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Mens Rea Fault Notes

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MENS REA FAULT
 Intent, Recklessness, Negligence and Strict Liability
 Legal fault must be distinguished from moral or factual fault

R v Kingston [1994] - Paedophilically inclined man's drink spiked. Committed indecent assault. CA held not morally blameworthy. HoL held this was irrelevant, its about legal fault.
 With 'malice' means either intention or recklessness (R v
Cunningham, Lord Byrne)
INTENTION
 Three types of intent:
o Direct Intention (most murder cases): aim/desire/purpose of defendant to kill or seriously injure.
o Oblique Intention: intend to bring about consequence A, as a concomitant of that consequence B occurs (i.e. the victims death) - R v Wollin.
 Glanville Williams: "you see it out of the corner of your eye."
 We are close to a substantive definition, but not there absolutely - still an autonomous decision by the jury.
o Ulterior Intention: an additional aspect to the mens rea element of a crime that represents intention to create some additional effect - relevant in Buglary
 Hyam v D.P.P. [1975] - ex girlfriend poured petrol through letter box and ignited it with matches and newspaper. Did not alert anyone. Two daughters died. Trial judge directed that for intent the jury must be satisfied that it was "highly probable that this would cause (death or) serious bodily harm."
o Appealed to HoL on basis that high probability/foresight was not sufficient to infer intent, only evidence for intent.
Conviction upheld (3-2)
o Lord Hailsham's dissent "I do not believe that knowledge or any degree of foresight is enough."
 R v Moloney [1985] - D's grandparents ruby wedding anniversary. Who can load a shotgun faster? Both drunk. Pulls the trigger without realising it was aimed at his grandfather. Trial directed jury on oblique intent.
o HoL substituted murder for manslaughter. Lord Bridge's golden rule: "the judge should avoid any elaboration or paraphrase of what is meant by intent, and leave it to the jury's good sense"
o Lord Bridge's test for oblique intent in murder:
 1) Was death or serious injury a natural consequence of the actions.
 2) Did the defendant foresee that consequence.
o Lord Bridge's examples (obiter) of oblique intent: Put a bomb on an aircraft and you intention is to claim on insurance? Or a bomb on an aircraft to garner attention for the organization.
R v Hancock [1986] - intent to frighten off non-striking miners from work. Launched concrete block of bridge killing driver. Lord
Scarman criticized Lord Bridge - probability must also be considered.
R v Nedrick [1986] - appellant set love-rival's house alight in the middle of the night killing one of the children in occupancy.
Oblique intent.
o Lord Lane CJ's key statement: not entitled to infer necessary intention unless death or serious harm was a virtual certainty and the defendant realised this.
R v Woollin [1999] - leading case on oblique intent - D threw his 3-month-old baby son on to a hard surface. The baby suffered a fractured skull and died, convicted of murder. Substituted for manslaughter in HoL
o Lord Steyn: affirmed intention to kill/GBH; Lord Bridge's golden rule, and Lord Lane's test.
o The test today: not entitled to infer necessary intention unless death or serious harm was a virtual certainty as a result of the defendant's action and the defendant realised this.
o Also stated that 'Where death or serious injury is virtually certain as a result then it is an intended result.' (This is
WRONG - see Matthew and Alleyne)
o Obiter - Lord Steyn considered terrorist example: Plant a bomb to raise publicity, bomb disposal expert is killed trying to diffuse it.
 Steyn disagrees with Bridge that this is murder, as
Lord Steyn argues it was not foreseeable as a virtually certain result.
o Criticised decision of Walker and Hayles (1990) - D
charged with attempted murder after dropping V off third floor. D held liable. Lordships felt there was not a virtual certainty.
R v Matthew and Alleyne [2003] - D's threw the victim into a river 25ft below where he drowned. Expected V to swim. CA
upheld the conviction but Trial judged had misdirected on Woolin criteria.
o Woollin criteria is a rule of evidence: a jury direction which entitles a jury to find intent if the resulting death was virtually certain; it does not require a jury to find intent from virtual certainty.
 Omerod: test therefore doesn't matter as it is just down to the jury.
Law Commission 2006 Report: Murder, Manslaughter, and
Infanticide

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