OCR Criminal Law A2 : Attempts revision notes.


Criminal Attempts


·         Defined under S1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 as

·         “If, with intent to commit an offence to which this section applies, a person does an act which is more than merely preparatory to the commission of the offence, he is guilty of attempting to commit the offence.”

·         Actus reus- A person does an act with is more than merely preparatory to the commission of the offence

·         Mens rea- with intent to commit the offence

·         White (1910)where D tries to poison his mother to kill her is an example of where an attempted murder has been committed.

Actus Reus of an Attempt

·         In the past two tests were given the “Last act” test and the “Proximity” test.

·         Last act- has D done the last act he could do before committing the main crime?

·         Proximity test- were the defendant’s acts so “immediately connected” to the actus reus of the offence as to justify liability for an attempt?


·         After the passing of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 the defendant has to have moved to being “more than merely preparatory” to the crime proper.


·         Attorney Generals Reference (No1 of 1992)- D dragged a girl into a shed lowered his trousers and fiddled with her privates, his penis remained flaccid. Implication: D dragging girl is only merely preparatory. Lowering his trousers is only merely preparatory. Moving to interfere with her privates is more than merely preparatory for ****.


·         Gullefer (1987)- held that more than merely preparatory means D must have gone beyond purley preparatory acts and has “embarked on the crime proper.”


Cases showing mere preparation

·         Gullefer (1987)- D jumps onto a race track to make a race void so he could claim money back he had on a bet. Implication: Jumping onto a race track was only merely preparatory to theft, D would have needed to ask for his money back for an attempt to be committed.

·         Geddes (1996)- D caught hiding in a school toilet with restraining equipment and a weapon. Implication: Courts gave two pieces of criteria:

·         1. Has D moved from planning or preparation to execution or implementation?

·         2. Had the accused done an act showing the he was actually trying to commit the full offence or has he only got so far as getting ready?

·         Campbell (1997)- D was stopped outside a post office with a fake gun, a threatening note and sunglasses to mask his face. Implication: D would have had to have entered the post office for an attempt to have occurred, his actions were still only mere preparation.

·         Criticism-  If the law on attempts is to be effective in protecting the public from the main offence then surely Geddes and Campbell should have been guilty? Is it


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