2006 law commission report published - "Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide", setting out exisiting problems.
- Law on murder developed bit by bit, not coherent
- D can be convicted of murder, even if he just intended GBH
- No defence avaliable if excessive force used in self defence
- Durress is not avliable as a defence
- Life sentence and sentencing guidelines do not allow sufficient differentiation in sentencing to cover the wide variety of levels of blameworthiness in the current law of murder
*Note that you don't need to know all six; I've picked three to learn in depth
1 - Bit by bit development of the law
- Caused problems with meaning of "intention" (affects all specific intent offences)
- S.8 of the CJA 1967 tried to make clearer:
"A court or jury in determining whether a person has committed an offence-
a) Shall not be bound in law to infer that he intended or foresaw a result of his actions by reason only of its being a natural and probable consequence of those actions; but
b) Shall decide whether he did intend or forsee that result by refrence to all evidence, drawing such inferences from the evidence as appear proper in the circumstances
- Main problem is on the law on "foresight of consequences" (R V NEDRICK)
- R V MOLONEY ruled that foresight of consequences is not intention
- However, the later case of R V WOOLLIN threw up a few more problems. The judge stated that intention is indeed found in the foresight of consequences; therefore the law is a little uncertain.
- Is there a substantive rule of criminal law that foresight of consequences is intention, or is there only a rule of evidence that intent can be found from foresight of consequences?
- R V MATTHEWS & ALLEYNE saw the Court of Appeal say that there was little to choose between a rule of evidence and one of substantive law, thus leaving it even more unclear.
2 - Serious harm rule
- Present offence of murder is too broad
- Current law states that if a person intended to cause GBH, and thus causes the…