Crimes of omission

the 6 crimes of omission

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  • Created by: Resha
  • Created on: 12-03-12 17:15

Contractual duty to act


R v Pittwood (1902) - A hay stack cart was struck by a train and the driver was killed, this was a result of the gate keeper leaving the gate open while on his lunch break. The man was paid to keep the gate shut and protect the public, therefore he is convicted of manslaughter on the ground of  criminal negligence

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Failure to act

Staute can make it an offence in difined circumstances to fail to act

Cildren and Young Persons Act (1933) - Actus reus of this offence is the failure for whatever reason to provide the child with the necessary medical care

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Assumed Responsibility


R v Stone and Dobinson (1977) - couple invited Stones sister who was anorexic to live with them,  were aware she was neglecting herself. They did nothing to assist her. 3 years later she is found dead in her bed. The cause of death was toxaemia from infected bed sores and prolonged immobilisation. Stone and Dobinson were convicted of manslaughter - they had assumed a duty of care, they could have easily called for help.

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Statute can make certain omissions an affence 


  • failure to wear a seatbelt
  • failure to stop after an accident and report it
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Creation of a dangerous situation

Liability exists where the defendant has by their own acts created a dangerous situation.


R v Miller(1983)

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Requirement to protect others

The defendent may have a particular occupation whivh requires that they act in a way to protect other people


R v Dytham(1979) police officer held guilty of a crime when he failed to perform his duty  by not protecting a citizen who was being kicked to death

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