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Criminal Notes

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Criminal Law

CRIMINAL LAW REVISION SUMMARY
General Principles of Criminal Law............................................................2
Causation....................................................................................................5
Mens Rea Fault.........................................................................................10
Intention................................................................................................10
Recklessness..........................................................................................11
Negligence.............................................................................................12
Strict Liability Offences.........................................................................13
Murder......................................................................................................15
The Sanctity of Life...............................................................................15
Murder...................................................................................................15
Voluntary Manslaughter...........................................................................17
Loss of Control (Provocation)................................................................17
Diminished Responsibility.....................................................................20
Involuntary Manslaughter........................................................................24
Unlawful Act Manslaughter...................................................................24
Gross Negligence Manslaughter...........................................................26
Reckless Manslaughter.........................................................................27
Offences Against the Person.....................................................................29
Assault and Battery...............................................................................29
Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm..............................................31
Unlawfully and maliciously wound or inflict any grievous bodily harm31
Wounding with Intend to do GBH.........................................................32
Secondary Liability...................................................................................33
Joint Principals......................................................................................33
Accomplice Liability (aid, abet, counsel or procure).............................33
Joint enterprise......................................................................................36
Withdrawal............................................................................................39
Inchoate Offences.....................................................................................40
Attempt..................................................................................................40
Conspiracy.............................................................................................41
Incitement..............................................................................................44
General Defences......................................................................................45
Consent..................................................................................................45
Self-Defence...........................................................................................46
Duress by Threat...................................................................................48
Necessity...............................................................................................50
Duress of Circumstances.......................................................................51
Automatism............................................................................................51
Intoxication............................................................................................54
Sexual Offences (In Summary).................................................................55
Property Crimes (In Summary).................................................................56

1 Criminal Law

2 Criminal Law

GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF CRIMINAL LAW


3 Mens Rea - guilty mind (MR)
Actus Rea - guilty act (AR)
Burden of Proof: Woolmington v DPP (1935)
o Set out the golden thread of the burden of proof is always on the prosecution.
o Prove beyond a reasonable doubt that that defendant committed the actus reus and mens rea.
Conduct and Fault must come together: R v Deller (1952)
o Cannot be prosecuted own a guilty mind alone if there is no actus rea.
Unknown justification: R v Dadson (1850)
o Police officer fired a shot at a trespasser, was charged with
GBH. But Larceny Act (1827) stated it was justifiable to fire on an escaping felon. PO did not know that victim was a felon. Police officer was convicted.
 G Williams argues that this was decided wrongly, as the was lawful justification even if the police officer did not know of it.
 Smith and Hogan disagree arguing that we cannot rely on such an unknown justification - view upheld in the law

Lanham argues we ought to break down crime into three elements: fault, mens rea, and the defence itself.
Comission vs Omission

R v Smith (1826) - Railway watchman took a break during which a man was hit by train. Held: Generally no liability for omission
 Williams, G: We punish misfeasance, we don't punish non-feasance

Ashworth argues that society demands more: in different areas we have and should develop areas of societal responsibility
 That reasonable steps should be taken to prevent harm

Airedale NHS Trust v Bland [1993]
 'Pulling the plug' on Hillsborough victim in PVS
 Obiter Lord Bland:
 if an interloper got into the hospital and pulled out the tubes then that would be murder as an act of commission.
 It is different when done by a Dr, as this should be viewed as an omission to continue the treatment.
 Distinguishes ending life, and not continuing life.
Six Exceptions including Liability for Commission

1) Statutory Liabilities, e.g. failing to provide a breathalyser.
o 2) Contractual Liabilities
 R v Pittwood (1902) 19 T.L.R. 37 Criminal Law
A crossing keeper left the gate open when off for lunch - someone was hit crossing tracks in their cart. Was liable to everyone who used the crossing.
o 3) Parental and Familial Liabilities
 A grey area as to when they begin and end, and how far they extend.
 Gibbins and Proctor (1918)
 Gibbon's daughter who was starved to death in the household. Gibbons as father had an obligation to his daughter. Proctor was also liable as she lived under the same roof
 But only applies in cases of a special relationship. Not brother and sister.
o 4) Assumption of a Duty of Care
 R v Stone and Dobinson (1997) Q.B. 354
 This precedent has not been followed in 43 years.
 S and D took in S's sister and agreed to care for her. She was mentally ill and vulnerable. Found dead in dreadful conditions.
 This was a voluntary assumption and a preclusion of others which led to liability for omission.
 The high water mark of liability.
 R v Ruffell (2003)
 Appelant court found one friend liable for gross negligence manslaughter for not looking after friend while high

5) Creation of a Dangerous Situation (supervening fault)
 Where you created the harm you have a duty to counteract it to protect life limb or property, hence supervening fault.
 Fagan v MPC (1968)
 D accidentally drove onto policeman's foot.
Refused to move off. Argued he had no coincidence of actus and mens. As a continuing act held laible.
 R v Miller (1983)
 Squatter fell asleep with lit cigarette, awoke to see smouldering mattress, got up and went to another room and went back to sleep.
 Lord Diplock established principle of supervening fault.
 DPP v Santana-Bermudez [2004]
 The defendant, Santa-Bermudez, had lied about the presence of sharp objects in his pocket when being searched by a female police constable and the constable was injured.
 His failure to warn her of the danger constituted the actus reus of the crime.

4 Criminal Law
R v Evans (2009)
 Generally, no murder liability for heroin dealers as break in causation.
 Evans accused of supplying a syringe to her halfsister as she came out of rehab. Did not phone for help as they were worried they would get into trouble with the authorities.
o 6) Public Office
 R v Dytham (1979)
 The defendant was a police officer. He stood by whilst a bouncer kicked a man to death.
 He was charged with the offence of misconduct in a public officer.
The Doctrine of Transferred Malice.
o When the intention to harm one individual inadvertently causes a second person to be hurt instead, the perpetrator is still held responsible.
o D's MR against third party is 'transferred' to join with the AR
committed against third party.
o R v Latimer (1886)
 A aims belt at B, hits person C. Liability transferred from B to C
o R v Pembliton [1874]
 The AR and transferred MR must be for the same offence.
 A threw stone to harm person B, hit and shattered a window. This was not within the same crime, so the malice could not be transferred from the person to the property damage.
o R v Mitchell (1983)
 D hit a man who challenged him as he queue jumped.
The man fell back onto an old lady who broke leg and later died. Under transferred malice held guilty of unlawful act manslaughter.
o A-G's Ref (No. 3 of 1994) [1998]
 Defendant stabbed his six-month pregnant girlfriend -
child was born and survived for 121-days. Child died due to premature birth and stabbing.
 Lord Taylor in CA argued it was clearly murder due to transfer of malice with intention to commit GBH -
double transfer from mother to the foetus and from the foetus to the child.
 Lord Mustill was hostile to the very idea of a doctrine of transferred malice: "an historical anachronism…a legal fiction with no basis in law."
 Guilty of unlawful act manslaughter.
o R v Gnango (2011)
 Defendant was shot at by 'bandana man', returned fire.
Bandana man's responsive shot hit a passer by. The

5 Criminal Law

6 defendant was charged and convicted of murder under the joint enterprise rules.
 By firing back he encouraged attempted murder against himself, and this transferred malice could be moved onto the actual (as opposed to attempted) murder of victim.
The Coincidence of AR and MR
o There must be a coincidence of AR and MR for liability.
o Where the AR is a continuing act it is sufficient for there to be MR at any point in the continuing act: Fagan v DPP; R v
Miller, R v Santana-Bermudez, and R v Evans)
Two theories of liability

One Transaction Theory: categorise the actions of the accused as a series of acts, making up one transaction. In certain circumstances it is enough for the defendant to have the mens rea at some time during that transaction.
 R v Thabo Meli [1954]
 Defendant lured to mountain hut and violently hit around the head with a metal bar, then rolled down the hill and left at the bottom. Victim didn't die from injuries but from exposure - thus no obvious coincidence.
 But Lord Reid argued there was liability for murder because of one transaction theory. There is liability here due to the fact we can see a series of transaction looked on as one single transaction upon which we can superimpose fault.
o Causation Theory: the act done with the mens rea (the first act) as causing subsequent acts.
 R v Church [1966]
 Mr Church and the victim were in a van for sexual purposes. The victim started mocking him and a fight ensued. He knocked the victim semiconscious. Thinking her dead, he threw her in the river (no MR at the tiem). Died of drowning.
 Edmund Davis LJ comes up with the concept of dangerousness - an act that "a reasonable people would inevitably recognize must subject the other person to, at least, the risk of some harm"
o Masilela [1968]
 South African Case
 Defendant throttled victim, thought he was dead,
subsequently set the house on fire to cover up the evidence. The victim died of carbon monoxide poising.
Guilty under one transaction theory

R v Le Brun [1992]
 Argument, man hit wife over the head, unlawful battery, he removed her from the scene in order to cover up the unlawful act Criminal Law
During this process he accidentally dropped her, she hit her head, fractured her skull and later died.
o A-G's Reference (No. 4 of 1980) [1981]
 Prosecution alleged that the defendant had pushed the victim over a handrail on the first floor. A rope was placed around the victim's neck. The victim was dragged upstairs by the rope. The body was cut up in the bath. They were distributed across England - too little left for a forensic examination.
 Had to establish fault at each step.
 court said that it was unnecessary to prove which act caused the death:
 Reed suggests this is incorrect as it does not accord with causation theory. Provided the first act was unlawful, you do not need to prove fault for all of the subsequent acts.
Mistake

Making a mistake as to an element of the AR may negate the
MR. E.g. for theft putting on the wrong coat is not dishonest.
o Ignorance of criminal law is never an excuse.
o Making a mistake re civil law may negate MR
 R v Smith (1974) tenant who did not realise that by installing speaker panels these became the property of the landlord. Therefore lacked the mens rea for criminal damage when he removed the panel.

CAUSATION

7 

Prosecution must prove both factual and legal causation.
Factual Causation: but for the actions of D, the events would not have occurred.
o R v White [1910]
 The defendant put some poison in his mother's milk with the intention of killing her. V died of unrelated heart attack before poison took effect. D only liable for attempt.
 Were the actions of D sine qua non?
o R v Dyson (1908)
 The victim, a child, had meningitis. Dyson threw her down the stairs and she died. It was argued that the child was going to die in any event, and the actions of the defendant had not caused death.
 Any action which accelerates death is a cause.

Legal Causation: D's actions must have been the operating and substantial cause of the outcome.
o R v Dalloway (1847)
 D driving horse and cart, not holding reins. A child ran out in front of the cart and was killed. The defendant was not liable as he would not have been able to stop the cart in time even if he had been holding the reins.

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