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Actus Reus Notes

GDL Law Notes > GDL Criminal Law Notes

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A more recent version of these Actus Reus notes – written by Cambridge/Bpp/College Of Law students – is available here.

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Actus Reus _______________________________________________________

Conduct ingredients:
? Conduct crimes (voluntary muscular movement which is criminal i.e. rape)
? Crimes of omission (failure to act is criminal i.e. child neglect)
? Result crimes (the result of an act/omission is criminal i.e. murder)
? State of affairs (state of being is criminal i.e. driving without a licence) Actus reus must be voluntarily brought about for all crimes - of course mens rea will usually not be present if an action wasn't voluntary, however even strict liability crimes need to prove voluntary action.

Crimes of Omissions General rule: no liability for omissions, even where life is in danger, except where there is a duty to act Airedale NHS v Bland Hillsborough V in vegetative state - hospital applied for declaration of legal termination of life support Held: declaration granted as although there was an intention to cause death, this was an omission which would only be criminal if there were a duty to act. Doctors' duties are based on the best interests of the patient Duties to act:Contractual duties R v Pittwood D employed to operate level crossing and forgot to put the gate down. A train collided with a cart killing train driver Held: failure to perform contractual duty to act meant liability was foundStatutory duties Road Traffic Act: duty of driver to stop & report accidentsParental duties R v Gibbins and Proctor Father & stepmother, Edith, failed to feed daughter who died

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