Everything you need to know about murder :)

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Rhian Nicole Mason
"The unlawful killing of a reasonable person in being with the King or Queens peace with malice
aforethought, express or implied." The act must be unlawful and without consent. The action that
causes the killing must be straightforward e.g. stabbing, shooting, strangulation. However if the
accused had a duty to act then it can be considered an omission and the Actus Reus of murder
may exist.
Omissions include: Acts of Parliament such as the Dangerous Dogs Act, if the defendant has a
public position such as in Dytham, if the defendant has a contract to act such as in Pitwood, if the
defendant voluntarily took on that duty such as in Stone and Dobinson or if they failed to minimise
the consequences of their harmful actions such as in Miller.
The reasonable person is described as being away from the mother's womb and in a sound mental
state. However if a baby survives an attack within the womb and dies after being born then the
defendant can be liable for murder. There is also the debate of whether it is murder to turn off a
life support machine; the cases Malcherek and Steel highlight this.
For a murder to be ruled murder it must be under the King or Queens peace , meaning that it
happens within their rule. For example, killing an enemy of war is not illegal but killing a prisoner
of war is.
Causation is the link between the defendants act and the criminal consequences. Factual
causation is the "But For" test ­ "But for the defendants act would the consequences have
occurred" ­ the cases for this are White and Pagett. Legal causation is the "Operating and
substantial cause" test. This stops innocent people from being convicted and includes the Thin
Skull Rule ­ Blaue, acts of the defendant ­ Roberts, and intervening acts ­ Jordan and Smith

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Rhian Nicole Mason
Malice is the desire to harm someone and this does not need to be present in the Mens Rea for
murder. For example when a loved one is terminally ill and they choose to turn off the life
Aforethought is the act of previously planning to do something, murder does not need
aforethought. An example is in the case of Vickers (1957) where the defendant intended to cause
GBH but killed their victim and was liable for murder.…read more


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