Law unit 3 - Criminal law non fatal and fatal offences, defences and critical evaluation

criminal law - offences against the person

non-fatal offences 

fatal offences - murder, involuntary manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter. 

general defences. 

criticisms of non fatal offences, fatal offences and the general defences. 

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Law unit 3
Section A - criminal law (offences against the person)
Non-fatal offences against the person
Fatal offences against the person
Critical evaluation of law on the offences against the person
Summary of non-fatal offences:-
Crime Actus Reus Mens Rea Cases
Assault Causing the victim to Intention or subjective Logdon v DPP
fear immediate, unlawful recklessness. R v Ireland
personal violence. R v Constanza
Battery Inflicting unlawful Intention or subjective R v Fagan
personal violence. recklessness. R v Thomas
Section 47: ABH Assault or battery Intention or R v Miller
causing actual bodily recklessness. R v Chan-fook
harm. R v Savage
R v Parmenter
R v Roberts
Section 20: GBH/ GBH: serious injury. Intention or JJC v Eisenhower
wounding Wounding: all layers of recklessness. DPP v Smith
skin must be broken. R v Mowatt
R v Grimshaw
Section 18: GBH with Wounding or GBH as in Specific intent to cause R v Nedrick
intent s.20. GBH or intent to resist R v Woollin.
lawful arrest.
Fatal offences:-
Homicide is the unlawful killing of a human being. There are three kinds of homicide: murder, voluntary
manslaughter, and involuntary manslaughter.
Murder is the most serious crime and if convicted will result in a mandatory life sentence. Murder is a
common law offence meaning there is no Act of Parliament outlining the law on murder as it is developed in
the courts over the years. Murder has been defined as the unlawful killing with malice aforethought. The
actus reus is the unlawful killing and the mens rea is the malice aforethought.
There are two ways in which a person can be found guilty of murder:
1. Intends to kill the victim and succeeds ­ express malice aforethought.
2. Intends to cause grievous bodily harm to the victim and the harm kills them ­ implied malice
aforethought. (Vickers)

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The actus reus can be an omission if the defendant had a duty of care to the victim and breached the duty by
failing to do something (Gibbins & Proctor). It is necessary to establish the chain of causation in order to
establish whether the defendant caused or brought about the death of the victim. This is done by employing
the but for test and is demonstrated in the case of Pagett where he used his girlfriend as a human shield.…read more

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The homicide act raised the question as to whether the provocation was sufficient to make a reasonable
man act in the same manner. There are two parts to the reasonable man test:
1. For the purposes of self control the level is the power of self control expected from a person of
similar age and gender of the defendant. Camplin ­ 15 year old boy who was taunted by an adult.
(subjective test)
2.…read more

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Reckless manslaughter:
The test is whether the defendant was aware of risk of death or serious injury and nonetheless proceeded
unreasonably to take that risk provided that his or her action was the cause of death. The test is of course
subjective. Liddar case: defendant was the driver of a moving car onto which the victim was clinging while
fighting the defendant. The victim fell and was killed when the car ran him over.
These defences can be used for any charge.…read more

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Insane automatism: if the automatism results from a disease of the mind under the M'naughten rules it is
then in such a circumstance that the defendant can use the defence of insanity not automatism.
Non-insane automatism: the cause of automatism must be external therefore not due to insanity. It cannot
be caused by an internal cause, a "disease of the mind" which would be insanity.…read more

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Man in the street finds it difficult to understand. No clear definition between inflict and
Sentencing: intended to be a hierarchy based on level of harm and appropriate penalty but
wounding receives higher penalties.
Intent: for ABH intent for assault is enough to constitute as intent for ABH.
Reforms proposed by the law commission: a new law to cover non fatal offences. Issued in 1998
proposed to update the language used for these offences by talking about serious injury rather than
wounding.…read more

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Intoxication: "the law is a mass of inconsistency, lacks any logic and is rooted firmly in policy".…read more



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