Criminal Law Cases (Elements of Crime, Unlawful killing). Chapters 2-7
Terms in this set (55)
R v Gibbins & Proctor (1918) CCrA
Omission. Duty on the basis of special relationships. The neglect by a father of a child living with him may be so great, even though he provides the funds for the child's maintenance, as to amount to murder, if through neglect the child dies. A woman living with a man in such circumstances, if she has accepted charge of the child, may also be guilty of murder.
R v Downes (1875) QBD
Omission. Duty on the basis of special relationships. When any parent shall wilfully neglect to provide adequate food, clothing, medical aid, or lodging for his child, being in his custody, under the age of fourteen years, whereby the health of such child shall have been, or shall be likely to be, seriously injured, he shall be guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction. Manslaughter.
R v Larsonneur (1933) CCA
Situational liability. A French subject landed in the United Kingdom on March 14, 1933, with a French passport, which was endorsed with conditions prohibiting her employment in the United Kingdom. On March 22 those conditions were varied by a condition requiring her departure from the United Kingdom on that day. She went forthwith to the Irish Free State. An order for her deportation therefrom was made by the executive authorities of the Irish Free State, and on April 20 she was brought to Holyhead in the custody of the Irish Free State police and there handed over to the police of the United Kingdom by whom she was detained under arrest. She was subsequently charged that she, 'being an alien to whom leave to land in the United Kingdom has been refused, was found in the United Kingdom,' contrary to Aliens Order 1920 and was convicted
Winzar v Chief Constable of Kent (1983) QBD
Situational liability. The question posed for the decision of the court is as follows: "Would a drunken person, lawfully ejected from premises after a request to leave, and consequently ascertained to be on highway, even though momentarily and not of his volition, nevertheless be found on a highway within the meaning of Section 12 of the Licensing Act 1872?" Question answered in the affirmative.
R v Deyemi (2007) CA
Possession liability. The defendants were stopped and searched. An electrical stun-gun was found, which was capable of discharging electricity through electrodes. In it was a lens and a bulb. The defendants stated that they believed it to be a torch. They were charged with possessing a prohibited weapon, contrary to s 5(1)(b) of the Firearms Act 1968. An issue arose as whether the offence was one of strict liability. Held - The prosecution merely had to prove possession of the object in question, and the fact that the object was a firearm or other weapon prohibited by the Act. It did not have to prove that the defendant had known or could have known that it was a weapon prohibited by the Act.
R v Bonnyman (1942) CCA
Omission. Duty on the basis of special relationships. The husband failed to provide necessary treatment to his drug addicted wife.The wife was helpless and dependent on her husband. His status as a spouse was necessary to generate the duty but wouldn't be sufficient in itself.
People v. Beardsley (1907) Supreme Court of Michigan
Omission. Legal Duty. Persuasive American Case. No obligations before the lover. While his wife was out of town, the Defendant spent the weekend with another woman, Blanche Burns. On Monday afternoon, Ms. Burns consumed morphine in an apparent suicide attempt. After she died, the Defendant was convicted for manslaughter for failing to render aid. Held - While the defendant may have had a moral duty to protect Ms. Burns, the law imposes no such duty on him.
R. v Pittwood (1902)
Omission. Legal Duty. Contractual relationships. A level-crossing gatekeeper who had forgotten to close the gate after letting a road user pass was liable for the death of a cart driver who had subsequently driven through the open gate and been hit by a train. The gatekeper had been employed to protect the public, and it was possible for a man to incur criminal liability from a duty arising out of a contract.
The Queen v Instan (1893) QB
Omission. Legal Duty. Informal assumption of duty. The prisoner, a woman of full age and without any means of her own, lived with and was maintained by the deceased, her aunt, a woman of seventy-three. No one lived with them. For the last ten days of her life the deceased suffered from a disease which prevented her from moving or doing anything to procure assistance; during this time the prisoner lived in the house and took in the food supplied by the tradesmen, but apparently gave none of it to the deceased, nor did she procure for her any medical or nursing attendance, or inform any one of the condition of the deceased, although she had abundant opportunity to do so. No one but the prisoner had any knowledge of the condition of the deceased prior to her death, which was substantially accelerated by want of food, nursing, and medical attendance.
Held, that a duty was imposed upon the prisoner under the circumstances to supply the deceased with sufficient food to maintain life, and that, the death of the deceased having been accelerated by the neglect of such duty, the prisoner was properly convicted of manslaughter.
R v Stone & Dobinson (1976) CA
Omission. Legal Duty. Informal assumption of duty. Manslaughter. Held, dismissing the appeals, that (1) the facts justified a finding that S and D had assumed a duty of care and were obliged either to summon help or to care for the sister themselves when she became infirm; (2) the breach of duty which had to be established was a reckless disregard of danger to her health and welfare by indifference to an obvious risk of injury to health or by actually foreseeing the risk and determining nevertheless to run it and the jury had been properly directed.
R v Miller (1983) HL
Omission. Legal Duty. The duty to avert a dangerous situation caused by the defendant.
A defendant may be guilty of arson where, although unaware that his conduct has started a fire, he nevertheless, once aware of the situation, makes no effort to prevent or reduce the risk of further damage. M, a vagrant, went to live in an unoccupied house. One night he fell asleep with a lighted cigarette, which dropped onto the mattress setting it alight. M did nothing to extinguish the fire when he awoke but merely moved to another room. The house caught fire and GBP 800 damage was done.
Held, dismissing M's appeal, that a defendant could be guilty of an offence where, notwithstanding that he was unaware his conduct had started a fire, when he became aware of events he was reckless as to the risk of further damage in not trying to prevent or reduce such risk
Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee (1957) QBD
This case is the basis for the test in negligence to determine the standard of reasonable care for doctors and other professionals. A doctor is not guilty of negligence if he has acted in accordance with a practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men skilled in that particular form of treatment; nor is he negligent merely because there is a body of opinion which would adopt a different technique.
Airedale NHS Trust v Bland (1993) HL
Since a PVS patient could not give or withhold consent to medical treatment, it was for the doctors to decide whether treatment was in the patients best interest. It was reasonable for them to conclude that treatment was not in the patients best interest, and should therefore be stopped, when there was no prospect of improvement. It was never lawful to take active steps to cause or accelerate death, although in certain circumstances it was lawful to withhold life sustaining treatment, including feeding, without which the patient would die. To disconnect a feeding tube was very different from administering drugs which would kill a patient. Observed: Applications should be made to the court for a declaration in every case where doctors proposed to discontinue treatment of PVS patients. In view of progress in the ability of medical science to keep patients alive by artificial means it was important that the current law should be reviewed by Parliament.
R v Smith (1979)
Failure to summon medical assistance for wife who did not want assistance. Held that no criminal liability would be for such failure where it was prompted by a reasonable respect fo wife's autonomy.
R v Morby (1882)
M was convicted of the manslaughter of his son, a child of tender years. The child died of confluent small-pox, and prisoner, though able to do so, did not, owing to certain religious views he held, employ any medical practitioner, nor afford to the child during its illness any medical aid or attendance. It was proved that proper medical aid and attendance might have saved or prolonged the child's life, and would have increased its chances of recovery, but that it might have been of no avail: and there was no positive evidence that the death was caused or accelerated by the neglect to provide medical aid or attendance: Held under the above circumstances the conviction could not be sustained.
R v Dalloway (1847)
Causation. A driver of a spring cart, standing in the cart and driving along a public road without reins, but not driving furiously, when a child runs across the road before the cart, and is killed by the wheel passing over it, is not guilty of manslaughter, unless he could have saved the life of the child if he had been driving with reins in his hand.
R v Mitchell (1983) CA
Causation. It is not always direct connection between act and harm necessary. The appellant, aged 22, went into a busy Post Office and tried to force himself into a queue. An elderly man of 72 spoke to him, an argument ensued and the appellant knocked him down. The elderly man fell against a 89-year-old woman who also fell to the ground and fractured her femur. She died suddenly a few days later. D was convicted for manslaughter of the woman.
R v Dyson (1909)
Causation. The proper question to have been submitted to the jury was whether the prisoner accelerated the child's death by the injuries which he inflicted in December, 1907. For if he did, the fact that the child was already suffering from meningitis, from which it would in any event have died before long, would afford no answer to the charge of causing its death
R v Benge (1865)
Causation. Substantial contribution. Where a fatal railway accident had been caused by the train running off the line, at a spot where rails had been taken up, without allowing sufficient time to replace them, and also without giving sufficient, or, at all events, effective warning to the engine-driver; and it was the duty of the foreman of plate-layers to direct when the work should be done, and also to direct effective signals to be given. Held, that though he was under the general control of an inspector of the district, the inspector was not liable; and that the foreman was so, assuming his negligence to have been a material and substantial cause of the accident, even although there had also been negligence on the part of the enginedriver, in not keeping a sufficient look-out.
R v Smith (1959) QB
Causation. Held, that, as at the time of death the original wound was still an operating and a substantial cause, death could properly be said to be the result of the wound, albeit that some other cause also operated.
R. v McKechnie and others (1992) CCA
Casuation. V was beaten by D and got to hospital then died because doctors didn't venture to make an operation. D convicted for the murder. Two important principles: 1) the initial act is still a legal cause if it is still substantive and operative 2) later contribution doesn't prevent the initial act to be operative unless this contribution is independent of the inidial act.
R v Hayward
Causation. "Eggshell Skull Rule". On an indictment for manslaughter, evidence that the death of the deceased was due to a combination of physical exertion and fright, or strong emotion caused by an illegal act of prisoner, is sufficient to support a conviction without proof of actual violence on his part occasioning the death.
R v Blaue (1975) CA
Causation. Taking his victim as he found. D attacked a young girl with a knife, causing a serious stab wound which pierced her lung. The girl was taken to hospital. The girl was a Jehovah's Witness by religion and she refused to have the transfusion on the ground that it was contrary to her religious beliefs. She was told that if she did not have the transfusion she would die. She persisted in her refusal and died the following day. D was convicted of manslaughter. He appealed, contending that the girl's refusal to have a blood transfusion was unreasonable and had broken the chain of causation between the stabbing and her death. Held it was the policy of the law that a person who used violence on another had to take his victim as he found him. It was not open to an assailant to assert that the victim's religious beliefs, which inhibited the victim from seeking certain kinds of treatment, were unreasonable. On the admitted facts the judge was entitled to tell the jury that the stab wound was an operative cause of death. The appeal would therefore be dismissed.
R v Pagett (1983) CA
Causation. A used V as a live shield against the police. V was killed by the retun fire. A was convicted for the manslaughter. Held: If a reasonable act of sel-defence against the accused causes the death of a third party ... it does not relieve the accused from responsibility for the death of the third party.
R v Cheshire (1991) CA
Causation. Bad medical treatment. V shot by D. operated at hospital. Wounds are almost healed but V died after two months because of problems after operation in result of negligence of the medical staff. D was convicted for the murder. D's shooting was the legal cause of V's death 'unless the negligent treatment was so independent of his acts, and in itself so potent in causing death that [the jury] could regard the contribution made by his acts as insignificant'.
R v Jordan (1956) CCA
Causation. Break of causation chain when the medical treatment is inappropriate: the treatment was not a response to a diagnosed condition or was so misinformed as to precipitate the death of the deceased.
R v Rafferty (2009) CA
Causation. New acts intervening. The D and 2 co-Ds robbed the V, they pinched and kcked him. When D took V's credit card and went to cash machine co-Ds drowned V. D was acqited of the manslaughter.
R v Roberts (1967) CA
Causation. Escape case. V jumped out a car, trying to escape assault by D, and got injured. D convicted.
2 tests applied:
- whether V's reaction was reasonably forseeable;
- whether V did something "daft" to break the chain of causation.
R v Williams and Davis
Causation. Escape case. V jumped out a car, trying to escape assault by D, and died.
Test applied: whether V's response was within the range of responses which might be expexted from a victim "placed in the situation which he was".
R v Kennedy (No 2) (2007) HL
Causation. Drug case. D gave a syringe with heroin to V. V made an injection and died. In HL a conviction of the manslaughter was quashed.
Held: Informed adults of sound mind were treated by the law as autonomous beings able to make their own decisions. The deceased had made a voluntary and informed decision to administer the drug. D had not jointly administered the drug.
R v Woollin (1998) HL
Mens Rea. Indirect intention. Model direction for the jury: where the charge is murder and in the rare cases where the simple direction is not enough, the jury should be directed that they are not entitled to find the necessary intention, unless they feel sure that death or serious bodily harm was a virtual certainty as a result of the defendant's actions and that the defendant appreciated that such was the case. The decision is one for the jury to be reached upon a consideration of all the evidence.
R v Cunningham (1957) CCA
The appellant stole a gas meter and its contents from the cellar of a house and in so doing fractured a gas pipe. Coal gas escaped, percolated through the cellar wall to the adjoining house, and entered a bedroom with the result that W., who was asleep, inhaled a considerable quantity of the gas. Recklessness. Recklessness is when the accused has foreseen that the particular kind of harm might be done and yet has gone on to take the risk of it. It is neither limited to nor does it indeed require any ill will towards
R v Parker (1977) CA
A man is reckless in the sense required when he carried [sic] out a deliberate act...closing his mind to the obvious fact that there is some risk of damage resulting from that act but nevertheless continuing in the performance of that act.
R v Brady (2006) CA
Recklessness. D was drunk when committing an alleged crime. Direction for the jury (upheld by CA): if the defendant had been sober and in good mental shape would he have realised that some injury ... might result from his actions in what he was doing in the condition he was in that night".
R v Caldwell (1981) HL
Recklessness. Objective approach. A person is reckless as to whether or not any property would be destroyed or damaged' if (1) he does an act which in fact creates an obvious risk that property will be destroyed or damaged and (2) when he does the act he either has not given any thought to the possibility of there being any such risk or has recognised that there was some risk involved and has none the less gone on to do it. That would be a proper direction to the jury.
R v G and another (2003) HL
Recklessness. Modern approach. R v Caldwell (1981) disapproved. Held: a person acts recklessly within the meaning of s 1 of the 1971 Act with respect to (i) a circumstance when he is aware of a risk that it exists or will exist; (ii) 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.
Fagan v MPC (1968) Divisional Court
Temporal coincidence of Actuse Reus and Mens Rea. A mere omission to act cannot amount to an assault. For an assault to be committed, both the actus reus and the mens rea must be present at the same time, but it is not necessary that the mens rea should be present at the inception of the actus reus; it may be superimposed on it. Once, however, an act has been completed without mens rea, the subsequent inception of mens rea cannot convert it into an assault.
Thabo Meli and others v Queen (1954) PC
Temporal coincidence of Actuse Reus and Mens Rea. The appellants, in execution of a preconceived plot to kill the deceased, took him to a hut where he was struck over the head with an instrument, and then, believing him to be dead, they took him out and rolled him over a low cliff and dressed the scene to make it look like an accident. The medical evidence established, however, that the injuries received in the hut were not sufficient to cause the death, which was in fact due to exposure when he was left at the foot of the cliff. The appellants appealed against their conviction for murder, alleging, inter alia, that while the first act — the blows in the hut — was accompanied by mens rea, it was not the cause of death, but that the second act, while it was the cause of death, was not accompanied by mens rea, and contended that in those circumstances they were not guilty of any crime, except perhaps culpable homicide:—
Held, that it was impossible to divide up what was really one transaction in that way. The appellants set out to do all those acts as part of, and to achieve, their plan, and it was much too refined a ground of judgment to say that, because they were under a misapprehension at one stage and thought that their guilty purpose had been achieved before it in fact was, therefore they were not guilty of murder. There was no difference relevant to the present case between the law of South Africa and that of England, and by both laws there could be no separation such as that for which the appellants contended merely because of their misapprehension.
R v LeBrun (1992) CA
Temporal coincidence of Actuse Reus and Mens Rea. Where the unlawful application of force and the eventual act causing death were part of the same sequence of events, the fact that there was an appreciable time interval between the two events did not serve to exonerate the appellant from liability, particularly where his subsequent actions, which caused the death after the initial unlawful blow, were designed to conceal his commission of the unlawful assault; that the appellant's action in moving the victim with the intention of evading liability did not break the chain linking the initial blow with the death; that, in the circumstances, the act which caused death and the necessary mental state to *62 constitute manslaughter did not need to coincide in point of time; and that the judge's direction, read against the background of fact and viewed as a whole, was satisfactory in relation to manslaughter and the appeal failed
THE QUEEN v. LATIMER (1886) QBD
Transferred malice. A man who has an unlawful and malicious intent against another, and, in attempting to carry it out, injures a third person, is guilty of what the law deems malice against the person injured, because the offender is doing an unlawful act, and has that which the judges call general malice, and that is enough.
R (Nicklison and Lamb) v Ministry of Justice v DPP (2013) CA
Homicide. The relevance of concent. Fatally ill person claimed for euthanasia. The claim rejected, appeal dismissed. There is no self-evident reason why the fundamental right to life should give way to the values of autonomy and dignity. Prohibition of euthanasia or assissted suicide doesn't constitute a disproportionate interference with the right to private life. Assisited suicied is strictly prohibited by the act of Parliament and it's not for the court to allow it.
Homicide. Foetus. A midwife was held uilty of manslaughter for so badly delivering a child that the child died soon after birth.
Homicide. Foetus. It was held that a person who perfoms an act with intent to pocure an abortion is guilty of murder if the effect of the act to cause the child to be born prematurely and die
The HL in Attorney-General's Reference (No.3 of 1994)
Homicide. Foetus.In circumstances where the assailant had directed violence at a pregnant woman with the intent of harming her alone, the doctrine of transffered malice did not extend to imputing an intention to harm the human person, which the foetus would become.
R v Malcherek; R v Steel (1981) CA
Where competent and careful medical treatment given to a victim for an injury inflicted by an assailant included putting the victim on a life support machine, the decision by the medical practitioners concerned to disconnect the machine because, by generally accepted medical criteria, the victim was dead could not exonerate the assailant from responsibility for the death if at the time of death the original injury was a continuing or operating cause of the death, for then the disconnection of the machine did not break the chain of causation between the infliction of the original injury and the death.
R v Inglis (2011) CA
CA upheld the conviction fo murder of a mother who had injected her son, suffering pvs (the brain wasn't completely dead), with heroin.
R v Vickers (1957) CCrA
Murder. Implied malice. D struck elderly V with series of blow during robbery and V died. Held that intention to inflict GBH (greivous means serious) is intention sufficient for the murder.
R v Smith (1960) HL
Murder. Implied malice. GBH means simply bodily harm that is REALLY serious.
R v Cunningham (1981) HL
Murder. Implied malice. R v Vickers approved with definition of GBH given in R v Smith (1960)
R v Mathews and Aleyene (2003)
Murder. Oblique intention. Knowledge that death or GBH is virtually certain is evidence of intention but not intention as a matter of drfinintion.
R v Ahluwalia (1992) CA
Voluntary manslaughter. Loss of control. D killed her husband after he had threatened to leave her for another woman. Before that he he had been treating her very cruelly for several years.
Held that the defense of provocation wouldn't as a matter of law be negatived simply because of delayed reaction provided that there was at the time of killing a sudden and temporary loss of self-control caused by the alleged provocation.
R v Daffy (1949) CCrA
Voluntary manslaughter. Loss of control. Circumstances which induce a desire for revenge are inconsistent with provocation, since the conscious formulation of a desire for revenge means that a person has had time to think, to reflect, and that would negative a sudden temporary loss of self-control
R v Ibrams (1981) CA
Voluntary manslaughter. Loss of control. Since the last incident of provocation had taken place several days before the fatal attack on the victim, and that attack had been planned in advance and carried out in accordance with that plan, there was no evidence of sudden and temporary loss of self-control
R v Church (1966) CCA
Constructive manslaughter. Test for dangerous act: the act must be such as all sober and reasonable people would inevitably recognise must subject the other person to, at least, the risk of some harm resulting therefrom, albeit not serious harm.
R v Adomako (1993) CA
Gross negligence manslaughter. Leading case, providing standard of care. The jury must consider whether, having regard to the risk of death involved, the conduct of the defendant was so bad in all circumstances as to amount in their judgment to a criminal act or omission.