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You must know:
Distinguish direct intention from oblique intention.
Know the development of the definition for oblique intention via key cases
Be able to critically analyse the said definition.
Direct and Oblique intention
Direct intention: (Normal everyday meaning is used) this can mean deliberate conduct.
Oblique intention: Intention to produce one result but actually achieving something else.
Subjective and objective
Subjective: Your individual opinion and personal thoughts.
Objective: the outlook of most normal ordinary people.
DPP v Smith (1960) HL
Facts: The defendant was driving a car which contained stolen goods. When stopped by a
police officer, he drove away at speed. The police officer hung onto the car and was
thrown into the path of another vehicle. D was convicted of murder.
Definition of oblique intention: "was... grievous bodily harm the natural and probable
result and what the ordinary reasonable man... contemplated as the natural and probable
­ Viscount Kilmuir LC
Problem with this definition: This definition was purely objective and didn't take into
account the defendants thoughts. This resulted in a statutory change, Criminal Justice Act
1967 s.8 which stated all the evidence had to be taken into account.
Hyam v DPP (1975) HL
Facts: D put a blazing newspaper through the letterbox of the house of Mrs Booth who
was going on holiday with D's boyfriend, Mrs Booth's two children were killed in the fire. D
was convicted of murder.
Definition of oblique intention: "If D knew that it was high probable that her act would
cause death or serious bodily harm, then the prosecution will have established the
necessary intent" ­ Lord Hailsham, citing Anker J
Problem with this definition: Judges and jury's found it confusing and hard to apply. This
meant that different judges used it differently which made the law unpredictable and
confusing, this was because it didn't include a level of foresight.
Moloney (1985) HL
Facts: D a solider, got drunk with his step father they stayed up late drinking while
everyone else was sleeping. The D and his stepfather decided to have a contest on who
could load and be ready to fire a gun the quickest. The D won and his stepfather joking

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I wouldn't dare pull the trigger" and by his own admission the D did in fact
pull the trigger, shooting and killing his stepfather.
Definition of oblique intention: Lord Bridge's 2 part test "Was death or serious injury a
natural consequence? And if so did the Defendant foresee this?"
Problem with definition: Didn't use probability and people found it confusing. Lord
Scarman said it was unsafe and misleading.…read more

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The law commission produced a paper called "Murder, Manslaughter and
Infanticide" 2006 in which proposed codifying the Woolin definition of oblique
"Intention... may be found if it is shown that the defendant though that the result
was a virtually certain consequence of his or her action.…read more


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