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R v Cunningham

[1957] 2 QB 396

Case summary last updated at 15/01/2020 07:17 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case R v Cunningham

A man wrenched the gas meter off a house to get the money inside. This caused gas to enter the next-door house and endanger the life of a woman living there. The charge involved there being a “malicious” action, which the judge directed that there was. The jury convicted him. His appeal was allowed on the grounds that “maliciousness” implies a foresight of the result and that, this being lacking, his conviction was quashed. However the courts merely assume that the man must have known the risk he was taking (because he knew the phone was made from bakelite etc) because of the circumstances. This is effectively an objective test therefore because the judges are failing to consider whether the man himself was aware of the risks he was taking, and do not prove that he was. 

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