AQA Law 03


Actus reus (AR)

- must be voluntary, except in state of affairs crimes (Winzar-drunk on highway)

- AR must coincide with MR but can be continuing (Fagan-car on pollice's foot) or series of acts (Thabo Meli-gang thought they killed man so threw over cliff, who died from exposure)

- can by by omision if there's duty to act: voluntary (Stone and Dobinson-failed to get anorexic sister help), cntractual (Pittwood-railway keeper forgot to close gate), reltionship (gibbins and proctor-parents let child starve), to put right dangerous situation (MIller-squatter set fire to mattress)

- causation: factual-'but for' test where consequence not happened but for D's actions (White-poisioned mother but she died before it could take effect) legal-de minimus rule (D's act is more than minimal) poor medical treatment wont break chain if D made significant contribution (Chesire-breathing tube complications) turning off life support wont break chain (Malcherek) chain of causation - forseeable intervening act wont break chain (Roberts-jumped to escape sexual advances) (Williams-jumped to escape stealing wallet) thin skull rule - tke V as you find them (Blaue-refused blood transfusion)

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Mens Rea (MR)

- direct intention - D's aim/purpose (Mohan)

- indirect intention - result is virtually certain and D apprehends this (Nedrick/Woolin - throws baby) Nedrick rule = jury can conclude intention was there.

- subjective reklessness - D recognises risk and goes ahead (Cunningham)

- gross negligence - S negligent (Manslaughter only) (Adomako)

- transfered malice - D intends to hit A but hits B instead so intent transfered fro A - B (Latimer - hit woman with a belt when intending to hit a man)

- coincidence of AR and MR - AR may be continuing (Fagan - car on police's foot) or series of acts (Thabo Meli - gang thought killed a man who died from exposure)

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AR - killing of a human being (foetus not unless dies from injury after being born - AG Ref) 

is a 'result crime' and D's conduct must be factual and legal cause.

MR - intention to kill or cause GBH (Vickers)

must be done with malice aforethought (intention) may be done with direct intent where is purpose (mohan) or indirec where its virtually certain result will happen (Nedrick/Woolin)

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Law commission recommended 3-tier structure which could address:

- 1st degree murder

- 2nd degree murder

- manslaughter

recommendations havent been taken up by government 

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Voluntary Manslaughter - Loss of control

replaces provocation in s 54/55 Coroners and Justice Act 2009

s54 - must be loss of control, not just self-restraint (Cocker-D gave wife pills to help end her life)

s54(2) - no longer needs to be sudden (Thornton - waited till hsband sleeping before killing him)

s54(4) - defence not allowed if D acted in desire for revenge

s55 - qualifying triggers: violence need not be directed at D (Pearson-D killed dad when violence directed at brother), things done/said need to be 'extremely grave'(Doughty-crying of baby isn't extremely grave

s55(6) - excluded triggers: if things done/said constituted sexual infidelity and situations where D incited fear to have the excuse of using violence.

- would person of D's sex/age have reacted the same? (Holley-D alcoholic and killed GF whilst drunk after finding out she cheated and her taumenting him - was judged against ordinary powers of self control of same sex/age, alcoholism not important matter. is an objetive test and even if jury accepts normal person would have lost control, if believe person wouldn't have reacted in same way then defence will fail)

 s54(3) - D's circumstances is a refrence, several other factors considerred such as: history of abuse (Thornton), sexual infidelity is disregareded as trigger but still considered as circumstance (Clinton) things that made D lose control more easily e.g. drunk/aggressive by nature are excluded.

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Voluntary mansluaughter - Diminished responsibilit

Homicide Act 1957

- abnormality of mental functioning (Byrne-state of mind different from ordinary that reasonable man would find abnormal)

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involuntary manslaughter - gross negligence mansla

rules clarified in Adomako where an anaethiest failed to moniter patient during op who died later. to prove GNM must be:

-risk of death - (Misra - confirmed Adomako that risk of death needed, not just risk of harm)

-duty of care - (Wacker - judge reffered to 'ordinary principles of negligence) (stone&dobinson-no MR for murer but guilty of gross negligence manslaughter as duty to sister taken vouluntarily)

-breach of duty - D failes to reach standard of care expected (stone&dobinson-expected to do more to care for sister so breached duty) jury must consider if D sufficiently negligent regarding risk of death to justify criminal liability.

-gross negligence as regards that breach that must be sufficient to justify liability.

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involuntary manslaughter - unlawful act manslaught

- unlawful act - must be crime (Lamb) that's an act, not omission. (Khan and Khan - suppliers didnt get help for someone who overdosed on heroim, didnt amount to UAM as there's no act only omission to get help.

- which is dangerous - objective test (Church) is whether resonable person would see risk of 'some harm' (not just fear) resulting from act (Dawson)

- causes death - factually ('but for' D's actions, consequence V not died) legally (D made significant contribution to death, nothing broke chain)

if V self-administers drug, supplier not liable if V died as it breaks chain. must be an active participation for D to be liable.

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Non-fatal offences against the person - Assault

assault and battery together are called 'common assault' Criminal justice act 1988 s39 classifies them as summary offence.


AR - to cause someone to apprehend immediate unlawful personal violence (irelans - silent calls) (Constanza - stalking) (tuberville v savage - words can annul an assault) (lamb - if other person not afraid there's no assault) (smith v chief superintendant of working police station - peeping tom looked through V's window)

MR - intention/reklessness as to cause V to apprehend unlawful immediate violence

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non-fatal offences against the person - battery


AR - application of unlawful force to another (Thomas - force can be slight - touching clothes) (fagan - continuing act - car on policemans foot) (DPP v K - indirect - acid in hand dryer) (Haystead - indirect - man punched woman who dropped baby) cannot be by omission. (collins v willcock - officer held womans arm unlawfully) if V consents it will make it lawful. consent can be implied (contact sports e.g. rugby and surgical procedures, dentist) acting in self-defence makes force lawful.

MR - intent/subjective reklessness as to unlawful force being applied and D must intend/see risk of unlwul force being applied to another.

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non-fatal offences against the person - assault oc

s47 Offfences against the persons act 1861:

AR - must be assault/battery, more than trivial (Chan Fook) and can incluse psychiatric harm but is more than fear (Chan fook) (DPP v Smith - cutting off ponytail is sufficient) must 'occasion' in the harm

MR - intention/subjective reklessness for assault/battery, D not be rekless as to any harm (Savage)

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non-fatal offences against the person - Grievous b

'unlawwfully and maliciously wound/inflict any grievous bodily harm upon any other person,with or without any weapon/instrument

AR - wound requires break in skin (Eisenhower) really serious harm (Smith) but serious may be enough (Saunders) (burstow - harassement caused severe depressive illness, HOL said serious psychiatric can be GBH) 

joint appeals of ireland and burstow said there's no difference between cause (s18) and inflict (s20) (bollom-baby suferred bruising that would normally be ABH but to a young child is GBH)

MR - 'maliciously' meaning with intent/subjective reklessness, no need to see risk of serious harm onky some harm (Mowatt - knocked to floor and punched, intending relly serious harm)

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non-fatal offences against the person - Grievous b

'unlawfully and maliciously by any means whatsoever wound or cause any grievous bodily harm to any person with intent to do some grievous bodily harm to any person'

AR - same as s20 - D's act must wound or cause serious harm

MR - with intent to do some grievous bodily harm, intention needed reklessness isn't enough (Saunders) applies for murder (NedrickWoolin) 

includes intent to resist arrest where no need to intend serious harm. reklessness is enough aslong as intent to resist arrest.

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defences - insanity (insane automatism)

came from M'Naughten case where everyone pressumed to be sane but insanity may be proved if, at the time of committing the act the defendant was 'labouring under such a defect of reason from disese of mind as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing or if he did know, he didn't know it was wrong'

- defect of reason - D is unable to reason at time of offence, temporary absentmindedness isn't enough (clarke-absentmindedly took items from supermarket while depressed)

- disease of mind - defect of reason must be caused by diseaseof mind which is a legal concept to be decided by a judge. court distinguished between internal Iinsanity) and exernal factors (automatism)

- not knowing nature of act - whether D understands nature of act which caused offfence (Burgess-didn't know nature of actions as sleepwalking) (sullivan-didn't understand wat doing as hit out during epileptic fit) (kemp-didn't understand nature due to lapse of conciousness)

- not knowing it was wrong - D didn't know act was legally wrong, even if has defect of reason caused by disease of mind but knew act legally wrong then defence fails. (windle-D killed wife with an overdose and said 'i suppose they'll hang me for this' showing he knew what he did was wrong.

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defences - insanity (insane automatism)

insanity and intoxication - if defect of reason comes via drink/drugs then defence fails. if comes from alcoholism then could succeed as can be classified as 'disease'

defence succeeding - special verdict of not guilty by reasons of insanity and judge gives order as appropriate. Criminal procedure Act 1991 increased the judges powers as can now be: hospital order, guardianship order, supervisory treatment order, absolute discharge. unless is murder then hospital order is only option.

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defences - automatism (non-insane automatism)

defined in Bratty v AG northern ireland as an act 'done by the muscles without any conrol by the mind sich as spasm/reflex by a person who isn't concious of what he's doing' in the case D killed girl during epileptic fit.

- D had no control in that act was involuntary - loss of control must be complete (AG ref - D killed 2 people when lorry crashed, evidence showed he had some control)

- was due to an external factor - (Hill v baxter - hypothetical swarm of bees caused car to crash) (quick - insulin is external factor so defence was automatism)

- if automitism self-induced the defence fails - D took drugs/drink that caused action then defence fails. (hardie - D set fire to bedroom after taking valium. distinction made between drugs suposed to calm and then unpredictable drugs) (lipman - voluntarily took LSD which is unpredictable) (bailey - diabetic failed to eat and hit man over head with iron bar)

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defences - intoxication

rarey succeeds but may if negates MR. (dowds-rules on intoxication apply to all defences caused by drugs or other substances as well as alcohol.

- whether cirme of specific or basic intent - (Majewski) specific intent crime where MR intent only. (Lipman-taken drugs so had no MR for murder (specific inent) but guilty of manslaughter (basic inent - where MR includes reklessness - Majewski - took drink/drugs when commmited ABH) ( AG for northern ireland v gallagher - D bought knife to kill wife and bottle of whiskey gave him 'dutch courage' court held drunken intent is still intent)

- intoxication was voluntary or involuntary - 

voluntary - (lipman - specific intent crime of murder but guilty of mansaughter instead - shows that specific intent crimes even if intent ist there rreklessness in taking unpredictable drugs) (Majewski - guilty of ABH basic intent crime - shows that for basic intent crimes D won't be able to use defence if intoxication voluntary)

involuntary - may succeed in both specific and basic intent crimes, may occur when drink laced with drugs or took presribed drus which had an unexpected effect (kingston- Ds coffee laced with drugs, then abused a oung boy and chargeed with indecent assault) (hardie- not rekless as didn't know drugs effects that were supposed to calm him - can be compared to Majowski and Lipman who knew the effects were unpredictable)

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defences - self-defence

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