Actus Reus of murder.
Murder is the unlawful killing of a himan being with malice aforethought, it is a criminal offence and is when the defendant kills a victim.
Actus Reus of Murder
Of sound memory and of the age of discretion - the defendant must be sane and over the age of 10 years.
Unlawfully killeth - the defendants actions havw caused the death and the prosecution must prove that the defendant caused the victims death.
Within any country of the realm - British Citizen this means you can be tried for murder in the UK even if you committed murder in another country.
Any reasonable creature in rerum natura - this means a person who is born and not dead, such as a baby in the womb. CASE: Attorney General's reference No.3 (1994).
Actus Reus of murder continued
Under the kings peace - killing someone if that person was an enemy during war.
So that the party wounded or hurt dies within a year and a day - This use to mean that the person must die within a year and a day, but thhis made it difficult for the prosecution to prove causation and because of the advances in medical technology. It was abolished by the Law reform (year and a day rule) Act (1996) and was changed to any three years where any case with a gap of more than three years needed the permission of the Attorney General.
Mens Rea of murder.
- Mens Rea of murder means a malice aforethought, the defendant must intend to either kill or to cause grievious bodily harm.
- A person who carries out euthanasia is equally guilty of murder as a cold-blooded killer. This has been strongly criticised Opponents suggest it isn't fair to find a defendant guilty of murder when he or she didnt intent or foresee a loss of life. Others say if the defendant set out to cause serious harm then they must face the consequences.
- Both direct and indirect intention satisfy the Mens Rea of murder but this was only finally determind by the case: Hyam v DPP (1975).
- The Court of Appeal decided that if the defendant realisesthat death or GBH would be certain then the jury must find that he or she intended to cause the result.
Evaluation of murder.
- One problem with the law is that it has been in existence for centuries and has barely changed in that time to reflect current thinking.
- Others have changed a number of times resulting in uncertainty.
- The problems with Mens Rea is that there isn't a clear defenition of intentions resulting in juries making different decisions within cases with similar facts.
- The problem with the life sentence is that the judge is unable to pass sentences appropriate to the circumstances of the case such as a mercy killing of an ill relative.