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Varieties Of Fault Intention, Recklessness, Negligence Intoxication, Strict Liability Notes

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This is an extract of our Varieties Of Fault Intention, Recklessness, Negligence Intoxication, Strict Liability document, which we sell as part of our Criminal Law Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.

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Varieties of Fault Ashworth chapters 5 and 6:

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Mens rea principle says that people should be punished in relation to culpability therefore their knowledge, beliefs about circumstance etc should be taken into account. E.g. Did the boys in G know they were creating a risk?

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Some argue that in crossing a certain moral threshold one should be judged according to results, foreseeable or not (the malice principle according to Holder). E.g. in America if one commits a felony during which someone dies you can be convicted of murder, while manslaughter in the UK uses the same principle. However the American rule, Ashworth says, goes too far because technically any assault could result in murder therefore all results might as well be punishable by life sentences (wrong: we treat the result of a crime as important, not merely the situation in which one places oneself: hence a drunk driver who kills someone is guilty of manslaughter, while a driver who gets home safely gets away with it)

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Principle of contemporaneity: actus reus and mens rea must coincide. Note the exceptions where "continued action" is applied.

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Doctrine of prior fault says that acting as an automaton is not an excuse for crimes where one has placed themselves in an automaton position, e.g. by drinking too much so that one becomes violent.

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Pp.164-174 (strict liability) see cases and articles for session two

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Note possibility of multiple intentions e.g. Steane

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A consequence is directly intended if X acts in order to produce it, while a consequence obliquely (or indirectly) intended is where X acts to produce it but this may not be X's aim (e.g. Steane).

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HL decided that judges should avoid explaining intention beyond that it differs from "desire" and "motive" (Ashworth p.178) in Moloney

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In Woollin Lord Steyn concedes that intention does not have the same meaning in every criminal context. It seems that when courts have a strong moral pull one way or the other, they manipulate the concept of intention to suit the judgment they wish to find.

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Advertent recklessness: It comes from Cunningham and requires one's awareness of the risks that will be created and that the risks are unreasonable ones to take, and his going on to take those risks anyway. The problem with this

attitude is that it fails to punish those who pay no attention to risks they may create, whether this be a "couldn't care less" attitude or a "heat of the moment" attitude.

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Caldwell recklessness is where someone takes a risk that a reasonable, sober person would see as unreasonable. It takes no account of whether the risk was apparent to the perpetrators and asserts that even if someone fails to see the risk, they ought to see it. This test reverted to a subjective test in light of G. Pp.186-195 see cases and articles for session 2

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It is not enough to describe someone as reckless, they have to be described as reckless in regard to something specific.

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If I attempt to commit an offence one way, but end up doing it by another, I am said to have caused the consequence by an "unforeseen mode." If I intend to shoot X, but miss, shooting an object which falls on his head and crushes him, I have still committed murdr.

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If I intend to harm one person but through mistaken identity harm another, or if I intend to steal one painting but in fact steal another, the doctrine of mistaken object means I am still liable

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Doctrine of transferred fault / malice means that if I aim to hurt one person and accidentally hurt another, or aim to break one window but in fact break another, I am still guilty. NB like mistaken identity, it only works for transferred fault within same category (I am not guilty if I aim to throw a bottle at a person but miss and smash a window). General malice: where I shoot into a crowd and kill someone I am still guilty of murder despite not knowing who I will kill. EXAM TIP: Where transferred malice applies there may be two crimes: attempt to commit the first and the actual committing of the second.

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Minimum age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10: far lower than elsewhere in Europe

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For people who are not fit to stand trials, a new jury are called to determine whether the defendant is guilty or not. If so, the judge can admit the patient to a hospital, with or without a guardianship order, supervision and treatment order etc.

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Insanity is a defence to a crime, but the harshness of the 1991 Criminal Procedure Act forced anyone acquitted on this basis to be committed indefinitely to hospital, leading many insane defendants to plead guilty in the hope of a lighter sentence.

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