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What is actus reus?

This is the physical element of a crime


What 3 things can the Actus Reus be?

-an act
-a failure to act (an omission)
-a state of affairs


In most cases what will the actus reus be?

this will be something the defendant does


What type of actus reus is rare?

'state of affairs'


What does a voluntary nature of actus reus mean?

this means that the act or omission must be voluntary on the part of the defendant


When may a defendant have acted but is has not committed the actus reus?

if the defendant has no control over his actions


What year was Hill v Baxter?



In Hill v Baxter 1958 the court gave examples of where a driver of a vehicle could not be said to be doing the act of driving voluntarily, what were these? (3)

1)Where the driver lost control of vehicle because he was stung by a swarm of bees
2)If he was struck on the head by a stone
3)Had a heart attack while driving


Other than driving, what is an example of an involuntary act?

1) Where the defendant hits another person because of a reflex action or a muscle spasm
2) Where one person pushes a second person, causing them to bump into a third person. The second person was pushed involuntarily.


What case did the situation take place whereby one person pushed a second person causing them to bump into a third person but where the second person had not committed the actus reus due to an involuntary action?

Mitchell 1983


What happened in Mitchell 1983?

one person pushes a second person, causing them to bump into a third person.


What do the examples of what counts as actus reus show about criminal law?

that criminal law is concerned with fault on the part of the defendant, where there is an absence of fault, then the defendant is usually not liable.


What situations are known as 'state of affairs'?

cases whereby there are rare instances in which the defendant has been convicted even though he did not act voluntarily.


What case is an example of a 'state of affairs' case?

Larsonneur (1933)


What year was Larsonneur, a 'state of affairs' case?



In Larsonneur 1933 the defendant had been ordered to leave the UK and so she decided to go to Eire but was deported by Irish police back to UK. When she landed she was immediately arrested. What was Larsonneur charged with?

she was charged with being 'an alien to whom leave to land in the UK had been refused'.


For some crimes, what must the actus reus also result in?

result in a consequence


For some crimes the actus reus must also result in a consequence, Where can this be seen ?

in the offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (s47 Offences Against the Person Act 1861)


What is the statute of the offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm?

s47 Offences Against Person Act 1861


What does it mean when a consequence of the actus reus can be seen in the offence of assault occasioning actual boldly harm?

this means that there must also be a consequence of 'actual bodily harm', (i.e some injury to the victim)


What are 4 examples of an assault occasioning 'actual bodily harm'?

1) broken nose
2) broken arm
4)psychiatric injury


Without what factor can there not be a s47 offence?

without the consequence of an assault occasioning actual bodily harm