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The Actus Reus of Murder
Humayrah, Sabrina and Rizwana…read more

Slide 2

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AR of Murder:
The defendant committed the act or omitted to do a
legal duty. (an act or omission)
The act was deliberate.
The act was unlawful. (As opposed to killing in self
The act was a significant cause of death.
The death was of a person in being.
The Actus Reus for Murder and Manslaughter is the same, the only
difference is found in the Mens' Rea.…read more

Slide 3

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The AR of murder requires that a person is
killed unlawfully under the Queen's peace :
Queen's Peace - in times of peace rather than
war time.
Unlawful - that there is no lawful excuse or
Person means a human being.…read more

Slide 4

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What is a `Human Being?'
At what stage in the process of birth does a foetus become a person, and
at what stage in the process of death does a person become a corpse?
The courts have decided that foetuses and corpses are not persons.
As such then they cannot be
human beings and therefore cannot
be killed.
Foetus :
A child is not considered in law to be in being until the whole body of the
child is extruded from the womb and has an existence independent of
the mother.
Queen's Peace
All people are under the "Queen's Peace", except foreign enemies killed
in war.…read more

Slide 5

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R v Poulton (1832) R v Brain
The accused tied a string
The accused delivered her baby into
around the neck of her baby the world and subsequently threw
and killed it. The court held the baby into a river. Medical
that for the baby to be evidence was that the baby had
considered as a person it never breathed. The court held that
must be fully expelled from a child must be actually wholly in
the body, it is not enough the world, so a living state to be the
that the baby has breathed. subject of a charge of murder. If it is
wholly in the world and in a living
There was no medical
state it is not essential that it
evidence that the baby had breathed at the time it was killed.
been fully expelled from the Many children are born alive and
body of the mother when it yet do not breathe for some time
was strangled. after their birth.
Rizwana Khanum…read more

Slide 6

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Senior (1832)
WHAT IF THE CONDUCT D, a midwife who
attended the birth of a
WHICH CAUSED THE child. During the birth the
DEATH OF THE CHILD child's head became
OCCURRED BEFORE THE visible. D compressed and
crushed the skull of the
BIRTH OF THE CHILD child before it was fully
TOOK PLACE? expelled from the body of
the mother. The child
died immediately after it
was born as a result of
the pre-natal injury. The
court held that the
conduct of the accused
was sufficient for the
conviction of
manslaughter on the
basis of gross negligence.
Rizwana Khanum…read more

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