Is D guilty? (Did D Committ AR? (Is the AR based on an Act or an…
Is D guilty?
Did D Committ AR?
Is the AR based on an Act or an omission?
General rule: no liability for omissions
Does an exception apply?
Statutory duty - Falling to provide a specimen of breath (s 6 Road Traffic Act 1988) Wilful neglect (s 1 Children and Young Persons Act 1933
Under a contract, especially of employment (Pitwood 1902)
Because of a relationship such as parent and child (Gibbins and Proctor 1918 and Evans 2009)
A duty voluntarily undertaken, e.g care of an elderly relative (Stone and Dobinson 1977)
Because of a public office, e.g police officer (Dytham 1979)
As a result of a dangerous situation created by the defendant
(Miller 1983, Santa-Bermudez 2003, Evans 2009
What type of crime is it?
Conduct crimes are those where the actus reus is the prohibited conduct itself. For example, the actus reus of the offence of drink driving is a criminal offence under s 5 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Merely driving with excess alcohol in your bloodstream is the offence. No consequence (such as causing the accident) is required
Conduct + Consequence
You need to show causation
Factual causation is the starting point and consists of applying the 'but for' test.
Apply but for test
Refer to R v Pagett
(Using the victim as a shield)
Legal Causation - Apply more than slight or trifling / more than minimal test - Refer to R v Kimsey (Dangerous driving death)
Causation refers to the enquiry as to whether the defendant's conduct (or omission) caused the harm or damage.
Is there a break in the chain of causation?
Act of a Victim
2 Part test
R v Malcherk (In Malcherek the defendant had stabbed his wife. In Steel the defendant was accused of sexually assaulting and beating a woman over the head with a stone. In both cases the victims had been taken to hospital and placed on life support machines.)
If the defendants cause the victim to react in a foreseeable way, then any injury
to the victim will be considered to have been caused by the defendant. This occurred in R v Roberts 1971
R v Kenneddy
R v Marjoram
Act of nature
Act of 3rd Party
2 part test
No medical treatment rarely breaks chain ( Rv Jordon, Cheshire)
For some crimes the actus reus must also result in the consequence.
This means that the actus reus is only committed where, as well as the defendant doing or failing to do something, there is also particular prohibited consequence
This can be seen in the offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (s 47 of the Offences against the person act 1861)
State of affairs
The defendant does not have to do anything with the weapon, nor does it have to be visible (s 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953)
Possession of a controlled drug ( s 5 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971)
It does not matter whether the defendant is going to use the drug themselves or is going to hand it over to someone else.
R v Larsonneur