AS Law Cases - Criminal

Brief description of cases and importance

ACTUS REUS - SIDE

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Hill V Baxter

Defines Voluntary Act

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Outcome

In this case this was the example given of where a driver could not be said to be do the act of driving voluntarily. This includes where the driver lost control because he was being stung by a swarm of bees.

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R v Larsonneur

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Outcome

In this case a French woman was arrested as an illegal immigrant by the authorities in Ireland and brought back to the UK in custody where she was charged with being an alien illegally in the UK and convicted.

This was not what the reasonable man would consider acting voluntarily but it apparently fitted the courts definition.

Importance of this case is that of strict liability, being guilty for mere existence.

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R v Pitwood

Defines Contractual Duty

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Outcome

In Pitwood a railway crossing keeper omitted to shut the gates so that a person crossing the line was struck and killed by a train. The keeper was guilty of manslaughter.

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R v Gibbons & Proctor

Defines Duty arising from a relationship

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outcome

In Gibbons & Proctor a child's farther and his mistress failed to feed the child, so that it died of starvation; they were guilty of his murder

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R v Stone & Dobbingson

Defines: Duty taken on voluntarily

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Outcome

In Stone and Dobbinson Stone's elderly sister came to live with the defendants. She became ill and unable to care for herself. She died. The two defendants were convicted of manslaughter through failing to care for her or summon help when she became helpless.

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R v Dytham

Defines: Duty through one's official position

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Outcome

In Dytham a police officer witnessed a violent attack on the victim, but took no steps to intervene or summon help; instead he drove away from the scene. The officer was guilty of willfully and without reasonable excuse neglecting to preform his duty

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R v Miller

Defines: Duty from setting off chain of events

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Outcome

In Miller a squatter accidentally stared a fire. When he realised this he left the room and went to sleep in another room. He did not attempt to put out the fire or call for help. He was guilty of arson.

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R v Pagett

Factual Causation "but for"

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Outcome

In Pagett the defendant used his pregnant girlfriend as a shield while he shot at policemen. The police fired back and the girlfriend was killed. Pagett was convicted of her manslaughter.

She would have not died "but for" him using her as a shield in the shoot out.

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R v White

Factual Causation - "but for" - Opposite situation as Pagett

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Outcome

In White the defendant put cyanide in his mother's drink intending to kill her. She died of a heart attack before she could drink it. The defendant did not cause her death as "but for" him putting the cyanide in her drink would she have died? No she would not. The defendant was however guilty of attempted murder.

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R v Blaue

Legal Causation - more than a minimal cause or thin skull rule

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Outcome

In the case of blaue a young woman was stabbed by the defendant. She was told that she needed a blood transfusion to save her life but she refused to have one as she was a Jehovah's witness and her religion forbade blood transfusions. The fact that she was a Jehovah's witness made the wound fatal, but the defendant was still guilty because you have to take your victim as you find them.

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R v Smith

Legal Causation

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Outcome

In Smith, two soldiers had a fight and one was stabbed. He was carried to the medical centre but was dropped many times on the way. Once at the medical centre a medical staff member pressed on the chest making the injury worse. He died. The defendant was guilty as the the stab was the overwhelming cause of death.

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R v Jordan

Defines Where palpably wrong medical treatment can break the chain in causation.

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Outcome

In Jordan the victim had been stabbed in the stomach. He was treated in hospital and was healing well. He was given an antibiotic but suffered an alergic reaction to it. One doctor stopped the use of the antibiotic but the next day another doctor ordered a large dose of it to be given. The victim died from the alergic reaction to the drug. In this case the acts of the doctor were held to be an intervening act which caused the death.

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R v Roberts

Victims own act

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