Law reforms



Law Commission Draft Criminal Code 1989:

       - Clause 17 - liability for omission when there is a duty to act

       - Clause - 23- liability for creating a dangerous situation and not doing what is reasonable to make it stop or occuring

Creation of a common duty to act

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Law Commission 1989 - Draft Criminal Code Clause 18(b) - a person acts intentionally with respect to (a) a circumstance when he hopes or knows that it exists or will exist (b) a result when he acts either in order to bring about it or being aware that it will occur in an ordinary course of events

Law Commission 1993- A person acts intentionally with respect to a result when it is his purpose to cause it or although it is not his purpose he knows that it would occur in the ordinary course of events if he were to succeed in his purpose or causing some other result.

Law Commission 2004 - A person should be taken to intend a result if he or she acts in order to bring it about. In cases where the judge believes that justice may not be done unless an expanded understanding of intention is given, the jury should be directed as follows: an intention to bring about a result may be found if it shown that the defendant thought that the result was a virtually certain consequence of his or her action.

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Strict liability

Make every offence clear as to its MR requirements

Move to administrative law

Include defence of due-diligence

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Law Commission - Murder, Manslaughter and Infantcide 2006

- First degree murder- intends to kill/cause serious harm- aware serious risk of death

- Second degree murder - intends serious injury - not aware serious risk of death


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Loss of control

(new defence)

-wider (no need for sudden loss of control)(includes fear of serious violence)

-narrower (sexual infidelity excluded)

-tighter (things said/done of grave character)

Law Commission suggest removing the need for loss of control in situations i.e. killing in an abusive relationship

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The Law Commission 2006 Murder Manslaughter and Infantcide

-Constructive manslaughter is defined as occurring where death is caused by a criminal act which is intended to cause injury or where there is an awareness that the act involves a serious risk of causing injury

- Gross negligence manslaughter - death occuring as a result of defendant's conduct falling below what could be reasonably be expected

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