes committed in…read more

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Suspended custodial sentences: Sentence will not take effect unless there is a subsequent offence
with a given time period
A form of punishment
Tries to ensure D doesn't commit more offences
Community service:
Compulsory unpaid work
Drug and alcohol treatment and testing
Supervision order
Attendance centre to address their offending behaviour
A financial penalty
The most frequently imposed sentence
Can be a fixed amount or given subject to statutory maximum for the offence
Compensation orders are payable to V not the state…read more

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Person is released from custody until the next date they must attend court or the police station as
stated on the bail notice
Everybody has a general right to bail (Bail Act 1976)
Bail can be granted:
By courts through the Magistrates Court
By police at the station (Police Bail)
By police outside of the station (Street Bail) (Criminal Justice Act 2003)
Bail is refused if the police of court believe D will:
Abscond (Not turn up at court)
Commit an offence
Interfere with…read more


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