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- Definition (common law): unlawful homicide with malice aforethought.
AR: unlawful killing of RPIB under the Queen's peace (Coke).
- Unlawful: not self-defence, lawful execution, war.
1. factual causation: 'but for' test (White).
2. legal causation: operating + substantial cause (Pagett: enough that 'contributed signif icantly'; Smith). substantial: more than de minimis (Cato; Kimsey: 'more than slight or trif ling link'). must be caused by d's culpable act (Dalloway; Marchant). need not be sole cause (Benge). operating: novus actus interveniens? (Malcherek & Steel) medical negligence: v. rarely breaks chain Smith: only if 2nd wound so important that original wound 'merely part of history'; Cheshire: negligence 'so independent' + 'in itself so potent' as to cause death. intervention by victim. thin skull rule: physical/psychological abnormalities NOT break chain (Hayward: fear + exertion; Blaue: Jehovah's witness refuses transfusion) refusing medical treatment: NOT break chain if original wound still operating + substantial cause (Holland). fright + flight: foreseeable acts WILL break chain; reasonable acts will NOT.
Mackie: child fleeing from abuse foreseeable. Roberts: WILL break chain if 'so daft/unexpected' as to be unforeseeable (jumping from car to escape sexual advances). test: Williams & Davis:
1. reasonably foreseeable that some harm would result from d's action?
2. v's reaction in range that might be expected in situation (taking into a/c characteristics + 'agony of the moment')?
application unclear: just d's state of knowledge or all v's chars?
suicide: WILL break chain if done for reason other than attack on v; will NOT if original wound caused death, e.g. reopened (Dear: if injuries by d. operating + signif icant cause of death). N.B. Kennedy [2007, HoL]: voluntary + informed act of v. WILL break chain (injecting drugs supplied by d.) intervention by 3rd party: WILL break chain if 3rd party act 'free, deliberate + informed' (Pagett: police firing in self-defence not voluntary).
- Reasonable person in being (RPIB): must be live human being (Poulton: not unborn child).
- Under the Queen's peace: not in course of war.
MR: intention to kill or cause GBH (R v Vickers).
1. direct intent: no elaboration needed: ordinary meaning - subjective aim/purpose (Maloney). motive irrelevant (Chandler v DPP): immediate intent relevant, not overall end.
2. oblique intent: (N.B. possible only in specif ic intent crimes: i.e. not where recklessness alternative MR).
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