Criminal Law

actus reus, omissions, mens rea, causation, transferred malice strict liability & coincidence

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Actus Reus

latin for guilty act.

it must be a voluntary act, if it is not voluntary then you have a defence of automatism. lord denning said in hill v baxter, that whilst driving if you were hit by a stone, attacked by a swarm of bees, or had a heart attack then you would have a defence of automatism.

the only way you can be guilty but acting involuntary is if it is a state of affairs offence, as in r v winzar when a drunken man was taken from the hospital to the streets by the police in order to be arrested.

an involuntary action is described in bratty v ag as an action done without control of the mind such as a spasm, reflex or convulsion. 

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failure to act, cant usually be quilty as there is no 'Good Samaritan law' in england

statutory law duty - created by parliament in a statute- eg- stopping at the scene of a crime under the road traffic act.

common law duties are created by judges in the court, and there are a few exeptions:

contractual duty - r v pittwood - gatekeeper - failure to carry out contractual duty

voluntary acceptance of a duty - in stone v dobinson - failing to take resonable steps to take care

failure to carry out an official, public duty - dytham- wilfully and without reason failing to perform.

failure to remedy dangerous situation created by D -r v miller

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Mens Rea

latin for guilty mind

intention (most blameworthy) -

direct- where d desires consequence & sets about it - RvMohan 'a decision by d to bring about the consequences'

oblique- d says purpose is different to the result, direction given - RvWoolin 'is death or serious injury a virtual certainty, if yes, this is evidence of intent'

recklessness- where d takes an unjustified risk, or is aware they are taking a risk- subjective test- did d see the risk and take it? used in RvCunningham -gas, restored in RvG&R.

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