Mens Rea: Intention

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  • Created on: 02-02-13 20:14

Mens Rea: Intention

Smith 1961

PO on bonnet killed. Ds have intention for murder if a reasonable man in similar circumstance would have contemplated the end result. Therefore, if the reasonable man would have foreseen death or serious injury, D should be convicted, regardless of their subjective view.

s.8 Criminal Justice Act 1967

The objective approach to oblique intention was severely criticised and led Parliament to pass this in order to reverse the common law objective approach to subjective. It must be more than just a "natural and probably consequence" and D must realise this.

Hyam 1975

Petrol/letterbox/children die. If death or serious injury was highly probable and D realised this, the prosecution will have established the necessary intent. This made it a subjective test in line with s.8 CJA 1967, but it was put to the jury as a rule of law

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Mens Rea: Intention

Moloney 1985- Quickfire competition killes stepdad. Convicted following Hyam. On appeal, HL stated that having foresight of the consequence is only evidence of intention. Was death/GBH a natural consequence? Did D foresee this? Subjective and rule of evidence, but omitted mention of 'probability'.

Hancock & Shankland 1986- Moloney guidelines defective as jury did nto have a measure of probability to assess likelihood of consequence. The higher the probability, the safer the finding of intention where D has denied it as D is likely to have foreseen a highly probable outcome.

Nedrick 1986 CA- Direction given before HL clarification of H&S and Moloney. Made sense of cases by giving model direction: "The jury are not entitled to infer intention unless death or GBH was a virtual certainty and D appreciated that." Subjective and rule of evidence.

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Mens Rea: Intention

Woollin 1996 CA- Baby/Wall. Trial judge used virtual certainity but also substantial risk which lowered the standard, but CA upheld. Subjective and rule of evidence.

Woollin 1998 HL- Judge had confused jury by using both tests. Substituted 'infer' for 'find': improve clarity or confuse jury over rule of evidence?

Re:A 2000- incorrectly interpreted this as meaning foresight of consequences is the same as intention. Subjective, rule of law or evidence?

Matthews & Alleyne CA 2003-Judge gave virtual certainty/find direction, but with the emphasis on it as a rule of law. CA confirmed conviction as finding of guilt was irresistible here.

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Law Commission report: Offences Against The Person and General Principles 1993 proposed that intentionally should be redefined but using "the ordinary course of events".

This would cause problems with what is meant by in the ordinary course of events? Appears to be broader than Virtual Certainity.

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