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42 Cards in this Set

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What is Mens Rea?
Mens Rea is the culpapble state of mind which is necessary, together with the Actus Reus, for a criminal offence to be commited. The mens rea requirement varies from crime to crime. Thare are 4 states of mind which separately or together can constitutue the necessary mens rea for a criminal offence.
What are the 4 states of mind of Mens Rea?
1) Intention, 2) Recklessness, 3) Negligence, 4) Blamelessness Inadvertance
What is ment by Intention?
Intention must be distinguished from motive, which is irrelevant to liability. This distinction is not always an easy one.

Authority: Steane (1947)
D was charged with broadcasting 'with the intent to assit the enemy'. He had broadcast for the endemy during WWII because of threats to his family. The CT's held that he was not guilty becuase his intent was not to assist the enemy but to save his family
What are the two type of intent?
1) Direct intent, 2) Oblique intent
Define Direct Intent
Direct intent is where the consequence is desired and the accused decides to bring it about, or to do his best to do so.
Define Oblique Intent
Oblique intent can be said to exist or be capable of existing when the accused sees the consequences as certain or virtually certain as a result of his actions and, althogh he does not positively desire it (he may in fact hope it does not happen), he goes ahead with his actions
What is the distinction between recklessness and intention?
if the D foresees a consequence as likely, or a probability, or even just a possible result of his actions, and he goes ahead with his action and the consequence occurs, the accused is said to have cuased it recklessly. Foresight of the consequence as highly likely to result is still not the smae thing as intention. Nor must the jury be told that it is. If however, the accused foresaw the consequence as virtually certain, that may lead the jury to conclude that the accused did have intention to produce the concequece.

Authority: Moloney (1985)
D and his stepfather had a shooting contest to see who could laod and fire a shotgun faster. D got his gun loaded and aimed at his stepfather first, who then challenged him to shoot, D fired and killed his stepfather. D was convicted of murder, the jury was directed that D held the necessary Mens Rea for murder. The HL quashed the verdict of guilty, substituting manslaughter, holding that only an intention to kill or to cause really serious injury would suffice for murder. Lord Bridge gave guidelines which could be given to the jury: 1) Was death or really serious injury a natural consequence of what the accused did? 2) Did the accused realise that death or really serious injury was a natural consequence of what the accused did? If the jury considered that answer to both questions was yes, that was not conclusive proff of intention byt ws something from which the jury might infer that the accused intended death or GBH.

Authority: Hancock and Shankland (1986)
D and another had dropped concrete blocks into a motorway from a bridge in order to block a taxi on the motorway which was carrying miners to work during a strike. One block struck the windscreen of a taxi killing the driver. The HL overruled the guilty verdict and replaced it with manslaughter. They found the ruling in Molohney deffective as it did not give the jury direction for probability. The HL then changed the guidelines to ask; was the consequence the natural and probable consequence of the accused actions?

Authority: Nedrick (1986)
D, pushed a lighted material through a letter box to frighten his victim, it resulted in the death of two people. The Judge directed the jury that if D realised that death was highly likely to result, then he was guilty of murder, the CA allowed D's appeal, holding the judge should have made it clear that it was for the jury to decide if D had the necessary intention.
Nedrick (1986)

Lord Lane C.J.
"...the jury should be directed that they are not entitled to infer the necessary intention uless they fell sure that death or serious bodily harm was a virtual certainty (barring some unforeseen intervention) as a result of the defendant's actions and that the defendant appreciated that such was the case"

Athority: Woollin (1998)
D lost his temper and threw his 3 month baby son on to a hard surface, thereby killing him. At trial the Judge directed the juryin accordance with Lord Lane's guidelines in Nedrick (1986). He went on, however, to say that the jury could infer the necessary intent if they were statisfied that D realised and appriciated that there was a substantial risk that he would cause serious injury. The HL quashed the murder conviction, and substituted a conviction of manslaughter, holding that the latter part of the direction was wrong.

Authority: Matthews and Alleyne (2003)
Thus if a jury finds that the defendant appriciated that death was a virtual certainty, that finding allows, but does not require, the jury to concluded that the accused intended death.

Authority: Walker and Hayles
In Woolin (1998) Lord Steyn said that intention did not necessarily have the same meaning throughout the criminal law. However in Walker and Hayles (1990) where the D's were charged with attempted murder. they dropped their victim from a 3rd floor window causing sever bodily harm. They had previously threatend to kill him. The CA held that intent had the same meaning for all offences, and there was no narrower definition applicable to attempts.
Specific and basic intent
The distinction between crimes of basic intent and crimes of specific intent is important principally in relation to a defence based on vlountary intoxication.
What is Recklessness?
Recklessness is the taking of an unjustified risk.
What are the various factors which must be considered in intentifying recklessness?
1) How likely is it that the risked consequence will occur? 2) How socially useful the acts are, 3) How easily precuations could be taken to avoid or minimise the risk

What is the test for Recklessness?
The test for recklessness is "Cunningham" (i.e. the D must himself realised the risk) It is not an objective test based on the standards of a reasonable man. Any liability based on objective terms is classed as liability for negligence.

Authority: Cunningham (1957)
D was charged un s.23 OPA 1861(offences against the persons act) with maliciously administering a noxious substance so as to endanger life. D broke a gas meter to steal the money in it, the gas seeped out into the neighbors home causing her to become ill, endangering her life. The CA overturned his conviction stating that the word 'maliciously' did not require any wickedness but did require either intention or recklessness, the latter requiring that the D had himself foreseen the possibility of the consequence occuring.

Wider test for Recklessness?
Caldwell - this is a much wider, largely objective test. It covered the situation where the risk of the consequece occurring would have been obvious to an ordinary person even though the accused gave no thought to the possibility.

HL held that a person was reckless as to a consequence if two rquirements are met.

1) the D's actions created a risk of that consequence, a risk whcih would be obvious to an ordinary prudent sober person, and 2) the D either failed to give any thought ot that possibility or else recognised that risk and nevertheless went ahead with his actions.

Authority: Caldwell (1981)
D (deliberately) started a fire at Victims hotel. He was charged with intentionally or recklessly damaging property belonging to another, being reckless as to whether the life of another would be endangered thereby.

Authority: Elliott v C. (1983)
D was a backwards 14 yr old girl that had been out all night with out food or sleep. She entered a garden shed, poured out some white spirit and lighted a match. She was charged with recklessly destroying the shed. the Magistrate found that she gave no thought as to the risk of that damage, and even if she had, she would not have been capable of appreciating it. the Div CT's held that this was irrelevant to the issue of recklessness. They applied the test in Caldwell (1981)

Cunningham OR Caldwell
Cunningham applies to offenses against the person - see: Savage, Parmenter (1991)

It also became clear that Caldwell had no place in involuntary manslaughter by gross negligences, see: Adomako (1994), nor did it have a place in RAPE, see Satnam (1984).

Caldwell recklessness did apply to the statutory offences of reckless driving and causing death by reckless driving (however these offenses where replaced by the Road Traffic Act (1991) until 2003 when the HL closed the door on Caldwell all together).

Authority: R v G and Another (2003)
two boys aged 11 and 13, entered a back yard of of shop, lit some news papers under a wheelie bin, the fire spread to the shop and other commercial premises (damage £1 million). The They where charge under the Criminal Damages Act 1971 with Recklessly damaging property belonging to another. The HL quashed their conviction, they held the decision in Caldwell had been wrong and should be departed from. By using the work "recklessly" rather than "meliciously" in the CDA 1971, Parliament had not intended a different meaning by was simply using a modern word.

See: Lord Bingham

R v G and Another (2003)
Lord Bingham's TEST
"A person acts recklessly with respect to:
1) a circumstance when he is aware of a risk that it exists or will exist;
2) a result, when he is aware of a risk that it will occur; and it is, in the circumstances known to him, unreasonable to take the risk".

The above definition was take from the Law Commission's report "A Criminal Code for England and Wales (1989, Law Com No 177)
Negligence consits of a falling below the standard of the ordinary reasonable man, and either doing something he would not do, or not doing something which he would do.

The test is "objective"

Not all negligent behaviour is criminal, relatively few crimes are defined in terms of negligence.

Main type of criminal negligence is "manslaughter" it requires "gross negligence" (see: Adomako).

other crimes of negligence: harassment, causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable adult.
Blamesless Inadvertence

What is this?
A person is blamelessly inadvertant with regard to a consequence or circumstance if he did not realise that it might exits or occur, and no reasonalble person would have so realised.
Blamesless Inadvertence

What kind of crimes can convict?
Crimes for a person in this state of mind can be found guilty in crimes of "strict liability" This is very rare
Transfered intent
The D will be liable for an offence if s/he has the necessary mens rea and committs the actus reus, even if the victim differs from the on intended.
Transferred Intent

Authority: Latimer (1886)
D aimed a blow with his belt at one person, the buckel glanced off the intended victim stricking a third party, causing seriouse bodily harm. D was liable for maliciously wounding the victim. His malice, i.e. his mens rea was transferred from his intended victim to the third party.

Limitiation to transferred intent of the mens rea: an intention to cuase GBH to X cannot be used to justify a conviction of murder of Y. - there must be a compatibility between the crime intended and the charge.
Transferreed Intent

Authority: Attorney Gen Ref No.3 of 1994
D stabbed his pregnant girlfriend with a knife, she subsequently died and D pleaded guilty to Manslaughter. Although premature the child was born alive, but shortly died thereafter due to injuries substained during the attack on the mother while in her womb. The CT's convicted D of the baby's murder, the HL overuled, stating that it is not possible to transfer an intention to cause a particular kind of harm (GBH) to the mother to justify a conviction for a different kind of harm (the baby). D was guilty not of murder, but constructive manslaughter.
Transferred Intent

Authority: Pembliton (1874)
D threw a stone at some people, he missed and broke out a store window. He was not guilty of damaging the window as he had no mens rea for that offence and the mens rea for a completely different offece could not be transferred to make him liable.
Coincidence of ACTUS REUS & MENS REA
An Offense must concide in time with the actus reus and the mens rea for there to be criminal libability.

The TEST; 1) Continuing Acts, 2) One transaction, 3) Reform
Coincidence of ACTUS REUS & MENS REA

Continued Acts
It can be said that the actus reus is a continuing act and a later mens rea can therefore conincide.
Coincidence of ACTUS REUS & MENS REA

Authority: Fagan v Metropolitan Police Commissioner (1969)
D accidently drove on to the foot of a police office, when he realised he refused to move the car. The CT's held that the actus reus of the assult was a continuing act in progress all the time the care was on the foot of the policeman. So that the subsequent mens rea could, and did, coincide with the actus reus at a later stage.
Coincidence of ACTUS REUS & MENS REA

Authority: Kaitamaki (1984)
D was charged with rape, he stated that he when he penetrated the woman he believed to have her consent, but when he realised that she objected he did not withdrawl. The PC held that the Actus Reus of rape was a continuing act, and when he relised she did not consent (thus forming the necessary mens rea) the actus reus was still in progress and the two could coincide.
Coincidence of ACTUS REUS & MENS REA

What is ment by One Transaction
The CTs have also dealt with this issue by considering the continuing events to be "one transaction" for the purpose of criminal law. If the Actus Reus and Mens Rea are present during some time of the transaction, then there can be criminal liability.

see Thabo Meli v R. (1954)
Coincidence of ACTUS REUS & MENS REA

One Transaction
Authority: Thabo Meli v R (1954)
Ds attempted to kill victim by beating him over the head, assuming that he was dead, they then dumped his body over a cliff, he substained fatal injuries from the fall and and exposure thus he died.
The Privy Council held this was all one act or a series of acts that followed through the preconcived plan of action, thus they could not be ruled upon separately. The Actus Reus and Mens Rea were present during some of the transaction, i.e. when they hit him over the head, thus they where guilty of murder.
Coincidence of ACTUS REUS & MENS REA

One Transaction
Authority: Church (1966)
CT applied the reasoning in Thabo Meli v R (1954) 'even where there was no preconcieved pland and D mistakenly thought he had killed the victim, disposing of the body in a canal (death by drowning) caused the death. Convicted of Manslaughter
Coincidence of ACTUS REUS & MENS REA

One Transaction
Authority: Le Brun (1991)
D assulted the victim, then unintentionally killed the victim when when trying to cover up his crime. CTs upheld the ruling in Church (1966)
Coincidence of ACTUS REUS & MENS REA

The Law Commission Report on Offences Against the Person and General Principles, No.218 (1994) is the most recent statement of recommended reforms in the area of MENS REA.

Intention is definded as including knowledge that a result will occur in the ordinary course of events if D were to succeed in his purpose of causing some other result.

The report's definition of recklessness has effectively been incorporated into the law by the decision in R v. G and Another (2003)