Law02- Concepts of laibility- Introduction to criminal law- Principles of criminal liability.
In this section of AS AQA Law, we will be looking at 'causation', a key element to any crime.
Causation: establishing a casual link between the defendant's actions and the consequences. the prosecution must show that D caused the consequence.
We talk about their being a chain of causation which means establishing the chain between the defendant's actions and the injuries suffered by V. If the chain cannot be established, or is borken, then the defendant is not guilty.
We look at two tests of causation;
1. causation in FACT.
2. causatuon in LAW.
Factual causation- the 'but for' test
Here, D can only be guilty if the consequences wouldnot have happened 'but for' his conduct. If the consequence would have occured anyway, D is found to be not guilty.
R v White- D puts potassium cyanide into mother's food in attempt to kill her and gain his inheritance sooner. The poision was not enough to kill her but she did die of a heart attack. D was found not guilty because 'but for' him poisoning her, she would have died from the heart attack. The consequence was inevitable.
R v Pagett- Pagett takes 7 month pregnant girlfriend to a robbery. All is well until he begins shooting at the police, who fire back but he uses his pregnant girlfriend as a human sheild to protect himself and she dies. 'But for', Pagett using his girlfriend as a human shield, she would not have been killed therefore he is guilty.
Causation in law- the 'de minimus test'
KEY WORDS: more than minimal (de minimus), signficant contribution, culpable (deserving blame).
In R v Pagett- D was more than a minimal cause to the death of his girfriend, he made a significant contribution (using her as a human shield) so he is fully culpable.