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Flashcards in Criminal Law Deck (62):

Crimes such as murder, theft, burglary and wounding with intent are referred to as crimes of ______ —

specific intent 👺


R v Cunningham coincides with _____

Recklessness (subjective)
(Attempted theft lead to gas leak inside house)


R v Caldwell coincides with ______

Recklessness (objective)


What are the 3 exemptions from criminal responsibility?

1. Children below the age of criminal responsibility (age 12) [Child Care and Protection Act, Section 63]
2. Persons classified as insane [Section 25 of Criminal Justice Administration Act] at the time of trial or at the time of commisssion of the crime
3. Total defenses (e.g. self defense, accident, automatism)


What are the 3 elements of the actus reus?

1. Act - a voluntary commission of the act
2. Omission - failing to act where there is a duty to do so at commin law or under statute
3. State of Affairs - the circumstances at a particular place and time


Actus non facit recum nisi mens sit rea ⚖️

An act does not of itself constitute guilt unless the mind is guilty


For all crimes, (except for certain statutory exceptions such as ______ _______), the prosecution must prove both the actus reus and mens rea.

Strict liability offences


The actus reus and the mens rea must _________ in order to charge a man with a crime



_______ refers to an involuntary action



True or false: if automatism is proved, then the actus reus of the crime is negated.

True - the person will be acquitted


The actus reus of a crime consists of an ____ or an _____.

Act or omission


Effects of prior fault(i.e. specific intent and basic intent) are used as defences that negate the _____ ______ aspect of a crime.

Mens rea


Most crimes involving omissions are _______ crimes.



Novie actus interveniens

Intervening acts


The _____ ______ test correlates to the direct/oblique intention of a defendant.

Virtual certainty (mens rea)


The ____ _____ test correlates to causation in the actus reus of a crime.

But for


________ refers to when a defendant knows there is a risk to carrying out a certain action, but he/she still carries it out.



Direct intention (mens rea) is about wanting to ______, not about the result.

Carry out the act


The case of R v Mohan (1976) was used to define _______ intent.(mens rea)



What is virtual certainty?

Virtual certainty refers to something that is absolutely sure to happen. (R v. Nedrick - paraffin oil through letter box, child is killed)


What are the most culpable parts of mens rea?

Direct intention and indirect intention


True or False: Reckless is a less culpable/blameworthy aspect of mens rea than direct intent.

True. Direct and indirect intent are the most blameworthy parts of mens rea.


The question “what was the defendant trying to achieve?” seeks to establish if there was ______ ______ (mens rea)

Direct intent


The question “was the result of the defendant’s act an inevitable/virtually certain consequence of his primary purpose?” seeks to establish ____ _____ (mens rea)

Oblique/indirect intent


______ _______ is where the mens rea of a crime that is directed at one person (Person X) is unintentionally transferred to another (Person Y)

Transferred malice
R v. Latimer [1886] - Latimer swings his belt, intending to use it to hit a man he was arguing with in a pub. It slightly hits the man, but then ricochets and hits and wounds the landlady as well. The mens rea of the defendant is transferred from the man to the landlady.


True or False: Transferred malice is only applicable where the actual outcome is the same as the intended outcome (albeit towards a different person)

True. The same crime is committed, but towards a different person (other than who it was intended for).
*When the actus reus of the defendant changes, transferred malice is not applicable.


Transferred Malice: if the actus reus of the intended outcome is the same as the actus reus of the actual outcome, then transferred malice is ______

E.g. D intends to hit B with a stone, hits C instead. The actus reus (assaulting person with stone) is the same, therefore, the mens rea is transferred.


If the actus reus of the intended outcome is different from the actus reus of the actual outcome, then transferred malice is _______

Not applicable
E.g. D intends to hit A with a stone, instead, the stone breaks a window. Actus Reus is different, (i.e. the crime is different) therefore mens rea is not transferred. D cannot be held liable for the breaking of the window (criminal damage) because he did not have the mens rea for that crime.
(R v. Pembliton [1874-1880])


For transferred malice to be applicable, the coincidence of ______ and _______ of the intended and actual outcome must be the same.

Actus reus and mens rea.
i.e. if the defendant intended (mens rea) to assault (actus reus)
A, but the defendant accidentally hits B instead, the actus reus and mens rea of the same crime coincided. (albeit towards a different person)


True or False: in transferred malice, the actus reus and mens rea of both the intended and actual outcomes must be the same

*Malice cannot be transferred in an instance where the intended crime is different from the crime that actually occurred. (R v. Pembliton [1874])


Actus reus + mens rea + absence of defence =

Criminal liability


True or False: a strict liability offence requires proof of both an actus reus and a mens rea.

* a mens rea is not required in a strict liability offence; the actus reus is sufficient enough for someone to be held criminally liable.
(Smedleys v. Breed [1974] - a caterpillar is found in a tin of processed peas. Given the statute of the Food and Drugs Act of 1955, which states that everything that the public consumes must be fit for consumption, the company is automatically held liable.)


True or False: in a normal circumstance, a person can be held criminally liable for the actus reus of a crime without the presence of the mens rea.

*There is always a presumption of mens rea needed for one to be held criminally liable (unless stated by a statute, which would be a strict liability crime)
(Sweet v. Parsley [1970] - Mrs Sweet rents her house to university students who, unbeknownst to her, partake in the smoking of illegal drugs. She could not be held liable for this because:
1. She had no mens rea (she did not know that they were smoking)
2. The Drugs Act did not provide any strict liability statute for such a situation. Therefore, a presumption of mens rea was necessary, and she had none.)


True or false: strict liability is necessary for several reasons

True. These include:
1. Encouraging compliance with the law
2. Protecting the public
3. Making regulations straight forward
4. Decreasing court time
5. Making things easier to prove
6. Preventing the raising of defences as an excuse


What are the two essential elements of determining subjective recklessness?

1. The accused must have shown an actual intention to cause the particular type of harm that was done
2. The accused foresaw the possible risk of the action but still went ahead to take that risk

*No ill-will towards the person injured is necessary.


What are the two essential elements in determining objective recklessness?

1. The accused does an act which creates an obvious risk that property would be destroyed/damaged
2. The accused either has not given any thight to the possibility of such a risk, or has recognised the risk and has still gone on to do it

* Objective recklessness takes into consideration the “reasonable man”. It does not apply to offences against the person.


Causation in fact - the defendant can only be guilty if..

The consequence had not happened “but for” the defendant’s actions


To establish caustion in _____, the “but for” test is used.

* If the defendant’s conduct did not contribute to the result/only contributed to the result in a trivial way, it cannot be said that the defendant caused the crime.
(R v. White [1910] - The defendant poisoned his mother’s milk with the intention of killing her. The mother sipped the drink, went to sleep and never woke up. It was revealed that she died in her sleep by a heart attack. Would this result have occurred “but for” the actions of the defendant? Yes. Therefore, White was not held liable for his mother’s death.)


Causation in law requires that:

The harm committed resulted from a culpable/operating & substantial cause.

(R v. Dalloway [1847] - The defendant was driving a horse and cart down a road without holding on to the reins. A child ran in front of the cart and was killed. The defendant was not liable as he would not have been able to stop the cart in time even if he had been holding the reins.)


List the 3 elements required to determine causation in fact.

1. The harm must result from a culpable act (except in strict liablity) (R v Dalloway [1847])
2. The defendant's action need not be the sole cause of the resulting harm, but it must be more than minimal (R v. Benge [1865])
3. There must be no intervening act or event.
(novus actus interveniens) This can break the chain of causation.
i. Act of a third party
ii. Act of the victim
iii. Medical intervention
iv. Thin skull rule


Hill v Baxter (1958) deals with ________. (Actus Reus)

- The defendant lost control over his vehicle because of a swarm of bees


R v Blaue (1975) relates to _______.

Legal causation - the thin skull rule

D was guilty of the murder of a Jehovah’s Witness who, because of religion, could not accept a blood transfusion after being stabbed by D. V’s “thin skull” did not break the chain of causation.


R v Roberts (1972) - D was guilty of injuries to V after she jumped out of D’s car, thinking he was going to sexually assault her. V’s reaction was not unreasonable. This case relates to:

Legal causation
* The victim’s response will not break the chain of causation unless the response is unreasonable.


R v Quick (1973) - the defendant involuntarily harmed a patient at a hospital, because of his hypoglycaemia resulting from his excess consumption of insulin

Relates to 1 of 3 necessary elements of automatism: the condition must be caused by an external factor. (In R v Quick, the insulin was the external factor)


What are the 3 necessary elements for the defence of automatism?

1. Total destruction of voluntary control
2. Condition must be caused by an external factor
3. The defendant was not responsible for his action


True or false: self induced automatism excuses a person from criminal liability.

False - if a condition is self induced through negligence, (for example: the defendant negligently consumed too much insulin resulting in hypoglycemia), the defence of automatism could not work - the defendant is responsible for his state of mind.


R v Lipman (1970) - D and his gf took a quantity of LSD. D hallucinated being attacked by snakes and stuffed 8 inches of sheet down his girlfriend’s throat, killing her.

Automatism via self induced intoxication (murder is a crime of specific intent). It can mitigate a charge of murder to manslaughter.


R v Bonnyman (1942) relates to:

Omission on the basis of special relationship (husband and wife)


True or false: For a conviction of gross negligence manslaughter, the defendant’s state of mind is relevant. [mens rea]

False. It can be considered, but the defendant’s state of mind is not a pre-requisite for a conviction of gross negligence manslaughter.


Does mens rea have to be present at the beginning of the actus reus of a crime?

No. It can be superimposed on an existing act.
[r v Miller (1982)


Fagan v MPC (1969) refers to the concept of: [coincidence of actus reus and mens rea]

Continuous Act Principle. D drove onto the officer’s foot and stayed there, which was a continuous act. He did not initially have the mens rea, but it developed at some point during the continuing act, making him criminally liable.


R v Kaitamaki (1985) refers to the concept of: [coincidence of actus reus and mens rea]

Continuous Act Principle.
- at the start of penetration, D thought he had consent. [actus reus]
- after realising he did not receive content, he continued to penetrate V [continuation of actus reus + development of mens rea]


What are the 3 essential elements of constructive manslaughter?

The act causing the death:
1. Must be unlawful
2. Must be dangerous
3. Must have been the substantial and operating cause of the death


What are the 3 types of involuntary manslaughter?

1. Constructive manslaughter
2. Manslaughter by gross negligence
3. Manslaughter by subjective recklessness


What are the 3 necessary elements for provocation to be used as a defence?

1. Whatever that was said/done must be enough to make the reasonable man act the way the defendant did (a sudden/temporary loss of self-control)
2. There can be no cooling off time
3. The result of murder must be present


The case of R v Ibrams and Gregory relates to the defence of: [manslaughter]

Provocation. [the defence was not applicable because the actions of the defendants were premeditated]


What is diminshed responsibility?

In criminal law, diminished responsibility (or diminished capacity) is a potential defense by excuse by which defendants argue that although they broke the law, they should not be held fully criminally liable for doing so, as their mental functions were "diminished" or impaired.
R v Hobson (1997) - during the killing of her abusive partner, her mental capacity was impaired due to Battered Woman Syndrome


What are the 4 necessary elements of gross negligence manslaughter?

1. There was existence of duty
2. There was a breach of that duty, resulting in death
3. The gross negligence, which the jury considers, justifies criminal conviction
4. The gross negligence was the cause of the death


What are the general defences?

Insanity (or insane automatism), automatism (non-insane automatism), self defence, intoxication, necessity, mistake and consent


What are special defences?

Provocation, diminished responsibility, suicide pact.
N.B. These defences are partial defenses, as they mitigate a charge of murder to one of manslaughter


______ can be used as a defence if the total loss of control suffered by the defendant was caused by an EXTERNAL factor and is unlikely to recur.



The mens rea of murder 🗡 is:

The intention to cause death or grievous bodily harm (R v Moloney, R v Hancock & ShanklNd, R v Woolin)