Criminal Law - Actus Reus

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The Actus Reus is the physical element or 'doing part' of an Offence.

There are two forms : Acts and Omissions

The Act itself must be voluntary (Hill v. Baxter)- acts are the components that cause the crime. However where an act is an offence because of 'doing' something and Omission in contrast is the failure to act where a legal duty is owed. (where there is a legal obligation)

Such as:

1. Where there is a Contractual Duty - such as in R.v. Pittwood (pittwood failed in his contractual duty by leaving his post unattended)

2. Where there is a Public Office Duty- such as in R.v.Dytham (Dytham - a police officer- failed in his duty to protect the public by doing nothing to intervene or help a member of the public who was in need)

3. Where there is a Special relationship (Parent/Guardian)- such as in R.v. Gibbins and Proctor (where Gibbins allowed his daughter to starve to death)

4. Where there is a Voluntarily assumed Duty- such as in R.v. Stone and Dobinson (Where they voluntarily assumed a duty of care of…


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