'Principles of Criminal Liability' Cases

These cards should help you familiarise yourself with 28 court cases relating to;
~ actus reus,
~ omissions,
~ legal duty to act
~ and causation.

If you end up learning all the cases you will have plenty of examples to choose from when doing your A2 Law exams.

I tend not to learn dates of cases unless it's vital - that way I have less to try and remember, as there's so much to learn in law! However, if you do want to learn the dates, simply type the cases into Google and the dates will come up!

I have added pictures to the fronts of the cards. Use these to trigger your memory when you've looked through the cards a few times. The pictures relate to the individual cases.

Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have!
Also, if you find any mistakes, or have any ideas as to how I can improve these revision cards, please let me know!

Thank you! :)

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Leicester v Pearson

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Leicester v Pearson

 

 

Relates to: involuntary actus reus

Facts: The defendant didn't stop for a pedestrian on a zebra crossing, and hit the victim.

Law: The defendant was acquitted because his car was pushed onto the crossing by another car that hit it from behind.

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R v Larsonneur

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R v Larsonneur

 

Relates to: actus reus - state of affairs

Facts: The defendant was a French national who was asked to leave Britain. She went to Ireland who forcibly deported her back to Britain. On arrival she was arrested and charged with being an alien under the Aliens Order 1920. The defendant appealed as she wasn't taken back to the UK under her own free will.

Law: The Court of Appeal dismissed the defendant's appeal as the prosecution had proved facts necessary for conviction.

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(http://www.clker.com/cliparts/f/e/f/c/11949907341218632906beer.svg.med.png) Winzar v Chief Constable of Kent

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Winzar v Chief Constable of Kent

 

Relates to: actus reus - state of affairs

Facts: The defendant was taken to hospital where he was found to be drunk, so he was asked to leave. The police forcibly removed him and took him outside to their police car. The defendant was then arrested as being 'drunk in a public highway'.

Law: The defendant appealed as he was forced on to the public highway. The Queen's Bench Divisional Court dismissed his appeal as involuntary behaviour was not important.

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Airedale NHS v Bland

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Airedale NHS v Bland

 

Relates to: doctors' omissions

Facts: Tony Bland was put into a vegetative state after the Hillsborough disaster. His family and doctors asked to stop his treatment so that he could die peacefully.

Law: The treatment Tony had was just feeding him, which wouldn't cure him. Therefore it was not in Tony's best interests to carry on the treatment. Bland won the case.

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R v Adomako

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R v Adomako

 

Relates to: doctors' omissions

Facts: The defendant, who was an anaesthetist, failed to see that the tube put in the victim's mouth had become detached from the ventilator. The victim suffered cardiac arrest and died.

Law: The defendant was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence, as he had breached a duty of care towards the victim that caused their death.

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Donoghue v Stevenson

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Donoghue v Stevenson

 

Relates to: legal duty to act

Facts: The claimant became ill after drinking ginger beer that contained a decomposing snail.

Law: The company had to compensate the claimant, as companies owe customers a duty of care.

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R v Gibbons & Proctor

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R v Gibbons & Proctor

 

Relates to: legal duty to act - arising from specific relationships

Facts: The defendant and his common law wife failed to feed his child, Nelly, who died of starvation. The wife hated Nelly and was clearly moving the force.

Law: The defendants were responsible for Nelly, had failed to feed the child and their conviction for murder was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

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R v Pittwood

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R v Pittwood

 

Relates to: legal duty to act - arising from contractual obligations

Facts: The defendant operated a gate at a level crossing which he left open. A cart crossed the level crossing and was struck by a train, killing the cart driver.

Law: The gate keeper was convicted of manslaughter.

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R v Dytham

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R v Dytham

 

Relates to: legal duty to act - arising from a public office

Facts: The defendant was on duty as a policeman when he saw a man ejected from a club. A fight broke out where the man was kicked to death. The defendant left without helping.

Law: The defendant was found guilty of misconduct in office because he didn't protect the victim or apprehend the attackers.

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R v Stone & Dobinson

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R v Stone & Dobinson

 

Relates to: legal duty to act - voluntary assumption of duty

Facts: The defendants were husband and wife. Stone's sister, Fanny, came to live with them. She was anorexic and eventually died of malnutrition and blood poisoning. Neither defendant had sought medical help.

Law: Both defendants were found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence towards Fanny.

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R v Instan

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R v Instan

 

Relates to: legal duty to act - voluntary assumption of duty

Facts: The defendant lived with his aunt who became very ill. He didn't seek help but continued to live in the house. His aunt died.

Law: The defendant was found guilty of manslaughter.

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R v Miller

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R v Miller

 

Relates to: legal duty to act - arising from dangerous prior conduct

Facts: The defendant, a homeless person, was sleeping in a building on a mattress. When he awoke, he found that his cigarette had caused the mattress to smoulder. Instead of calling for help, he moved to another room. The fire flared up and spread.

Law: The defendant was convicted of arson; not for starting the fire, but for failing to do anything about it.

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R v Santana-Bermudez

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R v Santana-Bermudez

 

Relates to: legal duty to act - arising from dangerous prior conduct

Facts: The defendant didn't tell a policewoman that wanted to search him that he had needles in his pockets. The policewoman was then injured by the needles.

Law: The defendant's failure to tell the policewoman about the needle was enough to convict. He knew the danger and failed to take steps to avert it. Conviction was upheld.

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R v Khan & Khan

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R v Khan & Khan

 

In this case, the courts said that they may add new 'duty to act' situations as they arise.

Example: R v Wacker

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R v Wacker

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R v Wacker

 

Relates to: legal duty to act

Facts: The defendant caused the deaths of 58 illegal immigrants travelling in the back of his lorry. He failed to ensure they had air.

Law: Ordinary principles of law of negligence don't create a duty of care between those involved in a criminal enterprise.

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R v White

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R v White

 

Relates to: factual causation

Facts: The defendant wanted his inheritance early, so put arsenic in his mother's drink. She drank a little, but actually died from a heart attack.

Law: The defendant was charged with murder, but was later acquitted as he had not actually caused his mother's death. The defendant was instead found guilty of attempted murder.

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R v Thabo Meli

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R v Thabo Meli

 

Relates to: legal causation

Facts: The victim was taken to a hut by the defendants where he was struck over the head with intent to kill him. His unconscious body was then rolled over a small cliff to make the death appear to be an accident. Medical evidence showed that he had survived the fall but died from exposure.

Law: The defendants were found to be guilty of murder.

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R v Roberts

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R v Roberts

 

Relates to: novus actus interveniens - unreasonable actions of victims

Facts: The defendant and victim were travelling in a car between two parties when the defendant made advances towards the victim, who jumped out of the car (which was travelling at 20mph) and sustained injuries.

Law: The defendant was liable for the injuries to the victim as jumping out of the car was a reasonable action to foresee in the circumstances. The court added that only really 'daft' behaviour by the victim would break the chain of causation.

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R v Williams & Davis

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R v Williams & Davis

 

Relates to: novus actus interveniens - unreasonable actions of victim

Facts: The defendants picked up a hitchhiker and allegedly tried to rob him. The hitchhiker jumped from the car (which was going about 30mph) and suffered head injuries from which he died.

Law: Hitchhikers choose to put themselves at risk and his actions were deemed unreasonable, so the defendant's convictions for manslaughter were quashed.

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R v Majoram

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R v Majoram

 

Relates to: novus actus interveniens - unreasonable actions of victim

Facts: The defendant forced his way into 16 year-old Jennifer Bluett's room on the third floor of a hostel, causing her - in fear - to jump or fall (47 feet) to the ground through the window, recieving life-threatening injuries and leaving her in a wheelchair.

Law: The defendant would be guilty if such an outcome was forseeable by a reasonable person in the defendant's position - it didn't matter whether the defendant himself had actually forseen it. The defendant was found guilty of GBH.

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R v Pagett

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R v Pagett

 

Relates to: novus actus interveniens - unreasonable actions of a third party

Facts: The defendant was on the run from the police and used his pregant girlfriend as a human shield. He shot at the police and they shot back, killing his girlfriend.

Law: The defendant argued that the police's actions were enough to break the chain of causation. The jury acquitted him of murder and instead convicted him of manslaughter. The defendant's dangerous act was the cause of his girlfriend's death. The police were found to have been negligent and paid compensation to the girlfriend's family.

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R v Jordan

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R v Jordan

 

Relates to: novus actus interveniens - 'palpably wrong' medical treatment

Facts: The defendant stabbed the victim, who later died in hospital from bronchopneumonia. The bronchopneumonia was caused by an overdose of terramycin, which the victim had an allergic reaction to.

Law: The actions of the doctors caused a 'novus actus interveniens', so the defendant's conviction was quashed. A very controversial decision, which has been limited to its exact facts (this basically means the decision is not binding, and was only made because of the exact situation of this case). If it had been a normal dose of terramycin, the defendant would have been guilty.

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R v Smith

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R v Smith

 

Relates to: novus actus interveniens - 'palpably wrong' medical treatment

Facts: The defendant stabbed the victim, who was then dropped twice on the way to first aid, treated poorly by the doctors, and then died.

Law: The defendant's conviction was upheld. Despite the fact that the medical treatment was incorrect and harmful, the defendant's actions were held to be the 'operating and substantive' cause of the victim's death.

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R v Cheshire

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R v Cheshire

 

Relates to: novus actus interveniens - 'palpably wrong' medical treatment

Facts: The defendant shot the victim in an argument in a chip shop, and the victim was taken to hospital where he had a tracheotomy. 6 weeks later, the victim suffered breathing problems because of the tracheotomy scars and died.

Law: The hospital's negligence did not break the chain of causation from the shooting, as the defendant's actions contributed significantly to the victim's death, even though it wasn't the main or sole cause. The defendant was therefore found guilty.

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R v Malcherek & Steel

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R v Malcherek & Steel

 

Relates to: novus actus interveniens - switching off life support machine

Facts: The defendant stabbed his wife who was taken to hospital and put on a life support machine. She suffered two heart failures and after 10 days had irretrievable brain damage. The doctors decided to switch off the machine.

Law: The doctors' decision didn't break the chain of causation - the defendant's act could be regarded as the cause of the victim's death. The defendant was found guilty of murder.

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R v Blaue

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R v Blaue

 

Relates to: novus actus interveniens - pre-existing beliefs

Facts: The defendant stabbed the victim. The victim needed a blood transfusion but refused as this was contrary to her religious beliefs - the victim died the next day.

Law: The victim's actions were not unreasonable. The court stated the principle that the defendant takes the victim as they find them. The defendant was found guilty of manslaughter.

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R v Hayward

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R v Hayward

 

Relates to: novus actus interveniens - pre-existing medical condition

Facts: The defendant threatened his wife with violence and chased her out of the house. She died from an unsuspected medical condition aggravated by violent exercise and fright.

Law: The judge told the jury that death from fright alone, caused by a threat or violence, was enough to charge with manslaughter. The defendant was found guilty.

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R v Holland

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R v Holland

 

 

Relates to: novus actus interveniens

Facts: The defendant assaulted the victim and injured one of his fingers. The victim was advised to have the finger amputated but refused, and subsequently died of tetanus.

Law: The defendant was held to have caused the death and was found guilty.

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Comments

Get Revising Moderator 2

Superb!!

zak

do you have any cases on self defence please

thanks

jessicalucy

zak wrote:

 I haven't learnt about self-defence, sorry!

Abby

The years on these cases would be great if possible, other than that, this is the best one I've found to revise from so far <3

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