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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Page 1

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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)

Page 2

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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)


Page 3

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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…

Page 4

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6 months imprisonment

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…

Page 5

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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

Page 6

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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…

Page 7

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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


Page 8

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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

Page 9

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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…

Page 10

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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…


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