The first issue is whether Stuart
be charged with homicide for the death of Nancy.
be established by observing Stuarts mental state and physical actions. Stuart
appears to have the mens rea for the crime because Stuart had oblique intention
to kill his wife. We can look
to the case of R v Moloney 19851 for oblique intention. The defendant killed his father with a gun but claimed to not
realise the gun was pointed at his father. The jury concluded he had oblique
intention and Lord Bridge set out guidance for establishing oblique intention.
The consequence must be proven to be a natural consequence of the defendant’s
actions and the defendant foresees that consequence as being a natural
consequence of his act.
clear that he directly intended and desired the result element of her death,
especially as he initially ran to her aid, however it’s reasonably foreseeable
that striking an individual in the chest with a ball at 100mph would kill them.
Furthermore, after administering the CPR for just 30 seconds, (6 minutes is
needed to be effective) he walked away, thinking he’s ‘better off without her.’
Therefore, if death or GBH was a virtually certain result of D’s actions and D
foresaw this, the jury may find oblique intention. 2
seem sufficient for liability, but there are complications. Stuarts conduct
element was striking Nancy’s chest with a tennis ball causing her to have a
heart attack starting CPR, only to stop and walk away. His basic movements at
this point satisfy the ‘but for test’ as Nancy wouldn’t have collapsed and had
a heart attack without his actions. Stuart satisfies the circumstance elements
for murder, he is human, over 18 and his victim is human. However, Stuart loses
liability when the result element is examined. It must be proven that the
result element wouldn’t have occurred without Stuart’s actions and that he is
the factual cause. Although the heart attack could’ve killed Nancy, causation
in law is problematic. The conduct must be substantial and blameworthy.
Problems emerge when the blameworthiness of D’s conduct and the result is
broken. Where a defendant acts and leaves their victim only for them to be
killed by an unforeseeable event, the chain of causation is broken. D will be
liable for harm they caused but not the death. Therefore, Stuart cannot be
liable for homicide as his conduct cannot be directly linked to the result
element due to interference from a 3rd party3. The jury should seek a charge of GBH or battery. (Offences
Against the Person Act 1861)4
issue is to establish whether Darryl is liable for the homicide of Nancy.
actions fulfil homicide actus reus requirements. His conduct element was giving
Nancy 100mg of adrenaline which stopped her heart. Darry’s basic conduct is
sufficient for liability. The circumstances are sufficient as Darryl is a human
over the age of 18 who caused the death of another human being unlawfully under
the Queens Peace. Darryl’s actions satisfy the result element for murder which
is death. His actions are casually connected both in fact and law. Darryl broke
the chain of causation, his intervention was unforeseeable to Stuart, it was
voluntary and his medical attention was palpably wrong, therefore it would be a
novus actus inteveniens 5. If bad medical aid was not substantial it will not
break the chain of causation. Only when the second cause of death is so
overwhelming as to make the original wound part of the history can it be said
that the death does not flow from the wound. 6 Therefore, Darry’s conduct would break the chain of
causation because once the adrenaline hit Nancy’s heart she died instantly and
his action completely overwhelmed Stuart’s. To establish causation, we only
need to prove that the result would not have happened in the same way “but for
D’s conduct” 7, not that D was the only cause. Therefore, despite
Stuarts contribution to Nancy’s condition, Darryl became liable when he
liability for murder when we examine his mens rea. Darryl had no intention to
kill Nancy; he was trying to give her medical aid.
although intention cannot be established, Darryl’s actions satisfy the mens rea
of negligence, leaving him open to a gross negligence manslaughter charge. Darryl’s
behaviour fell below the standard that we would expect from a normal person. We
can look to R v Bateman (1925)8 to confirm Darryl’s actions fall under gross
negligence by using the guidance set out by Lord Hewitt. As a paramedic, Darryl had a duty of care to Nancy as
a patient. Darryl’s actions will be judged against that of a reasonable person
with the knowledge of a paramedic. The jury would likely conclude that Darryl
breached this duty of care due to his actions falling below the reasonable
standard required of him. Not wearing reading glasses due to fears of looking
ugly is unreasonable behaviour, especially when reading dosages which are
crucially important to the life or death of the victim.
would charge Darryl with gross negligence manslaughter, not homicide; because
Darryl’s actions were so gross meaning there was a risk of death.9
the potential to be charged with two acts of homicide for the deaths of both
Guy and Peter.
conduct element satisfies the homicide offence. His conduct element was
striking Guy with a chair in the head, and subsequently striking Peter and
throwing his body in the river causing their deaths. The surrounding
circumstances are sufficient, as Miles was a human being over the age of 18 who
caused the death of another human being unlawfully. However, his mental health
could bring up some issues.
in fact is satisfied for both the deaths of Guy and Peter, as if Miles hadn’t
acted in the way he did Guy and Peter wouldn’t have died. This is a straight
forward satisfaction of the ‘but for test’ as Miles’ actions caused the deaths.
Causation in law is also satisfied as Miles’ actions were substantial and more
than “de minimis”10, as striking someone with a chair and throwing
someone’s body into a river will have a detrimental effect on the individual.
His actions weren’t “negligent”11 or “slight”12, furthermore it is foreseeable that hitting somebody
with a chair will cause significant harm or death, and throwing someone in the
river can foreseeably cause drowning. There were no third-party interventions
and Miles’ conduct alone was substantial, blameworthy and linked to the result.
have the mens rea (intending to cause death or GBH) 13. Miles had direct intention to cause GBH or death to
Guy when he struck him with the chair, as he aimed for that result and
purposefully carried it out. However, Miles struck Peter by accident, so it
appears he therefore wouldn’t possess the mens rea for Peter’s death. However,
as he intended to harm Guy, his subsequent harm of Peter would be considered
intentional by transferred malice, or alternative mens rea. The intention to strike Guy was transferred to Peter “under
the doctrine of transferred malice.” 14 Therefore,
Miles possesses both the actus reus and mens rea requirements for the deaths of
Guy and Peter.
conclusion, Miles is liable for both homicide offences, and will require some
argue he was defending himself; however he likely couldn’t claim self-defence
as he was intoxicated, and subsection
(4)(b) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act “does not enable D to rely
on any mistaken belief attributable to intoxication that was voluntarily
induced.” 15This was discussed in the case of Hatton16 and has been confirmed and codified within Section
76(5) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act.17 Even if Miles was sober, his use of force would
likely be considered grossly disproportionate to the force administered onto
Miles could use the defence of voluntary intoxication which is a defence to
specific intent crimes 19. To use this defence, Miles would have to prove
beyond reasonable doubt that he would not have the mens rea for this crime if
he had not been intoxicated. Although this is a valid defence, due to Miles’
past (Nancy’s death and the trauma caused) followed by his diagnosis of
paranoid schizophrenia, it’s likely the court will find that the primary cause of
Miles’ actions were his mental health problems. Therefore, although he could
satisfy the intoxication defence, insanity would likely be more convincing to
rules were set out in McNaghten (1843) 20 and confirmed in the House of Lords its judicial
capacity in Sullivan (1984) 21 Miles must suffer from a disease of the mind, which
caused a defect of reason and subsequently caused a lack of responsibility
because D did not understand the nature of their actions. Where D satisfies
these elements, even though their conduct would amount to an offence, she is
entitled to a special acquittal. D will be found ‘not guilty by reason of
insanity’ (Trial of Lunatics Act 1883)22
satisfies these requirements and could effectively argue he did not understand
the nature of his actions because when hitting Guy with the metal chair Miles
was having a hallucination that demons were flying around Guys head. This would
indicate Miles did not understand he was hitting Guy as he genuinely believed
he was striking ‘demons. We can look to the case Bratty V Attorney General 196323 to strengthen Miles’ insanity defence. The judge
stated “The major mental diseases, which doctors call psychosis, such as
schizophrenia are clearly diseases of the mind” This would reinforce Miles’
insanity defence as a paranoid schizophrenic, as this past precedent confirms
Miles schizophrenia is a disease of the mind, which is a key requirement for an
hallucination; caused by his paranoid schizophrenia could be used for an
insanity plea, and would likely be successful as it can be demonstrated beyond
reasonable doubt that Miles actions were caused by his schizophrenic
hallucinations, and subsequently he did not understand the nature of his
The first issue is whether William’s
confession should have been admitted at trial. Judges do have the right to
exclude confessions obtained by oppression, which includes: torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the use
or threat of violence 24 Officer Johnson utilised oppressive tactics in
obtaining William’s confession. His conduct of slapping William as well as
kicking him in the stomach and breaking two of his ribs would be seen as
oppression, and very extreme form of oppression at that. Therefore, the court
should not allow the confession to be given in evidence against him except in
so far as the prosecution proves to the court beyond reasonable doubt that the
confession (notwithstanding that it may be true) was not obtained as aforesaid.
25 William’s confession should be discounted regardless
of whether it was true or false due to the oppressive tactics used by Officer
Johnson. Furthermore, if Williams confession was not cautioned or tape recorded26 then it will also be excluded for those reasons. Therefore,
William’s confession should not have been admitted at trial, as it was obtained
by oppressive tactics and is subsequently unreliable.
issue is the legal issues William could use on his appeal and what process and
appropriate courts would be required. If William is convicted of an indictment;
he may appeal to the Court of Appeal against conviction27 with leave from the Court of Appeal28 or with the trial judge’s certification within 28
days of the conviction date.29 The Court of Appeal can quash D’s conviction30, dismiss the appeal31, change the offence32, or order a retrial33. Dave could follow this process if he is charged with
homicide, an indictable offence.
should appeal for unsafe conviction. 34 An unsafe conviction, in its simplest terms, is a
conviction which is not safe. Appeals against conviction are considered
applying a ‘safety’ test. If a conviction is unsafe it should be overturned. If
the over-turned conviction is considered a miscarriage of justice then no
re-trial will usually follow, whereas with convictions which are overturned
which are not regarded as miscarriages of justice will often result in a
re-trial. Unsafe convictions do not depend on proving innocence. There are many
examples of the issues that can be raised that would constitute an unsafe conviction.
They usually relate to the procedural process or the evidence presented. The
applicable issue for William is whether the Judge made any serious mistakes during
the legal rulings, such as wrongly excluding or including any evidence which
creates unfairness to the defendant. We
can point to the improperly admitted evidence if William’s confession (which
was obtained by oppression) is admitted at trial as grounds for William’s
appeal for an unsafe conviction; as the confession used for evidence would be
unfair to William due to the oppressive conduct of Officer Johnson. Therefore,
in the interests of justice, William will likely get a retrial which is fair
and just and doesn’t include any of the factors that made his original trial
unsafe, for example: the confession obtained by oppression. Any criminal trial
must be fair and must apply the law and procedure correctly irrespective of any
perceived guilt, and that is what William’s re-trial must be.
issue regards public policy implications. If Officer Johnson’s actions were proven
to be unsatisfactory and therefore condemned by the courts, it would improve
many aspects of the police service, including their accountability and the
publics faith in them, as well as promoting the right to a fair trial.35 All of these factors would lead to better justice and
equality between citizens in regards to the law. On the other hand, William
escaping criminal liability could be a danger to the public as he could
potentially rob or kill more people, and as a result he would endanger society.
v Moloney 1985 AC 905 House of Lords
v Woollin 1998 AC 82; R v Matthews 2003 EWCA Crim 192, 2003 2 Cr App Rep
v Pagett (1983) 76 Cr App R 279
Against the Persons Act 1861 (s20)
v Jordan (1956) 40 Cr App E 152
v Smith 1959 2 QB 35
v White 1910 2 KB 124; R v Pagett (1983) 76 Cr App Rep 279.
v Bateman 19 Cr App R 8
v Misra 2004 EWCA Crim 2375, 2004 All ER (D) 150.
v Kimsey 1996 Crim LR 35.
v L 2010 EWCA Crim 1249, 2011 RTR 237.
v Kimsey 1996 Crim LR 35.
v Vickers 1957 2 QB 664.
v Latimer (1886) 17 QBD 359
Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 S(4)(b)
v Hatton 2006 1 Cr App R 16
17 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (s76) (1)
Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (s76)(1)(b)
v Beard 1920 AC 479.
(1843) 4 St Tr NS 847
(1984) 1 AC 156
22 Trial of Lunatics Act 1883 (s2)
23 Bratty v A-G for N. Ireland 1963 AC 386
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (s76 (2) (a) R v Fulling (1987) 2 All ER
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (s.76 (2 (b)
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (s.76 (2) (b)
Appeal Act 1968, s 1 (1).
Appeal Act 1968, s 1 (2)(a).
Appeal Act 1968, s 1 (2)(b).
Appeal Act 1968, s 2(2).
Appeal Act 1968, s 2(1)(b), as amended by Criminal Appeal Act 1995, s 1.
Appeal Act 1968, s 3(2).
Appeal Act 1968, s 7.
Appeal Act 1968, s 2(1)(a), as amended by Criminal
Appeal Act 1995, s 1.
Convention on Human Rights, art 6.