Actus Reus

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1. What is victims own act?

  • Where the act is of the victim, the chain of causation will not be broken unless the victim's actions are disproportionate or unreasonable in the circumstances - Roberts/Williams
  • If the D causes the V the act in an unforeseeable way, any injury will have been caused by the D - Roberts/Williams
  • Unlikely to break the chain unless it is so potent in causing death that the D's acts are insignificant - R v Smith.
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2. What is a novus actus interviens?

  • An interviening act that breaks the chain of causation, such as act of 3rd party, victims own actions and natural but unpredictable event.
  • An intervening act that makes the chain of causation, such as act of 3rd party, victims own act and natural but predictable event.
  • Leave the victim as you find them - R v Blaue.
  • The D can not be guilty for failing to act - Miller.

3. What is a voluntary act?

  • Hill v Baxter - if the D has not committed the act or omission voluntarily, he has not committed the actus reus at all.
  • Collins v Wilcock - if D has committed the act or omission voluntarily they can not have the mens rea.
  • Hill v Baxter - if D has committed the act or omission voluntarily, they do not have the mens rea.

4. What is factual causation?

  • The defendant must be the cause in law of the consequence. R v Smith established the operating and substantial cause test.
  • The defendant must be 'in fact' the cause of the consequence. R v Smith established the 'but for' test.
  • The defendant must be 'in fact' the cause of the consequence. R v White established the 'but for' test.
  • The defendant must be the cause in law of the consequence. R v White established the operating and substantial cause test.

5. What is an act of a 3rd party?

  • Usually comes from medical negligence, however, it is unlikely to break the chain unless it is so patent in causing death that D's acts are insignificant - R v Smith
  • Where the act is of the victim, the chain of causation will not be broken unless the victim's actions are disproportionate or unreasonable in the circumstances - Roberts/Williams

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