Murder (LAW03)



AR for murder: an acts which brings about the death

MR for murder: the intention to kill or intention to cause GBH (Vickers)

Definition for murder: the unlawful killing of a reasonable creature with malice aforethought, express or implied

Intention to kill: to bring about a specific aim, objective or consequence

Indirect intention (Nedrick):

  • do they feel that death or serious injury was a virtual certainty of the D's actions; and
  • did the D foresee that death or serious injury was virtal certainty of his actions?

To find intention (Woolin):

  • be sure that death or serious injury was a virtual certainty of the D's actions
  • the D appreictaes that death or serious injury was virtual certainty of the D's actions

To infer intention (Matthews and Alleyne):

  • House of Lords confirmed that when death or serious injury is foreseeable it isnt enough for intention but it is enough to infer it
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Diminished Responsbility

  • Section 2 Homicide Act 1957 (before it was changed)
  • Section 52 Coroner and Justice Act 2009 (nowadays)

Reduces manditory sentence to a discretionary sentence

Four Elements for DR:

  • Abnormality of Mental Functioning (Byrne)
  • Recgonised Medical Condition (approved by two medical experts or classified in the World Organisation Classification Book)
  • Substantually Impairs (Egan)
  • Provides an Explanation

Abnormality of MF: 'a mind so different from that of an ordinary person that the resonable man would deem it as such' (Byrne)

Recognised Medical Condition: Eplilepsy, PTSD, Postnatal Depression, Depression, Asperger's etc

Substantially Impairs: excerise self-control, understand the nature of D's conduct, to form a rational judgement (Egan)

Provides an explanation: the abnormality of MF provides an explanation for the D's act or omission

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Diminished Responsibility with Intoxication

  • when intoxication is implyed by the jury they must disregard the intoxication and decide whether the abnormality of MF on its own would substantially impairs D's ability
  • Two questions must be asked which are: 
  • 1) Was the syndrome such that it caused the D to suffer abnormailty of MF?, if so
  • 2) Did the abnormality of MF substantially impair?

Wood: allowed to plead DR due to him having alcohol dependancy syndrome It must be that the syndrome is such a nature and extent that it constitued an abnormality of the mind

Tandy: jury must believe that the the D's relationship with the alcohol/drug goes further than the simple taking of the intoxicants and has in itself become a recognised medical condition 

Dietschmann and Gittens: jury must believe that even without the intoxicant the abnormality of mental functioning alone substanitally imparied the D's behaviour 

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Loss of Control

Section 54 and S55 of the Cornoers and Justice Act 2009 

Section 54:

  • loss of self-control
  • loss of self-control was triggered by one of the qualifying triggers
  • Objective test: 'a person of D's sex and age with a normal degree of tolerance and self-restraint would have reacted in a same or similar way to the D 

Section 55:

  • D's loss of control was attributable to D's serious violence from V against D or another identifiable person
  • was the D's loss of control attributable to a thing or things said or done which
  • 1) constituted circumstances of an extremely grave character 
  • 2) caused the D to have a justifiable sense of being seriously wronged 

Three elements:

  • lost self-control and killed 
  • Qualifying triggers
  • Objective test
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