Mens Rea

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  • Created on: 12-04-15 11:20
What is MR?
The mental element of a crime. A barometer of culpability that determines the level of responsibility and punishment.
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What is intention?
There must be an intention of a particular result. Intention relates to the persons aim, purpose and desire [Mohan].
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What is direct intention?
D sets out to make the prohibited consequence occur. Its an easier MR to prove although its rare.
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What happened in the case of [Smith] 1961?
A policeman was killed with a car. An objective test applied.
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What did s8 Criminal Justice Act 1967 do?
Overruled Smith and see out that the test for MR must be subjective and is based on the rule of evidence (all evidence is to be taken into account). Jury not bound to infer intent simply based on consequence being natural and probable.
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What did [Hyam] 1985 do?
Letterbomb petrol bomb causes death. HLDs - a person intends a result when he foresees is a highly probable result of his actions.
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What did [Moloney] 1985 do?
Drunken duel causes death. Judge should not elaborate on intention. Was death or serious injury a natural consequence of D's voluntary act. Did the D see this? If yes then then it is proper inference for the jury to conclude that D intended the consequenc
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What did [Hancock and Shankland] 1986 do?
Striking minors on motorway bridge. 'Probability test' - the greater the probability of a consequence occurring, the more likely it is to be foreseen, and if so, the more likely it was intended.
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[Nedrick] 1986
Letterbox petrol bomb causes death. Created the 'Virtual Certainty' Test - The jury should be directed that they are not entitled to infer intention unless they feel sure that the death or serious injury was a virtual certainty and D appreciated this was
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[Woollin] 1998
Baby thrown towards pram and dies. Confirmed Virtual Certainty Test - Changed to substantial risk, which blurred murder/manslaughter lines so it was confirmed that virtual certainty should be used. Also the word 'find' was used which would make it a rule
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[Re:A] 2000
Conjoined twins, one died. CA followed Woollin and said that foresight equalled intention. However was civil division and only persuasive.
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[Matthews and Alleyne] 2003
Man drowned after being thrown off bridge. Upheld the Nedrick Woollin test. Despite judge going too far in his direction, using the Nedrick Woolin test it was impossible that the D was not guilty.
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Reform proposal: Law Commission 1989
Draft Criminal Code - A person acts intentionally with respect to a circumstance where he hopes/knows it exists/will exist. A result when he acts either in order to bring about or being aware that it will occur.
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Reform Proposal: Law Commission 1993
A person acts intentionally with respect to a result when it is his purpose to cause it or if its not his purpose to cause it, he knows that it would occur.
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Reform Proposal: Law Commission 2004
A person intends a result if he acts in order to bring it about. If the jury need an expansion, it should be said that: an intention to bring about a result may be found if it is shown that the D thought the result was a virtual certain consequence.
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Recklessness definition
Unjustified risk taking.
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[Cunningham] 1957
Gas meter pulled off the wall sending fumes into next door house. Subjective recklessness applied to all. D did not intend to cause harm and had not taken known risk.
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[Caldwell] 1982
Fire in hotel. Changed to objective recklessness, D was so drunk that he did not realise lives might be in danger but convicted as reasonable man would have seen it. Caused confusion as caldwell applied to criminal damage cases and Cunningham to othe
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[Elliot v C] 1983
Disabled girl set fire to shed. Objective test, girl did not see risk and could not have seen it but convicted as reasonable man would have seen it.
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[R v G] 2004
Boys set wheelie bin on fire causing £1 million damage. HL quashed conviction and overruled Caldwell. Reverted to Cunningham recklessness.
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What is motive?
Not the same as intention [Chandler]
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What is transferred malice?
D intends something to happen to a person but it happens to someone else. MR can be transferred only within the same offence [Latima]
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[Latima]
D meant to hit a man who had attacked him but the belt bounced off a man and hit a woman. D was found guilty go assault on the woman.
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[AG Ref No 3 of 1994]
A man attacked a pregnant woman whose baby died of the injuries. Cannot be transferred to an unborn foetus.
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[Pembilton]
Threw a stone at a window but it hit a person. Ruled that there cannot be transferred malice for different offences.
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MR for attempted murder?
Intention to kill only [Whybrow].
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

What is intention?

Back

There must be an intention of a particular result. Intention relates to the persons aim, purpose and desire [Mohan].

Card 3

Front

What is direct intention?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What happened in the case of [Smith] 1961?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What did s8 Criminal Justice Act 1967 do?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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