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Intention Notes

GDL Law Notes > GDL Criminal Law Notes

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

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our GDL Criminal Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Revision: Criminal



Mens Rea for murder = MALICE AFORETHOUGHT o

Misleading term: no requirement for malice and doesn't need to be premeditated


Even if acting on compassionate terms there will be murder - Inglis (2011) - mercy killing is no defence in English law

1. An intention to kill (express malice) OR

2. An intention to cause GBH (implied malice) - R v Vickers


GBH has the meaning of really serious harm as defined in DPP v Smith and also Saunders

Types of Intention: Direct + Oblique Direct Intent:


Where the consequence is what the defendant wants to happen - purpose/objective of him acting


Even if his chances of success are slim


Subjective test

The general rule


R v Maloney - Lord Bridge made it clear intention should be given its ordinary meaning - "desire"/"motive"


Where the aim/purpose is to commit the actus reus


Judges should refrain from giving further explanation as to the meaning of 'intention' (unless jury asks for it)

Oblique Intent:


Rare: where intent is the only form of mens rea (e.g. murder, s 18 GBH with intent) - not where recklessness is an alternative


Oblique intent is where the result is not the defendant's purpose but a side effect that he accepts as an inevitable accompaniment to his direct intention

Debate over what is required to find oblique intent: 1

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