Model Answers for criminal law AS AQA

Model answers for law as aqa specification criminal law

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Define the actus reus of a crime (7 mins)
The actus reus is the physical and external part of a crime. It means the
guilty act. The actus reus must be a positive and voluntary act as
illustrated in the case of Hill vs Baxter. In this case the judge said that
driving whilst fighting off a swarm of bees would prevent the act from
being voluntary, therefore preventing the actus reus from being satisfied.
If the actus reus of a crime is not satisfied the defendant can never be
found guilty.
However there are six situations where a failure to act (omission) will
satisfy the actus reus of a crime. These are exceptions to the rule in Hill v
Baxter that the act committed must be positive. A person will have a duty
to act if they assume the duty voluntarily, as illustrated in Stone v
Dobinson, where the defendants failed to provide adequate care for their
aunt when they said they would look after her.
Pittwood illustrates that a contract can require a person to act, in this
case the defendant failed to shut a gate, causing death, which he was
required to under contract. In Miller the defendant created a dangerous
situation and satisfied the actus reus of a crime as he did not take any
steps to extinguish a fire which he created. In Dytham the policeman held
an official position, which required him to act, therefore he was guilty of
misconduct when he failed to act while someone got kicked to death.
Gibbins v Proctor illustrates that parents have a duty to feed their child
due to their relationship. The final situation where someone can be guilty
for a failure to act is an Act of Parliament is wear an Act of Parliament
says someone must act, as illustrated by the Road Traffic Act 1988 which
says people must wear a seatbelt and the Children and Young Persons
Act 1933 which says that parents have a positive obligation to look after
their children.
Explain using cases, the meaning of causation (7 mins)
Causation is the link between the acts of the defendant and the illegal
consequence. Two types of causation must be established for the
defendant to be guilty of a crime these are factual and legal causation. If
there are both, then causation is established.
In order for factual causation to be established the "but for" test is used,
the prosecution must prove that "but for" (if you take away) the
defendants act, the consequence would not have happened. This is
illustrated in White and Pagett. In White there was no factual causation
for murder because his act did not cause his mother's death, because
she would have died without his act. In Pagett, there was factual

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Legal causation limits who is to blame using a "chain of causation", this
can be broken by an intervening act, which means that the defendant's
act was not a substantial and operating cause of the consequence
(Jordan). The effect of this is that the defendant will not be guilty. The
victims own act, the act of another and an unforeseeable event can
constitute an intervening act to break the chain, but will not always do so
where the defendant's conduct was still the substantial cause.…read more

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His malice was transferred from the person he pushed to the
Explain using cases, the meaning of strict liability (7 marks)
A strict liability offence is one which requires no mens rea, therefore
committing the actus reus is enough for the defendant to be convicted of
an offence.…read more


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