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31 Cards in this Set

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  • Back

(Actus Reus)

In/Voluntary Act

1) (Actus Reus has to be a) Voluntary Act

2) Involuntary Act-Cannot be guilty e.g. Hill v Baxter D attacked by swarm of bees and lost control

There is usually a Physical Act that results in a consequence which leads to the crime. GBH; doing something which results in serious bodily harm

(Actus Reus)

Omission (1)

Failure to Act where there is a duty to act.

Contractual duty-(Pittwood)=Failing to close the gate at a rail road crossing.

Failing to perform duty of public position (Dytham)=Police officer stood by while bouncer kicked man to death

(Actus Reus)

Omission (2)

-Failing to look after child where there is a duty to, because of a special relationship (Gibbons and Proctor)=Father & wife didn't feed daughter

-Failing to care for someone, after assuming responsibility (Stone v Dobinson)=Fail to take care of sister who they to in; she died

-Failing to prevent a dangerous situation one created (Miller)=Tramp sets fire to mattress.

(Actus Reus)

State of Affairs

Some crimes can exist because a state of affairs is present e.g. possession of stolen good

Larsonneur- D illegally in the UK

Winzar-In drunken state on the high way


There must be an unbroken link between D's conduct and the consequences; this is known as the chain of causation

Factual Causation

The Unlawful result would not have happened 'but for' the D's actions

(White)=D was acquitted, because even though he tried to poison his mother she actually died because of a heart attack

Legal Causation

-More than one act contributing to consequence

-D=guilty even if D's conduct wasn't the only cause of the consequence, D's actions must be more than the minimal cause;must be the operating and substantial cause.

Smith=Original wound still main operative

D only has to make significant contribution:

Cheshire=Even though wounds weren't life threatening D still guilty (though in Jordan medical treatment was the intervening act)

Intervening Acts

-Natural act=Struck by lighting

-Unforeseeable act from third party or victims own act

-If D causes V to act in a foreseeable way then the V's own act will not break the chain of causation

Williams=Not foreseeable that the hitchhiker would jump out of a moving car, when the driver tried to steal his wallet

Thin Skull Rule

D must take V as s/he finds them

Blaue=D held responsible for V's death when Jehovah's Witness refused a blood transfusion

Direct Intention

Mens Rea

MR=Guilty mind and is the mental element

Direct=D's aim, purpose or desire is to bring about the end result. e.g.

Mohan=D drove his car at a police officer who managed to jump out the way

Motive is irrelevant for intention

Indirect Intention (Oblique)

Mens Rea

D foresees that the consequence was virtually certain, even though D aimed to do something else

Woollin=D threw a baby towards a pram and the baby died when he hit the wall

Nedrick=D didn't realise that death or serious injury was virtually certain to happen as a result of the fire, hence he was not guilty of murder

Recklessness (Subjective)

Mens Rea

D realises (subjectively) that there is a risk of the end result happening but decides to take the risk

Cunningham-D didn't realise the risk when pulling the gas meter off the wall to get money out of it (although she survived). In this case he was acquitted

The risk must be an unjustifiable risk

Transferred Malice

D can be guilty of intending to commit a crime against A but actually committing the same crime offence against B

1.Person to person Latimer=D tried to hit a person with a belt, but ended up hitting another

2.MR cannot be transferred if the eventual crime is different to the one intended. Pembliton=D threw stone at V but missed and hit a window, no TM as he didn't have the MR for damage so was not liable

Coincidence of Actus Reus & Mens Rea

(Contemporaneity Rule)

Continuing Act-Intial MR, then while the MR act is still going on, the AR is formed, coinciding as in Fagan:D drove on police man's foot by mistake (AR), then refused to move (MR)

Series of Connected acts-Intial MR then a series of acts connect together form AR. Thabo Meli: D's attacked V intending to kill (MR) but had not performed the AR yet as he was still alive, but they believed him to be dead. He died of exposure after they pushed him off the cliiff (AR). Although MR & AR didn't coincide this was deemed as series of connected acts

Strict Liability

Do not require MR to be proved, they are described as no fault offences. Many concern traffic offences or breaches of health, the penalty is usually only a fine, most are quasi crimes (not real crimes in any sense). There is a presumption of mens rea

Callow v Tillstone-sold contaminated meat even though he asked the vet to examine it.

Harrow v Shah- Sold lottery tickets to a person under 16, precautions were made

Alphacell-SL offence allowing polluted matter into the river, even though they were unaware.

Advantages (Reasons for having SL) and Disadvantages of Strict Liability

+Justified in the interest of public safety and the protection against negligence

+Easier to convict without Mens Rea

+Higher standards of care

-Unfair to prosecute people who take every possible pro-causation

-Imposes guilt on those who may not really be blame worthy as in Callow v Tillstone


(Non Fatal Offences)

Summary offence=6 Months

AR=Fear of immediate application of unlawful force (Smith v Woking Police)- looking at woman through window at night

Words alone, enough-(Ireland)=Silent call

Words also cancel an assault (Turberville v Savage)='If i were not for the court i would run you through with my sword.'

MR-Intentionally/recklessly causing V to fear immediate unlawful force (Logdon)


(Non Fatal Offences)

AR=Application of unlawful force, no proof needed for harm or pain, touch is sufficient.

Direct-Fagan, Thomas-touching ones clothes

Haystead-Battery to baby when man punched woman and she dropped her baby

MR=Intentionally/recklessly applying unlawful force (Venna)

3)Actual Bodily Harm-

Section 47 Offences against the persons Act 1861

Triable either Way-5 years

AR=Assault or battery plus ABH

Chan Fook-'any hurt or injury provided it's not trival' Smith-cutting off a girl's ponytail

ABH includes psychiatric injury (not emotion)

MR=Intentionally/recklessly causing V to fear/applying immediate unlawful force

Roberts=sexual advances, girl jumped from car, he argued no risk of injury, he had MR of battery

4)Wounding or Inflicting Actual Bodily Harm

Section 20 Offences Against the Person Act 1861

Triable either Way-5 years

GBH=Serious harm (DPP v Smith) e.g. broken limbs

Psychiatric injury as long as its serious

Wounding means breaking two layers skin, not internal bleeding as in Eisenhower

MR=Intentionally/recklessly causing some harm (Mowatt). D only has to foresee some physical harm, albeit of minor character

5)Wounding or Causing Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent-Section 18 Offences against the Person Act 1861

Indictable-Life imprisonment

AR=Same as Section 20

MR=Intention to cause GBH (OR Intention to resist arrest) Belfon=D slashed V with razor;Reckless is not enough (Intention)

Summary Offence


1)Police decide bail or custody

2)Magistrates, represented by duty solicitor

3)Enter plea:

Guilty-sentence immediately or adjourn

Not-guilty-Pre-trial review

4)Magistrates will decide whether D should receive legal aid and be released on bail/custody

Either Way Offence


1)Decide custody or bail (bail act 1976)

2)First go to Mags, represented by duty solicitor

3)Plea before venue=guilty/not guilty

Guilty=Sentence at Mag or Crown court

Not Guilty=Mode of trial hearing to see if the case is to be tried at the Mags or Crown Court

5)Pre-trial review for both CC or Mags, 6)Magistrates also decide legal aid and bail



1)Decide custody or bail (bail act 1976)

2)First at Mags, represented by duty solicitor

3)Decide legal aid or bail or remain in custody

4)Transferred to Crown Court for plea and case management hearing

Guilty=Judge sentences-possible adjournment

Not Guilty=Case adjourns for witnesses and jury, jury decides guilt and judge sentences

Aims of Sentencing

1)Retribution-'just desert'

2)Deterrence:Individual=aims to prevent the offender from re offending

:General=aims to deter others

3)Rehabilitation-aims to reform through education and counselling services

4)Protection of Society=Serious offenders imprisoned

5)Reparation-Compensates victim for damage

Aggravating Factors

Set out in the Criminal Justice Act 2003

-Previous convictions for similar offences

-Offences committed whilst on bail

-Offence involves racist or religious hostility

-Offence against vulnerable victim

-Offence committed by a group

-Use of weapon

-Repeated attacks

-Offences committed under the influence

-Offence involving abuse of trust

Mitigating Factors

Criminal Justice Act 2003

-First Offence

-D is very young or very old

-D is a vulnerable offender or easily influenced

-D has expressed remorse and made efforts to compensate the victim

-D has difficult circumstances

-Pleading guilty at first opportunity reduces offence by one third

-Provocation by the victim

Types of Sentences

1)Custodial Sentences (Imprisonment)

-Immediate='so serious that neither a fine alone nor a community sentence can be justified': Life sentence or fixed term sentences

-Suspended=Not activated unless the D commits further offences in a given period of time up to 2 years

+Exceptional circumstances justify suspension

+Can be combined with a community order

Types of Sentences

2)Community Sentences

Under Criminal Justice Act 2003 the court can order one community order for a 16+ offender

-Unpaid work (40-300hrs a year)

-Supervision-Monitored by officer (up to 3 yrs)

-Prohibited Activity-e.g. not going to shopping centre if theft was committed here

-Curfew-Stay at a fixed address for 2-12 hours can last 6 months) involves electronic tagging

-Alcohol/Drug treatment

Types of Sentences

3)Financial Sentences

Fines-Max £5,000 in Mag unlimited in CC

Must take into account ability to pay

Compensation orders-Made to Victim for injuries or property damage

Types of Sentences

Discharges-Absolute-effectively imposes no penalty (technically has committed an offence but is morally blameless)

Conditional-if the offender commits a further offence in the stated period, up to 3 years, then the original offence be re-sentenced