HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Jenny
  • Created on: 02-07-13 21:51
Preview of Murder

First 319 words of the document:

An Introduction to Murder 2013
The traditional basis of criminal liability is an Actus Reus (the physical element).
The general principle is that a person may not be convicted of a crime unless the
prosecution has proved beyond doubt that the defendant has:
Caused a certain event, or responsibility is to be attributed to them for the
existence of a certain state of affairs which is forbidden by criminal law.
Had a defined state of mind (Mens Rea) in relation to the event or state of affairs
(Actus Reus)
It means the "guilty act" it is made up of all the parts of a crime except the defendant's
mental state.
Most crimes require the accused to commit a particular act, however this is not always
and criminal liability can also arise through a failure to act (an omission) and from a
certain type of conduct. E.g. R v Larsonneur (1993)
Where a person has performed acts or brought about consequences which constitute
the Actus Reus of an offence they will be generally found guilty of the offence only if they
had the necessary Mens Rea at the time they acted.
Mens Rea means the "guilty mind" refers to the mental element necessary for a
particular crime.
This may differ from one crime to another and the definition of each crime must be
examined to determine what state of mind.
Offences which require Mens Rea are seen as more serious than those which may be
committed negligently. R v Steane (1947).
Murder is a common law offence, it is not defined by an act of Parliament.
Is the current law on Murder still acceptable? PIP MURRAY

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

An Introduction to Murder 2013
It has been defined by decisions of judges in cases and the accepted definition is the
one given by Lord Coke on 17th Century:
"Murder is the unlawful killing of a reasonable person in being and under the King's
(or Queen's) Peace, with malice aforethought, express or implied"
It is the unlawful killing of a reasonable creature in being and under the Queen's Peace.…read more

Page 3

Preview of page 3

Here's a taster:

An Introduction to Murder 2013
The Crown Prosecution Service brought a test prosecution for manslaughter following
the suicide of a woman after a long period of domestic abuse on her. On the evening of
the suicide, her husband had struck her in the forehead, causing a cut. He was then
prosecuted for manslaughter and inflicting GBH, However the judge ruled the case
should not go on trial because as there was no basis on which a reasonable jury could
conduct the defendant of either offences.…read more

Page 4

Preview of page 4

Here's a taster:

An Introduction to Murder 2013
Commentary: the decision (concerned with attempted murder) does not deal
directly with the point it is a good illustration of lack factual causation.
But for his act, the defendant's act would have still died and so he was not the
cause of her death.
2. The original injury arising from the defendant's conduct was more than a minimal
cause of the victim's death.…read more

Page 5

Preview of page 5

Here's a taster:

An Introduction to Murder 2013
2. Medical intervention.
R v Jordan (1956):
The defendant stabbed the victim who died a few days later following treatment of
the wound. The wound had almost healed and the immediate cause of death was
the medical treatment, described as "palpably wrong"
Conviction quashed. The direct and immediate cause of death was a separate and
independent feature (the treatment) and not the stab wound.
The treatment was not normal and so broke the chain of causation.
3.…read more

Page 6

Preview of page 6

Here's a taster:

An Introduction to Murder 2013
In dismissing the defendant's appeal, the court stated that an intervention must be
independent and voluntary to break the chain. A reasonable act or self defence did not
break the chain because it was an involuntary response, dependant on the defendant's
5. Thin skull test. The defendant must take their victim as they find them.…read more

Page 7

Preview of page 7

Here's a taster:

An Introduction to Murder 2013
2. Duty arising from statute:
Where a defendant is dutybound by a specific statute or law to act but they willingly do
not do so they are liable f an offence. R v Dytham (1979).
3. Contractual Duty:
R v Instan (1893).
The Mens Rea of murder is stated as being "malice aforethought, express or implied".…read more

Page 8

Preview of page 8

Here's a taster:

An Introduction to Murder 2013
R v Cunningham (1981):
D attacked V in a pub. He hit C repeatedly with a chair. V died from his injuries. D was
convicted of murder. The House of Lords dismissed his appeal. It held that the law was
firmly established. An intention to cause grievous bodily harm was sufficient for the
mens rea of murder.…read more

Page 9

Preview of page 9

Here's a taster:

An Introduction to Murder 2013
A soldier shot and killed his stepfather in response to a drunken challenge. He claimed
that he did not aim the gun at the victim and had, at the time, no idea that firing it would
cause injury. The judge directed that intention included both desire and foresight of
probable consequences and the defendant was convicted of murder
Appeal allowed, substituted with manslaughter. The mens rea of murder should normally
be left to the jury without explanation.…read more

Page 10

Preview of page 10

Here's a taster:

An Introduction to Murder 2013
hard surface. Part of the judge's direction suggested that intention could be established
if he realised that there was a substantial risk of grievous bodily harm.
Held: Appeal allowed, the manslaughter was substituted for murder. Using the phrase
"substantial risk" was misdirection, blurring the distinction between intention and
recklessness. The direction from R v Nedrick was approved.…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar Law resources:

See all Law resources »See all resources »