Criminal Law

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Actus Reus

  • The Guilty act 
  • must be voluntary and deliberate 
  • Hill V Baxter- Only expetions if someone had heart attack or stung by swarm of bees
  • can be formed by an omission which is a failure to act 
  • only occurs in certain situations as we have no good samartins law not obliged to act 
  • arise by contractual duty- Pittwood- had a duty to close gates on a trainline, failed to do so, somebody died, charged with manslaughter 
  • Public position- Dytham- police officer owed a Duty of care to public, instead of interveining stood and watched while somebody was killed. 
  • Relationship- Gibbons and Proctor- owed daughter a Duty of care to look after her, failed to do so, resulting in her death 
  • Voluntary Duty- taking on a duty of care Stone and Dobinson, owed sister who was ill a duty of care, failed to do so, she dies. 
  • Miller- Failed to put out fire he started.
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Mens Rea

  • The guilty Mind 
  • Can be intention or recklessness. 
  • Two levels of intention, direct and indirect with direct being the higher level.
  • Direct- D to intend the act and consequence (Mohan)
  • Indirect- D to intend act but not consequence (Nedrick or Wollin)
  • Test for direct intention- 2 questions to ask jury to find direct intention:
  • 1)- Would the reasonable person foresee the outcome was a virtual certainty?
  • 2)- Did the Defendant see the outcome was a virtual certainty? 
  • (Nedrick)
  • If the answer is yes to both questions, the jury can find direct intention. 
  • Recklessness- D can forsee the risk of their actions but acts anyway (Cunningham)
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Transferred Malice

  • The act is transferred from the intended victim to the actual victim 
  • Can transfer from person to person or object to object 
  • Mitchell: Pushed the intended Victi in a que who fell into the actual Victim; an ederly lady who fell, broke her hip and died. 
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Strict Liability

  • Need the actus reus and not the mens rea 
  • Regulartory offences such as selling age restricted products (Shah) 
  • Sweet V Parsley: Under the dangerous drugs Act, it was said an element of knowledge was needed in order to be guilty, D could not be guilty as she had no knowledge of the drug use in a cottaged she rented out. 
  • Gammon- sets out the 5 principles for strict liability: 

1) Presumption of mens rea 

2) look at the statute 

3) Is it truly criminal 

4) matter of public importance or social concern

5) encourages greater care 

  • Smedleys V Bread- even though company took care checking that nothing was in the peas, catipillars still got in so it is a matter of public importance 
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  • The actus reus and the mens rea happen at the same time for liability 
  • Can be through a series of continuing events 
  • Fagan- Actus Reus came first as he initially ran over the police mans foot, though the Mens Rea happened when the defendant refused to move his car off of the police mans foot.
  • Thabo Meli- Mens Rea came first when the defendant thought the victim had died after hiting him over the head, but the Actus reus was continued when he threw the victim of a cliff and he died from exposure. 
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  • The unbroken link between the D's actions and the consequences 
  • Factual causation 'but for test' But for the defendants would the consequence have occured? 
  • White- No factual causation- But for White poisening his mothers drink would she have died anyway? the answer is yes, so he was not guilty for murder, but guilty for attempted murder. 
  • Legal causation- Is the defendant the operating and substantial cause? Smith 
  • Interveining acts- Are the Victims own actions reasonable? In Roberts they where but in Williams they weren't. -Third party actions. -medical treatment that pabably wrong (Jordan). 
  • Thin skull rule- Take your victim as you find him- Blaue, Victim died after refusing a blood transfusion due to being a jehovis witness- D was still guilty as his actions caused her to need a blood transfusion
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  • Actus Reus- For the Victim to apprehend immediate unlawful violence 
  • Apprehend- Anticipate/foresee- can be in words or actions (Logdon) or Silence (Ireland) 
  • Immediate- The violence does not have to occur straight away and the victim does not have to know how and when the violence will occur (Smith V CSI of Working Police)
  • Unlawful- For the victim to not give consent to apprehend the immediate violence 
  • Mens Rea- Intentionally or Recklessly causing the victim to apprehend immediate unlawful violence (Savage)
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  • Actus Reus- The unlawful application of force onto a person of another.
  • Unlawful- the victim does not consent to the application of force 
  • Application of force- can be the slighest of touch (Collins V Wilcock)
  • Person of another- Can include clothing (Thomas) 
  • Mens Rea- Intentionally or Recklessly applying force onto a person of another (Mohan) 
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S.47 Offences against the persons Act

  • Actus Reus- Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm 
  • Assault- common Assault (either Assault or Battery)- define the AR
  • Occasioning- causation- usual rules apply (Roberts) 
  • ABH- More than trivial (Miller) or physical/psychological harm (Chan-fook)
  • Mens Rea- Intentionally or recklessly as to the initial Assault (                    )
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S.18/S.20 Actus Reus

  • Actus Reus- The unlawful infliction of wound or Grevious Bodily Harm 
  • Unlawful- For the victim to not consent to a wound or GBH, (R V Brown) you cannot consent to GBH 
  • Infliction- Causation, usual rules apply (Roberts) 
  • Wound- To break both layers of the skin (JCC V Eisenhower)
  • GBH- Serious harm (Saunders) Or multiple injuries (Brown and Stratton) 
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Mens Rea S.20

  • mens rea- Intentionally or Recklessly causing some harm (Mowatt) 
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Mens Rea S.18

  • Intentionally causing serious harm (Belefon)
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