Actus Reus

General Principles: Actus Reus

Potentially a full set of revision notes in regards to the actus reus of an offence.

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Absolute Liability

Two examples of 'state of affairs' (absolute liability) cases, where someone can be guilty of an offence even though their actions are involuntary is _____________________ and _______________________ .

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Absolute Liability

R v. Winzar

D was drunk as he was taken to the hospital. The police were summoned and D was removed to the street before being charged with being found drunk in a public highway.

An absolute liability offence does not require a mens rea or a voluntary actus reus.

R v. Larsonneur

D was told to leave the UK - she moved to Eire but was deported back to the UK. She was guilty under the Aliens Order 1920.

An absolute liability offence can be through a state of affairs

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Unlike France, England does not have a.......

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a General 'Good Samaritan Law'

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Omissions

You can be guilty of an offence for an omission in certain defined circumstances where a duty of care is owed.

1) You can be guilty of an offence as a result of breaking a contract; this is illustrated by the case of ________________________.

2) You can be guilty of an offence if you break the duty of care you owe because of a relationship; this is illustrated by the case of __________________________.

3) A duty of care is owed where defendants take on a duty voluntarily; this is illustrated by the case of _________________________.

4) A duty of care is owed if you are a holder of public office; this is illustrated by the case of _________________________.

5) A duty of care arrises if you set in motion a chain of events; this is illustrated by the case of _______________________.

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Omissions

1) R v. Pittwood

2) R v. Gibbins and Proctor

3) R v. Stone and Dobinson

4) R v. Dytham

5) R v. Miller; R v. Santana-Bermudez

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New Duties

New duty situations can arise, this is for the jury to determine; this is illustrated by the case of ________________&_______________.

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New Duties

R v. Khan & Khan

Ds supplied heroin to a new user who collapsed. They left and when they returned she had died.

CA Held: There could be a duty to summon medical help in certain circumstances.

The categories of a duty of care can be allowed on a case-by-case basis.

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Factual Causation

In establishing the actus reus of an offence you have to establish causation.

Factual causation is established by the ______________ test.

A good case to illustrate factual causation is: _____________________.

A good case to illustrate a lack of factual causation is: ____________________.

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Factual causation

Factual causation is established by the but for test.

A good case to illustrate factual causation is: Paggett.

D kidnapped his girlfriend and took her hostage. She was killed in crossfire by a police bullet. D was convicted of manslaughter.

A reasonable response in self defence does not break the chain of causation.

A good case to illustrate a lack of factual causation is: White.

D attempted to poison his mother; however she died of a heart attack before drinking any poison. Also: it was discovered that he did not give her enough poison.

The act must be the factual cause of V's death.

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Chain of Causation

There may be more than one act which contributes to a consequence, this is called the chain of causation.

Kimsey demonstrated that a causal link need not be substantial, but needs to be __________________________.

Blaue demonstrated that you have to take your victim as you find them; this is also called the _______________________________.

_________________________ is a break in the chain of causation.

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Chain of Causation

Kimsey

D was involved in a high speed car chase with a friend. She lost control of her car and the other driver was killed.

There may be more than one person whose act contributed to the death. The defendant can be guilty even thouh his conduct was not the only cause of death. As long as it is a more than a minimal cause.

Blaue

D stabbed a Jehova's Witness. It was thought that a blood transfusion would save her life but she refused because of her religion. D was G of her murder.

A defendant must take their victim 'as they find them'; as by the thin skull rule.

An intervening act is a break in the chain of causation.

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Medical Treatment (1)

Medical treatment is unlikely to break the chain of causation.

a) In _________________ the medical treatment made matters worse and V died, D was still guilty of murder because the treatment did not break the chain of causation as the wound was still __________________________________.

b) The case of _____________________ was distinguished from __________________ (a). There was no break in the chain of causation. D was still guilty of murder even though the wound was healing because the wound _____________________________ to V's death.

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Medical Treatment (1)

a) Smith

V was stabbed in the lung and when trying to resuscitate, his injuries were made as must as 75% worse.

D was G because the original injury was still operating and a substantial cause of death.

b) Cheshire distingguished from Smith

D has shot V; however when recovering he died of a rare complication with some surgery.

D's act need not be the sole, or even main cause of death as long as it contributed significantly.

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Medical Treatment (2)

c) Medical treatment can only break the chain of causation if it is so independant of D's acts. This is illustrated by the case of ___________________ where the medical treatment was described as _______________________________ .

d) In _____________________&_______________ Ds argued that turning off the life support machines after attacking Vs was the cause of death (i.e. broke the chain of causation). The judge said that this was _____________________________.

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Medical Treatment (2)

c) Jordan

V was given a large amount of a drug to which he was known to be allergic. There was enough to break the chain of causation

If a normal amount of a drug is administered in emergency treatment - and causes an allergic reaction (fatal) - D is G. The medical treatment was described as "palpably (disastrously) wrong."

d) Malcherek & Steel

D stabbed V in the stomach. She was on a life support machine and when it was switched off D was convicted of her murder.

Discontinuation of treatment by switching off a life support machine does not break the chain of causation. The original attacker is still liable for the death. "the defence is a spurious line of argument"

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Foreseeable Acts

If a V acts in a foreseeable way in response to a crime, their actions do not break the chain of causation, this is illustrated by the cases of _______________________ and __________________________.

If the V's response to a crime is not foreseeable then the chain of causation is broken, this is illustrated by the case of ____________________________.

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Foreseeable Acts

Roberts

V jumped from a moving car to escape D's sexual advances.

A foreseeable act by V does not break the chain of causation.

Marjoram

V jumped from a window to escape being attacked by a number of people (D included).

A foreseeable event by V does not break the chain of causation.

Williams

V, a hitchiker, jumped from D's car, travelling at 30mph, in order to escape having his wallet stolen.

V's conduct must be something which could be reasonably foreseen.

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