Law Murder example essay

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I am answering from the Jun 11 paper 

-I have highlighted every case and act I have used-

According to the scenario, Matt has died as a consequence of the first started by Harry. Therefore, the jury would be entitled to consider whether he is indeed liable for the common law offence of murder. For the jury to find Harry liable, they would need to be sure that he has the required actus reus and mens.

The actus reus of murder is taken from a quote from the Lord Justice Cooke as being the "unlwaful killing of a reasonable creature, under the King/Queen's peace". The defendants must be unlawful, and the victims death must be as a direct consequence. The jury would need to be sure that Harry's actions were voluntary (Hill v Baxter), but given that he purposely set fire to the kitchen, there is little issue on this. However, they would also be entitled to find Harry guilty under an omission, provided that it came within one of the four main exceptions. In the case of Harry, he created a problem, which started a chain of events, of which he failed to deal with responsabely (R v Miller); therefore, by falling under this exception by failing to put out the fire, or take responsability for his actions, he could be found to have this actus reus under an omission. Whilst there appears to be no issue with causation, the course would still need to give consideration for causation in fact, involving the use of the "but for" test (R v Paggett), and legal causation (R v Smith). They could perhaps take into account any possible, unmentioned novus actus intervins (R v Jordan), but again there appears to be no issue here. Therefore, the courts would be entitled to find that Harry did indeed commit the required actus reus for a murder, be it a voluntary, unlawful action or an omission.

Whilst Harry may well have the required actus reus, the courts would need to again be sure he has the required mens rea. The mens rea is defined as being "malice aforethought, expressed or implied". Expressed malice aforethought simply means the defendant went out with the intention to kill, whilst implied states that the defendant meerly intended to cause grevious bodily harm (R v Vickers). It is a little unclear when considering Harry, whether he intended the fire to cause the death of Matt, but either type of malice aforethought would find Harry in possession of the required mens rea. The real problem, however, when considering the mens rea of a murder, is the foresight of consequences. R v Nedrick raises two questions; was the otucome virtually certain, and did the defendant forsee this (these were confirmed in the case of R v Woollin)? Should the answer be no to these, then the defendant has oblique intent and cannot be found guilty. However, should the answer be yes to the…




Thanks! This has helped me alot!! :)



Great answer :)



This was very helpful, Thank you

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