Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

Scenario Phil. In cases such as these,

Scenario 1 April and Phil were having a heated argument which lead to April shooting Phil in the stomach and in the arm. Phil received serious wounds and was rushed to hospital where he received medical treatment. As a result of the injuries Phil developed breathing difficulties and tracheotomy was performed by the attending physician. Six weeks later, Phil suffered unforeseen complications, whilst still in hospital, and died as a result. Discuss whether or not April is factually and legally responsible for the death of Phil. In cases such as these, it is necessary to establish legal and factual causation and whether April, in this case, is responsible for Phil’s death. Using the but for test established in R v White 1910, we can establish whether or not April is factually responsible for Phil’s death by asking if the results would have occurred but for the defendants actions. But for April shooting Phil, Phil would not have been rushed to hospital and therefore not have developed breathing difficulties or suffered unforeseen complications and as a consequence he would not have died. this makes April factually liable for his death.In R v Dalloway (1847) the conviction was held due to the fact that the defendant’s action need not be the only cause of the result, but must be substantial and operative in the crime. To establish legal causation, we must show that April’s actions were substantial and operative causes of the death of Phil. April’s shooting Phil in the stomach and arm are more than trivial or de minimis, and therefore her actions were substantial. The bullets were definitely a cause for him dying as he was only rushed to hospital and suffering breathing problems because of April’s actions. She was a cause for the unforeseen complications and thus her actions are seen as operative in the eyes of the law. Lastly, using the principle from R v Smith 1959 we know that although medical treatment may be inferior, but that does not break the chain of causation. As long as the doctor’s actions do not constitute a novus actus interveniens, they are not liable for the death of Phil.To conclude, April is both factual and legally responsible for the death of Phil and in the absence of an intervening act by the doctors, April is liable for the murder of the victim.Scenario 2James had not been feeling himself, he had been hearing voices and seeing hallucinations, at times he thought that he was being followed and had become severely irritated and paranoid. James had recently become very irritated with one of his tenants called Jack. Jack had not paid his rent for several months and kept avoiding James. James went to the house he rented to Jack to talk to him about the unpaid rent. James was talking with Jack in the kitchen when Jack said he would not pay the rent. James heard voices telling him to punish Jack. In a fit of rage James punched and kicked Jack before using a kitchen knife to stab Jack in the heart.James watched Jack die on the kitchen floor. Upon the arrival of the police James confessed to Jack’s murder.Discuss James’s criminal liability for any offence(s) committed.James’ initial charge of murder will be reduced from murder to manslaughter due to the mens rea regarding the killing of Jack. The Homicide Act 1957 and section 52 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 defines the criteria for this offence.Section 52 CJA 2009 states that:(1) ‘a person (‘D’)… is not to be convicted of murder if D was suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning which: (a) arose from a recognised medical condition (b) substantially impaired D’s ability to do one or more of the things mentioned in subsection (1A) ,and (c) provides an explanation for D’s acts and omissions… (1A) Those things are (a) to understand the nature of D’s conduct; (b) to form a rational judgement; (c) to exercise self-control.’James’ paranoia prevented him from being able to form a rational judgement and to exercise self control. He could not, in the moment of killing Jack, decide to pull away, or to leave. James, however, did understand the nature of his behaviour and the consequences of his actions as he admitted his guilt when the police came to the scene.This special defence is known as diminished responsibility, and due to this defence being used, James’ offence can be called voluntary manslaughter, as, although he wanted the victim to die, it wasn’t planned or premeditated. It was a spur of the moment act rooted in his mental illness.James was suffering from paranoia at the time of the offence, which, as set out by R v Martin 2002 amounts to an abnormality of the mind which substantially impairs one’s mental responsibility for murder. Psychiatric reports must be carried out to assess mental capacity.In conclusion, without the relevant medical data needed for his sentence, we will not be sure of James’ full criminal liability. All we can be certain of is that he killed Jack and that, at the very least, it was voluntary manslaughter, and at the worst, James committed murder.Scenario 3Paula and Jack entered a bakery at night with the intention of taking all the money that was kept in the safe. The pair then proceeded to the safe, after hours using high-tech equipment, opened it and found that there were only a few bags of pound coins, 50 pence pieces and 2 pence coins. The pair had not realised that the safe had been emptied that evening to ensure no large amounts of money were left over the coming bank holiday weekend.Outline the elements of the offence(s) that has been committed and explain why they are applicable to this scenarioBurglary, as defined in section 9 of the Theft Act 1968, is ‘entering any building or part of a building as a trespasser and with intent to commit any such offence as mentioned in s.9(2)’As Paula and Jack committed burglary but it was unclear they actually took the money, this essay will make the assumption they didn’t take anything from the establishment. This means that they did not commit an act of robbery as they took nothing and should only be charged with burglary.In R v Collins 1973 it was set out that the defendant must have entered the building with no permission and with intent to steal, inflict grievous bodily harm on someone in the building or do criminal damage. It doesn’t matter if the defendant gained permission later on, after they have entered the building. It was also stated that the entry made had to be substantial and effective. This idea of effective and substantial entry being needed for conviction was debated in later cases as no longer required, such as in R v Brown 1985 where it was stipulated that so long as the entry could be deemed ‘substantial’ or ‘effective’ it could be treated as a burglar, although it need not be termed both.Although there isn’t a definition of dishonesty written in statue, section 2(1) of the Theft Act 1968 provides examples of when an act is not dishonest, and juries can take assumptions based on that. In this section, it explains:'(1) A person’s appropriation of property belonging to another is not to be regarded as dishonest—(a) if he appropriates the property in the belief that he has in law the right to deprive the other of it, on behalf of himself or of a third person; or(b) if he appropriates the property in the belief that he would have the other’s consent if the other knew of the appropriation and the circumstances of it; or(c) … if he appropriates the property in the belief that the person to whom the property belongs cannot be discovered by taking reasonable steps.(2) A person’s appropriation of property belonging to another may be dishonest notwithstanding that he is willing to pay for the property.’R v Ghosh 1982 created a test for determining dishonesty. Lord Lane CJ explained that if a reasonable and honest person would have seen the defendants act as dishonest. If it was not dishonest by those objective standards, it is not an act of dishonesty at all.With all the evidence accumulated from these cases and the Theft Act, Paula and Jack’s crime would be burglary. They had intention to permanently deprive the bakery of money, and were dishonest in their intentions, although they lacked any actus reus of actual theft.Scenario 4Ahmed runs a local shop and regularly sells lottery tickets. Ahmed sells two lottery tickets to Jenna. Jenna is tall for her age and from appearance can easily pass for a 19 year old. Jenna is really 15 years old.Identify the offence and the rules surrounding the determination of such offences and discuss whether Ahmed is liable or not.To sell lottery tickets to an underage person, regardless of the present mens rea, is an offence. This is set out by the National Lottery etc. Act 1993 in which it states that: ‘(1)The Secretary of State may by regulations make such provision in relation to the promotion of lotteries that form part of the National Lottery as he considers necessary or expedient.(2)Such regulations may in particular impose requirements or restrictions as to—(a)the minimum age of persons to whom or by whom tickets or chances may be sold;(b)the places, circumstances or manner in which tickets or chances may be sold or persons may be invited to buy them;(c)the information that must appear in an advertisement for a lottery;(d)the places, circumstances or manner in which signs relating to a lottery may be displayed’ The responsibility to outline the age restrictions on the distribution of National Lottery tickets is placed on the Secretary of State. The limitations are set out in the National Lottery Regulations 1994 which explains that ‘no National Lottery ticket shall be sold by or to a person who has not attained the age of 16 years’. Ahmed lacked the mens rea regarding the illegal sales of National Lottery tickets, because he did not suspect Jenna’s age. Although there was no mens rea, Ahmed is still liable for his crime because of strict liability. Crimes of strict liability do not require mens rea with regard to at least one or more elements of the actus reus. Callow v Tillstone (1900) established in case law that some crimes do not require proof of mens rea to charge, this is because it ‘mattered not how diligent he had been’ as he had committed a crime by selling unfit meat.  Sweet v Parsley 1970 debated the difference between true crimes and regulatory crimes. True crimes were found to need a presumption of mens rea, whereas regulatory crimes are also known as strict liability crimes and as set out in statutes, do not require proof or reasonable suspicion of mens rea. Common law must abide the rules set out in government statutes and therefore if in a statute it states you do not need proof of mens rea, the crime is of strict liability. Harrow LBC v Shah 2000 showed that selling a lottery ticket to a person under 16 is still an offence whether you know their age or not, as you do not need the mens rea for the offence to be criminal.Therefore, Ahmed, although believing Jenna to be over the age of 16, is criminally liable for selling her a lottery ticket because she is not of an appropriate age to buy them legally, no matter his beliefs surrounding her age.Scenario 5Dr Marsden is a heart surgeon who is due to give lifesaving heart surgery to Jane. While performing heart surgery Dr Marsden has his mobile phone propped up against Jane so that he can watch a football game between England and France. At moments during the surgery Dr Marsden is not paying proper attention and is instead watching the football game. While distracted Dr Marsden does not notice that blood vessels around the heart have begun to haemorrhage; he also forget to monitor Janes reactions to the surgery and is too distracted by the football game to listen to his medical team. Jane’s blood pressure drops and she dies as a result of the surgery conducted by Dr Marsden.Discuss the criminal liability of Dr Marsden.Gross negligence manslaughter is one of three types of involuntary manslaughter; gross negligence is defined as an offence where the defendant is acting lawfully and that act led to the death of the victim. Also, for involuntary manslaughter, the defendant must lack the mens rea to kill the victim.Lord Hewitt CJ, in response to the case of R v Bateman (1925) explained that although there need not be a criminal offence committed by the defendant that leads to the death of the victim, the negligence must amount to a crime. This means that if the lawful act is committed in such a way it could be interpreted as criminal, the killing of the victim can be seen to be gross negligence manslaughter.After R v Bateman, Andrews v DPP 1937 introduced the concept of recklessness into gross negligence manslaughter. An act or omission had to show such a disregard for the life and safety of the victim that the behaviour of the accused can amount to a crime.R v Adomako 1994 is the main case providing guidelines for the conviction owing to gross negligence manslaughter. It was said that the law stated in R v Seymour 1983 no longer applies since the statutory guidelines have since been repealed. It also introduced a test. This test was to question whether having a disregard to the risk of death, plus the conduct of the defendant equalled the act or omission being a crime in that context.In the case of Donoghue v Stevenson 1932 the term ‘duty of care’ was defined by Lord Atkin. He said ‘…persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question.’ Dr Marsden breached his duty of care over Jane by becoming distracted from that duty because of the football game he was watching. This reckless breach of duty led to, and was the cause of, the death of Jane, which in turn makes our defendant liable for the killing of Jane via gross negligence manslaughter.


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