Criminal Law - Murder and Criminal Damage Problem Essay

1371 Words Oct 14th, 2011 6 Pages
Bob decides to kill his wife, Alice. He formulates a plan to throw a very crudely made petrol bomb through Alice’s office window one afternoon while she is at work. He makes the bomb and then catches a bus to Alice’s office.

When he reaches the office block Bob climbs on a fence in order to get a better angle for his throw. He aims the bomb at Alice’s window and throws. At this point the fence collapses and the bomb bursts through the office window on the floor below Alice’s office. The subsequent explosion kills Karishma, Alice’s colleague on the floor below. Alice suffocates in the ensuing fire. Jake, a fire fighter, also dies trying to rescue Alice. The fire spreads throughout the office block, causing a significant amount of damage.
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A killing is not unlawful unless D has a legal reason to commit such a crime. Alice, Karishma and Jake do not fall under any of the lawful categories thus, his actions are unlawful.

Human life begins at birth. When the child is born alive and outside the mother that is when it is regarded as a human, the umbilical cord need not be cut. The law accepts the medical definition of death and for the offence to apply the victim/s (V) must have “brain death”. Alice, Karishma and Jake are all capable of having an existence independent of their mothers.

It is necessary that D caused the death of V and that it was done by more than a negligible amount. Alice suffocated due to inhaling the smoke, Karishma is killed by the explosion of the petrol bomb and Jake dies trying to save Alice. So Bob obviously caused their deaths by a negligible amount.

The killing of V must take place in the Queens peace. Any killing of an enemy in war time is not considered to be a criminal offence. The killings of Alice, Karishma and Jake were not committed under the Queens peace so can be classed as murder.

Murder is a result crime so, the prosecution must prove D act or omission caused V death and there was no novus actus interveniens to break the chain of causation.

Factual causation is established using the “but for” principle, the result would not have happened if it was not for D act. If this is not

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