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Actus Reus (AR)
· The `guilty act'
· The act must be voluntary rather than
· Must establish that the defendant caused the
· Hill v Baxter (1958) ­ lost control of vehicle
but could be involuntary act…read more

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· Generally an omission (doing nothing) cannot
be the AR of a crime
· There are however a number of exceptions
when an omission can be the AR for a crime:
1. Statutory exceptions ­ if Parliament decides
an omission can be the AR of a crime e.g.
failing to wear a seatbelt, failing to blow into
a breathalyzer.…read more

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2. Family relationship ­ R v Downes involving a
parent and child, also applies to husband and wife.
3. Defendant assumes responsibility for a vulnerable
person ­ Stone and Dobinson (1977)
4. Duty arises from an official position e.g.
Policeman ­ Dytham (1979) had a duty to protect
public, therefore liable when they fail to act.
5. Contract duty ­ Pittwood (1902)
6. When the defendant has started a dangerous
chain of events, they have a duty to prevent harm
occurring ­ R v Miller (1983), squatter did nothing to
prevent the fire which he had caused.…read more

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Factual Causation
· The `but for' test ­ but for the defendants
actions would this have happened?
· R v Pagett (1983) the victim would not have
died, but for the actions of the defendant
· White (1910) ­ `but for' the poison the woman
still would have died, so the but for test does
not apply.…read more

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Legal Causation
· Eggshell skull rule ­ take your victim as you
find him. It does not matter if the victim is
`particularly susceptible'.
· R v Blaue (1975) ­ the peculiar susceptibility of
the victim (eggshell skull) does not break the
chain of causation.
· Malcherek (1981)…read more

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