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The Key Principles


Homicide can be both lawful and unlawful. Unlawful homicide consists of murder, manslaughter and infantici
and all share a common actus reus:

"An unlawful killing of a reasonable creature in being under the Queens Peace".

The three substantive offences are distinguished in terms of mens…

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There is no legal definition of death. The medical profession since 1976 has adopted the criteria of
brainstem death. This obviously has important legal repercussions with respect to life support machines
organ transplants etc. This issue has recently been brought into sharp focus by the Tony Bland case

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The Key Principles

The prosecution must be able to prove that the criminal consequence was caused (accelerated) by the conduct of
D. Lawyers speak of a chain of causation linking the actus reus with its eventual consequence. If the chai
breaks, D must be acquitted.

Thus in a homicide case,…

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Causation in Law

The prosecution also have to be able to prove that the consequence was legally linked to D's
actions and that D made a significant contribution to the victim's death. Issues of law will frequently arise
during the trial/appeal where D will be claiming that something has happened…

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BBC News
Player Religion 'put twins at risk'


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The Key Principles

Murder is defined as:

"The unlawful killing of a reasonable creature in being and under the Queen's Peace,
with malice aforethought, express or implied."

From the definition, most of the elements have been discussed in the general definition of homicide. Only o
element remains:

Malice aforethought THE…

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This is the intention to cause gbh. Intention is defined exactly as above.
G.B.H. is defined as really serious harm, e.g. broken bones, internal injuries etc.

Further points

(1) The transferred malice rules apply to murder ­ see Mens Rea handout

Latimer (1986) can transfer malice from one V to…


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