Saturday, February 1, 2020

CRIMINAL LAW Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 3500 words

CRIMINAL LAW - Essay Example Thus in the current scenario unless a case beyond reasonable doubt is made Susan would be considered as innocent. As far as the burden of proof is concerned, such burden lies on the prosecution who in turn has to prove beyond all reasonable doubt including but not limited to satisfaction of the jury of the guilt of the defendant. (Woolmington v. DPP)1 The main elements that required to be proved in criminal law or be specific a criminal offence are actus reus (the action of the accused), mens rea (the requisite intention for the commission of the offence) and the absence of any defence or if any defence is raised it is negated to the satisfaction of the court. (Lord Diplock in R v Miller)2 Another element that needs to be taken into account is that the actus reus and mens rea of the criminal offence that was committed need to coincide, however it is pertinent to mention that such requirement has been interpreted broadly by the courts. (Fagan v. Commissioner of Police3). The actus reu s of an offence is generally satisfied when a positive act is committed. It has often been required that that has been committed must be voluntary, this can be seen from what Lord Denning said that ‘No act is punishable if it is done involuntarily, and an involuntary act in this context...means an act which is done by the muscles without any control by the mind such as spasm, a reflex action or a convulsion; or an act done by a person who is not conscious of what he is doing such as an act done whilst suffering from concussion or whilst sleepwalking...’ (Bratty v Attorney General for Northern Ireland)4 . Thus the act of the defendant must therefore be voluntary and a wilful movement of body. The next element is mens rea which is concerned with the state of mind of the defendant. There had been cases which were decided upon by the courts in which the criteria were set up whereby the mens rea for a criminal act would be established. The cases that were decided upon took i nto account intention, subjective recklessness, objective recklessness, lacuna etc. Mens cannot be said to be wickedness by way of any moral or general sense (Dodman)5 . Furthermore even if it is proved to the court that the motive behind the criminal act was good, it cannot be relied upon as a defence (Chiu-Chang v. R)6 . In respect of mens rea the current situation is that of Woollin7 and R v. G. And this has been reached after considerable refining of the original test for intention. Thus the test for direct intent is the that the defendant had intended a result by committing the particular act; and for oblique intent is that the result may have been that the result was a virtually certain consequence of the act. The actus reus of mens rea was provided by Sir Edward Coke in the seventeenth century whereby he stated that the act is committed if the defendant ‘unlawfully killeth any reasonable creature in rerum natura under the Queen’s peace’. The definition of unlawfully does not include the killing of for example the use of reasonable force for self defence (Re a (Children)8. Clearly it can be seen that due to the car of Susan going straight into the pedestrian would be considered to be an act is unlawful. As far as killeth is concerned that refers to the requirement that the acts of the defendant can be attributed to be a legal cause of death. Clearly

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