Revision notes on Criminal Law and Murder for AS Law.

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  • Created on: 21-01-08 09:36
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Where D is aged 21+ and is convicted of murder they must be sentenced to life
Imprisonment from Murder (Abolition of the Death Penalty) Act 1965
The definition of murder is:
`The unlawful killing of another human being under the queen's peace with malice
The four main elements of the actus reus are:
human being
queens peace
The killing must be unlawful and hence murder does not include all killings
For example killing in self defence or out of necessity would not make you liable for murder
(31)Re A (2001) ­ Separation of conjoined twins was necessity
There must be a death which was caused by D's conduct
See Actus Reus: Causation (causation in fact, causation in law, breaking the chain etc.)
Note that the prosecution must prove that D's conduct accelerated V's death
There is now no set time limit within which V must die following D's conduct for D to be
liable (If trial more than 3yrs after injury do require AG consent)
This is since the Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996
Human Being:
The victim must be a human being
The main problem here is deciding when human existence starts and ends. A foetus or
corpse cannot be a victim
Human existence is said to only start once the baby exists independently of the mother
however where a child born later dies of anti natal injuries inflicted by D then D may still be
liable (AG Ref 1997)
(40)AG Ref (No 3 of 1994) (1997) ­ D stabbed pregnant girlfriend, baby died
There is no legal definition of when human existence ends
It has been said to be when the brain stem ceases to function (Malcherek)
PVS is not death (Bland 1993)
(17)R v Malcherek (1981) ­ Turning off life support would not be cause of death
(2)Airedale NHS Trust v Bland (1993) ­ Doctors would be liable for turning off
Queens Peace:
i.e. in the absence of war/hostilities
Murder during times of war/hostilities is legal
The MR of murder is malice aforethought

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This covers:
Express malice ­ Intention to kill
Implied malice ­ Intention to cause GBH
See Mens Rea: Intention (direct intention, oblique intention etc.…read more


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