Part 1 Murder Revision

First part of murder revision for A2 Law

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Murder Revision- Actus Reus
Lord Coke's definition: "the unlawful Killing of a reasonable creature in being under the queen's
peace with malice aforethought express or implied".
Omissions as the Actus Reus
This is possible where the D owes the victim to act in a particular way
R V Pittwood ­ failure to fulfil a contractual employment duty can be murder
R v Miller ­ failing to prevent the spread of danger can be murder
R v Naughton- failure to prevent a crime when you are in a place of authority can be murder
A reasonable Creature
This means Human Being a murder is only committed if a human being has been killed. A foetus can
only be murdered if it is born and then dies later from the injuries if it dies while in the womb this
cannot be murder.
Attorney-General's Reference No3 of 1994
Pregnant women was stabbed her baby was born but died a couple of months later from the injuries
this was held that it is murder.
Life support machine: fully trained doctors are allowed to turn off a life support machine without
being liable for death
Malcherek- Novus actus intervenes- a new intervening act can break the chain of causation (brain
damage after heart surgery).
Under the queens peace
Killing an enemy in war is not murder but a prisoner of war could be sufficient for the actus Reus of
It must be proven that there is a direct and unbroken link between the D's act and the death;
There must be no intervening act or break in causation;
It must be proven that the D was the factual cause of death (but for test).
It must be proven that the D was the legal cause of death (operating and substantial cause).
Factual Causation- "But for test"
R V Pagett- but for the D's actions of using the victim as a human shield she would not of been killed
R V White- the defendants actions of putting cyanide into the drink was not the cause of death the
heart attack was.
Legal Causation- Operating and substantial cause

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Cato- Heroin did not have to be the cause of death but it was more than a minimal cause it
accelerated the moment of the victim's death…read more


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