Actus reus defined.
Actus reus is defined as the guilty act.
However, there are usually considerations when determining whether there was a guilty act;
- the act appears involuntary; or,
- there has been a failure to act; an omission.
Actus Reus Cases under each term.
Hill v Baxter - involuntary acts such as sneezing, things that are out of the individuals control.
Where a person's contract requires him to act.
R v Pittwood - failed to close a gate on trainline.
Where a person's public position requires him to act.
R v Dytham - police officer failed to stop an attack and someone died.
Where an act of parliament requires him to act.
Not wearing a seatbelt when driving, neglect towards a child.
Where a person fails to minimise the harmful consequences of his act.
R v Miller - smoking and fell asleep.
Where a person voluntarily takes on a duty.
Stone and Dobinson - tried to care but didn't call doctor on anorexic sister.
When asked to explain the meaning of the term actus reus, you will need to describe:
1. the idea of a guilty act.
2. the idea of a voluntary act.
3. the fact there is no liability if there is not act.
4. the exceptions where there is liability for an omission.