Causation Cases

Cases for use in a question on causation

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Kennedy (2007)

He prepared a syringe of heroin for his friend to self-inject. The friend died. Not liable for murder, self-injection breaks the chain of causation

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Malcherek (1981)

He stabbed his wife nine times. She appeared to be recovering in hospital but suffered a massive heart attack that left her brain-dead. Her life support machine was therefore switched off. Guilty of murder, she was already brain-dead so switching off life support machine does not break chain of causation

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Pagett (1983)

He used his pregnant girlfriend as a shield whilst shooting at armed police. The police returned fire and killed her. Convicted of manslaughter, confirms "but for" rule

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Jordan (1956)

He stabbed a man in the stomach. A hospital treated the victim successfully. He suffered an allergic reaction to an antibiotic and was taken off it but a second doctor then gave him a larger dose which killed him. Not guilty of murder, victim died of poor medical treatment, not the stab wound

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Dear (1996)

D slashed his victim with a Stanley knife. His (suicidal?) victim did nothing to stop himself from bleeding to death. Guilty of murder, wounds were cause of death

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Cheshire (1991)

He shot a man following an argument in a fish-and-chips shop. The victim was given a tracheotomy and survived but died two months later from complications arising from the tracheotomy. Guilty of murder, action of shooting the victim cannot be regarded as insignificant and need not be the main cause of death so long as it contributed significantly

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Blaue (1975)

D stabbed a young woman. She should have survived but she refused to have a blood transfusion as she was a Jehovah's Witness. Guilty of murder, established thin-skull rule take victim as you find them

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Kimsey (1996)

D and V were racing their cars. The friend lost control of her car, crashed and died. Convicted of murder, more than a 'small or trifling link' de minimis principle

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Roberts (1971)

A girl met him at a party and accepted a lift from him to another party. He drove in a different direction. She jumped out of the car after D made sexual advances. The car was travelling at about 30 mph and she was injured. Liable for her injuries because her actions were not daft as she may have feared she would have been *****

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Smith (1959)

He stabbed a fellow soldier with a bayonet. The victim was carried to the medical centre but dropped twice on the way. He was not seen for 45 minutes and was then given CPR, since he had been stabbed in the lung this aided his death probably by as much as 75%. Convicted of murder, medical negligence not a novus actus interveniens

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Marjoram (2000)

D was part of an angry group that forced their way into a man's room in a hostel. The man jumped out of the window and suffered serious injuries. Liable for man's injuries, the man's actions were foreseeable and reasonable

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Williams and Davis (1992)

A hitch-hiker jumped out of their car, apparently to avoid being robbed of his wallet, and died of head injuries. Not liable for man's injuries, V's actions were daft using daftness test

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White (1910)

He put cyanide in his mother's drink as he was impatient to inherit, but she died of a heart attack without drinking it. Convicted of attempted murder, confirms the "but for" rule

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