The first issue is whether Stuartbe charged with homicide for the death of Nancy.Liability canbe established by observing Stuarts mental state and physical actions.
Stuartappears to have the mens rea for the crime because Stuart had oblique intentionto kill his wife. We can lookto the case of R v Moloney 19851 for oblique intention. The defendant killed his father with a gun but claimed to notrealise the gun was pointed at his father. The jury concluded he had obliqueintention and Lord Bridge set out guidance for establishing oblique intention.The consequence must be proven to be a natural consequence of the defendant’sactions and the defendant foresees that consequence as being a naturalconsequence of his act. It’s notclear that he directly intended and desired the result element of her death,especially as he initially ran to her aid, however it’s reasonably foreseeablethat 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 isneeded 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 Dforesaw this, the jury may find oblique intention. 2Stuarts actionsseem sufficient for liability, but there are complications. Stuarts conductelement was striking Nancy’s chest with a tennis ball causing her to have aheart attack starting CPR, only to stop and walk away. His basic movements atthis point satisfy the ‘but for test’ as Nancy wouldn’t have collapsed and hada heart attack without his actions. Stuart satisfies the circumstance elementsfor murder, he is human, over 18 and his victim is human. However, Stuart losesliability when the result element is examined.
It must be proven that theresult element wouldn’t have occurred without Stuart’s actions and that he isthe factual cause. Although the heart attack could’ve killed Nancy, causationin law is problematic. The conduct must be substantial and blameworthy.Problems emerge when the blameworthiness of D’s conduct and the result isbroken. Where a defendant acts and leaves their victim only for them to bekilled by an unforeseeable event, the chain of causation is broken.
D will beliable for harm they caused but not the death. Therefore, Stuart cannot beliable for homicide as his conduct cannot be directly linked to the resultelement due to interference from a 3rd party3. The jury should seek a charge of GBH or battery. (OffencesAgainst the Person Act 1861)4The nextissue is to establish whether Darryl is liable for the homicide of Nancy.Darryl’sactions fulfil homicide actus reus requirements. His conduct element was givingNancy 100mg of adrenaline which stopped her heart. Darry’s basic conduct issufficient for liability.
The circumstances are sufficient as Darryl is a humanover the age of 18 who caused the death of another human being unlawfully underthe Queens Peace. Darryl’s actions satisfy the result element for murder whichis death. His actions are casually connected both in fact and law. Darryl brokethe chain of causation, his intervention was unforeseeable to Stuart, it wasvoluntary and his medical attention was palpably wrong, therefore it would be anovus actus inteveniens 5. If bad medical aid was not substantial it will notbreak the chain of causation. Only when the second cause of death is sooverwhelming as to make the original wound part of the history can it be saidthat the death does not flow from the wound. 6 Therefore, Darry’s conduct would break the chain ofcausation because once the adrenaline hit Nancy’s heart she died instantly andhis action completely overwhelmed Stuart’s. To establish causation, we onlyneed to prove that the result would not have happened in the same way “but forD’s conduct” 7, not that D was the only cause.
Therefore, despiteStuarts contribution to Nancy’s condition, Darryl became liable when heintervened.Darryl’s losesliability for murder when we examine his mens rea. Darryl had no intention tokill Nancy; he was trying to give her medical aid.However,although intention cannot be established, Darryl’s actions satisfy the mens reaof negligence, leaving him open to a gross negligence manslaughter charge. Darryl’sbehaviour fell below the standard that we would expect from a normal person. Wecan look to R v Bateman (1925)8 to confirm Darryl’s actions fall under grossnegligence by using the guidance set out by Lord Hewitt. As a paramedic, Darryl had a duty of care to Nancy asa patient.
Darryl’s actions will be judged against that of a reasonable personwith the knowledge of a paramedic. The jury would likely conclude that Darrylbreached this duty of care due to his actions falling below the reasonablestandard required of him. Not wearing reading glasses due to fears of lookingugly is unreasonable behaviour, especially when reading dosages which arecrucially important to the life or death of the victim. The jurywould charge Darryl with gross negligence manslaughter, not homicide; becauseDarryl’s actions were so gross meaning there was a risk of death.9 Miles hasthe potential to be charged with two acts of homicide for the deaths of bothGuy and Peter.Miles’conduct element satisfies the homicide offence. His conduct element wasstriking Guy with a chair in the head, and subsequently striking Peter andthrowing his body in the river causing their deaths.
The surroundingcircumstances are sufficient, as Miles was a human being over the age of 18 whocaused the death of another human being unlawfully. However, his mental healthcould bring up some issues.Causationin fact is satisfied for both the deaths of Guy and Peter, as if Miles hadn’tacted in the way he did Guy and Peter wouldn’t have died.
This is a straightforward satisfaction of the ‘but for test’ as Miles’ actions caused the deaths.Causation in law is also satisfied as Miles’ actions were substantial and morethan “de minimis”10, as striking someone with a chair and throwingsomeone’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 somebodywith a chair will cause significant harm or death, and throwing someone in theriver can foreseeably cause drowning. There were no third-party interventionsand Miles’ conduct alone was substantial, blameworthy and linked to the result.Miles musthave the mens rea (intending to cause death or GBH) 13.
Miles had direct intention to cause GBH or death toGuy when he struck him with the chair, as he aimed for that result andpurposefully carried it out. However, Miles struck Peter by accident, so itappears 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 consideredintentional by transferred malice, or alternative mens rea.
The intention to strike Guy was transferred to Peter “underthe doctrine of transferred malice.” 14 Therefore,Miles possesses both the actus reus and mens rea requirements for the deaths ofGuy and Peter.Inconclusion, Miles is liable for both homicide offences, and will require somedefences.Miles couldargue he was defending himself; however he likely couldn’t claim self-defenceas he was intoxicated, and subsection(4)(b) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act “does not enable D to relyon any mistaken belief attributable to intoxication that was voluntarilyinduced.” 15This was discussed in the case of Hatton16 and has been confirmed and codified within Section76(5) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act.17 Even if Miles was sober, his use of force wouldlikely be considered grossly disproportionate to the force administered ontohim.
18However,Miles could use the defence of voluntary intoxication which is a defence tospecific intent crimes 19. To use this defence, Miles would have to provebeyond reasonable doubt that he would not have the mens rea for this crime ifhe 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 ofparanoid schizophrenia, it’s likely the court will find that the primary cause ofMiles’ actions were his mental health problems. Therefore, although he couldsatisfy the intoxication defence, insanity would likely be more convincing tothe jury.Insanityrules were set out in McNaghten (1843) 20 and confirmed in the House of Lords its judicialcapacity in Sullivan (1984) 21 Miles must suffer from a disease of the mind, whichcaused a defect of reason and subsequently caused a lack of responsibilitybecause D did not understand the nature of their actions. Where D satisfiesthese elements, even though their conduct would amount to an offence, she isentitled to a special acquittal. D will be found ‘not guilty by reason ofinsanity’ (Trial of Lunatics Act 1883)22 Milessatisfies these requirements and could effectively argue he did not understandthe nature of his actions because when hitting Guy with the metal chair Mileswas having a hallucination that demons were flying around Guys head. This wouldindicate Miles did not understand he was hitting Guy as he genuinely believedhe was striking ‘demons.
We can look to the case Bratty V Attorney General 196323 to strengthen Miles’ insanity defence. The judgestated “The major mental diseases, which doctors call psychosis, such asschizophrenia are clearly diseases of the mind” This would reinforce Miles’insanity defence as a paranoid schizophrenic, as this past precedent confirmsMiles schizophrenia is a disease of the mind, which is a key requirement for aninsanity defence.Miles’hallucination; caused by his paranoid schizophrenia could be used for aninsanity plea, and would likely be successful as it can be demonstrated beyondreasonable doubt that Miles actions were caused by his schizophrenichallucinations, and subsequently he did not understand the nature of hisactions.
Question 2The first issue is whether William’sconfession should have been admitted at trial. Judges do have the right toexclude confessions obtained by oppression, which includes: torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the useor threat of violence 24 Officer Johnson utilised oppressive tactics inobtaining William’s confession. His conduct of slapping William as well askicking him in the stomach and breaking two of his ribs would be seen asoppression, and very extreme form of oppression at that. Therefore, the courtshould not allow the confession to be given in evidence against him except inso far as the prosecution proves to the court beyond reasonable doubt that theconfession (notwithstanding that it may be true) was not obtained as aforesaid.25 William’s confession should be discounted regardlessof whether it was true or false due to the oppressive tactics used by OfficerJohnson.
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 obtainedby oppressive tactics and is subsequently unreliable. The secondissue is the legal issues William could use on his appeal and what process andappropriate 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 28days 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 withhomicide, an indictable offence.
Williamshould appeal for unsafe conviction. 34 An unsafe conviction, in its simplest terms, is aconviction which is not safe. Appeals against conviction are consideredapplying a ‘safety’ test. If a conviction is unsafe it should be overturned. Ifthe over-turned conviction is considered a miscarriage of justice then nore-trial will usually follow, whereas with convictions which are overturnedwhich are not regarded as miscarriages of justice will often result in are-trial. Unsafe convictions do not depend on proving innocence. There are manyexamples of the issues that can be raised that would constitute an unsafe conviction.They usually relate to the procedural process or the evidence presented.
Theapplicable issue for William is whether the Judge made any serious mistakes duringthe legal rulings, such as wrongly excluding or including any evidence whichcreates unfairness to the defendant. Wecan point to the improperly admitted evidence if William’s confession (whichwas obtained by oppression) is admitted at trial as grounds for William’sappeal for an unsafe conviction; as the confession used for evidence would beunfair to William due to the oppressive conduct of Officer Johnson. Therefore,in the interests of justice, William will likely get a retrial which is fairand just and doesn’t include any of the factors that made his original trialunsafe, for example: the confession obtained by oppression. Any criminal trialmust be fair and must apply the law and procedure correctly irrespective of anyperceived guilt, and that is what William’s re-trial must be.The lastissue regards public policy implications. If Officer Johnson’s actions were provento be unsatisfactory and therefore condemned by the courts, it would improvemany aspects of the police service, including their accountability and thepublics faith in them, as well as promoting the right to a fair trial.35 All of these factors would lead to better justice andequality between citizens in regards to the law.
On the other hand, Williamescaping criminal liability could be a danger to the public as he couldpotentially rob or kill more people, and as a result he would endanger society.1 Rv Moloney 1985 AC 905 House of Lords2 Rv Woollin 1998 AC 82; R v Matthews 2003 EWCA Crim 192, 2003 2 Cr App Rep4613 Rv Pagett (1983) 76 Cr App R 2794 OffencesAgainst the Persons Act 1861 (s20)5 Rv Jordan (1956) 40 Cr App E 1526 Rv Smith 1959 2 QB 357 Rv White 1910 2 KB 124; R v Pagett (1983) 76 Cr App Rep 279.8 Rv Bateman 19 Cr App R 89 Rv Misra 2004 EWCA Crim 2375, 2004 All ER (D) 150.
10 Rv Kimsey 1996 Crim LR 35.11 Rv L 2010 EWCA Crim 1249, 2011 RTR 237.12 Rv Kimsey 1996 Crim LR 35.
13 Rv Vickers 1957 2 QB 664.14 Rv Latimer (1886) 17 QBD 35915Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 S(4)(b)16 Rv Hatton 2006 1 Cr App R 1617 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (s76) (1)18Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (s76)(1)(b)19 DPPv Beard 1920 AC 479.20 McNaghten(1843) 4 St Tr NS 84721 Sullivan(1984) 1 AC 15622 Trial of Lunatics Act 1883 (s2)23 Bratty v A-G for N. Ireland 1963 AC 38624Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (s76 (2) (a) R v Fulling (1987) 2 All ER65)25Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (s.76 (2 (b)26Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (s.76 (2) (b)27 CriminalAppeal Act 1968, s 1 (1).28 CriminalAppeal Act 1968, s 1 (2)(a).29 CriminalAppeal Act 1968, s 1 (2)(b).30 CriminalAppeal Act 1968, s 2(2).31 CriminalAppeal Act 1968, s 2(1)(b), as amended by Criminal Appeal Act 1995, s 1.32 CriminalAppeal Act 1968, s 3(2).33 CriminalAppeal Act 1968, s 7.34 CriminalAppeal Act 1968, s 2(1)(a), as amended by CriminalAppeal Act 1995, s 1.35 EuropeanConvention on Human Rights, art 6.