To prove the defendant has committed the crime, the prosecution must prove a direct link between the defendants actions and the harm suffered by the victim. This is known as the 'chain of causation'
The prosecution must prove:
- The defendants conduct was the factual cause of the consequence
- The defendants conduct was in law the cause of the consequence
- There was no intervening act which broke the chain of causation
'But for' test - But for the actions of the defendant, the victim would not have suffered harm/death.
R v Pagett - Pagett shot at police whilst using his pregnant girlfriend as a human shield. The police fired back and the girlfriend was killed. 'But for' the actions of the defendant she would would not have died. Pagett was found guilty of manslaughter
Opposite seen in R v White - White put cyanide in his mothers glass of water to poison her and claim the inheritance, but before she could drink the water, she died of a heart attack. White only guilty of attempted murder as his actions didn't cause death.
As more than one person may have contributed to the consequences, the defendants actions only need to be more than a minimal cause, but doesn't need to be a substantial cause.
R v Smith - Smith stabbed another soldier in the chest and punctured…