AQA Law 03- Offences against the person

  • Created by: EmK123
  • Created on: 25-05-16 17:34


The unlawful killing of a reasonable creature under the Queen's peace with malice aforethought expressed or implied.


  • Defendant (D) killed: done through an act or omission, causation rules apply.
  • Reasonable Creature: Foetus (A-G reference No3 of 1994)- only reasonable creature after birth and brain people- no creatures after their brain stem ceases to have activity regardless of artificial means- (Malcherek and Steel)
  • Queen's peace- murder allowed during war but not prisoners.
  • Unlawful: if in self defence = lawful if reasonable force is used (reasonable- Beckford, excessive- Clegg)


  • Malice aforethought: Expressed- intention to kill, Implied- intention to cause GBH- (Vickers)
  • Direct intent- Mohan- desire to bring about the prohibited consequence.
  • Oblique intent- Woolin- Foresight of consequence and virtual certainty.
  • Transferred Malice- Latimer (person to person) Pembliton (person to object)

Murder defence: Diminished Responsibility- S2 Homicide Act

D won't be convicted of murder if he suffers from a abnormality of mental functioning arising from a recognised medical condition, which substantially impairs D's ability to understand the nature and quality of his actions, form a rational judgement or exercise self-control. The abnormality must also provide an explanation for D's actions.


  • Bryrne- abnormality = a state of mind so different to that of a ordinary person that its considered abnormal. 
  • Recognised medical condition: S2(1) Homicide Act- includes battered wife, depression or paranoia.

Substantially impairs:

  • Lloyd- doesn't have to be total destruction but has to be more than trivial.
  • Nature and quality includes delusions or low IQ.
  • Rational judgement includes battered wife or paranoia.
  • Self-control includes impulses and desires (Byrne)

Provides an explanation:

  • It doesn't have to be the only factor causing D's actions but must be a significant factor.
  • It must create a causal connection between the killing and the abnormality.


  • If D is just intoxicated, he can't use defence (Di Duca)
  • If D has a abnormality and is intoxicated then you just look at the abnormality (Dietschmann)
  • Alcohol Dependency Syndrome (ADS)- Stewart test- Was D suffering from a abnormality? Was the abnormality caused by ADS? Was D's mental responsibility substantially impaired?

Murder Defence- Loss of Control: S54 Coroners and Justice Act:

D won't be convicted of murder if he lost control caused by a qualifying trigger and someone of the same age and sex would have acted in the same way in similar circumstances.

Lost control:

  • Must be proved that the loss of control caused death (causation)
  • Loss of control doesn't have to be sudden (Ahluwalia)

Qualifying Trigger:

  • Fear of serious violence: the fear must be identifiable not general (Martin)
  • Things said or done: Must show they were of a extremely grave character and they caused D to have a justifiable sense of being wronged. (Doughty- Killed baby) (Zebedee- killed dad)
  • Excluded factors: Sexual infidelity and Revenge (Baillie- drug dealer threatened son)

Same sex and age:

  • Camplin- take sex and age into account.
  • Clinton- Sexual infidelity only taken as part of D's circumstances.
  • A-G for Jersey and Holly- No personal characteristic other than sex and age


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