Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource

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Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource

  1. 1. Before we start This year is highly important and to be successful in law you are going to have to work hard. There are a few things you can do in order to achieve success. The questions you will be asked will require very similar responses within a specific area. Good preparation will make the exam seem easier and if you have completed lots of past papers with model answers which you have taken time to put together then you will do well. You need to know your cases. I will be doing lots of work in class in order for you to remember these. You will be sick of me asking what happened in the case of Stone and Dobinson. Anyone know? Every week you will be given at least one piece of homework from me, this need to be done and you should spend a minimum of 2 hours on this homework and extended research around the area I am teaching. The areas that I will be teaching you this year are as follows: • Murder • Attempts • Voluntary manslaughter • Involuntary manslaughter • Defences Mr Sharpe will be teaching you all other areas including the areas of Actus Reus and Mens Rea which we looked at in detail last term. Murder In the space below write down Lord Coke’s seventeenth century definition of murder. Make sure you remember this as you will be tested at the end of the lesson and subsequent lessons. Jurisdiction Obviously a person can be charged with murder that the have committed in this country. But murder is unusual in its jurisdiction as it also includes any murder in any country by a British citizen. This means that if the defendant is a British citizen, he may be tried in an English court for a murder he is alleged to have committed in another country
  2. 2. Actus Reus of murder There must be an unlawful killing and not one, for instance, in self defence. The killing must be of a living human being and not, for instance, an unborn child. The killing must not be of an enemy at a time of war. The Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996 abolished the common law rule that the victim must die within a year and a day of the injury. However, consent of the Attorney General is required before prosecuting a person where (a) more than three years have lapsed, or (b) the person has already been convicted of another offence in circumstances connected to the death (eg, maliciously wounding or inflicting GBH). ‘Killed’ The actus reus of killing can be done by an act or by an omission, but it must cause the death of the victim. Usually in murder cases, the actus reus is an act. However in some cases it can be as a result of an omission. This was so in the case of Gibbins and Proctor 1918. Note down in the box below what happened in this case. Causation The next part of the lesson in on causation. Using pages 12-19 makes some notes in the space below on causation to refresh your memory. As murder is a result crime, the prosecution must establish causation. There are two types. First of all, factual causation and secondly legal causation. Murder is the result of a crime. The defendant cannot be guilt unless his act or omission caused the death. In most cases there is no problem with this. For example. D shoots V in the head, D is found guilty. However in some cases there may be other causes of death such as poor medical treatment. This type of situation raises questions of causation.
  3. 3. ‘Reasonable creature in being’ This phrase basically means human being. So, for a murder, a person must be killed. This may seem straight forward, unless: • Is a foetus in the womb a ‘reasonable creature in being? • Is a victim still considered to be alive if they are ‘brain dead’ but being kept alive by a support machine? Foetus A homicide offence cannot be charged in respect of a foetus. The child has to have an existence independent of the mother in order to be considered a ‘creature in being’. This means that it must have been expelled from her body and have independent circulation. See the Attorney- General’s reference (No3 1994) opposite, as additional information. More detail on this case can be found in the newspaper article on the following page. Brain-dead It is not certain whether a person who is brain-dead would be considered a ‘reasonable creature in being’ or not. Doctors are allowed to switch off life support machines without being held liable. It is possible that courts may decide that if someone switches off a life support machine, not as a medical decision but intending to kill the victim, could be guilty of murder. Year and a day rule Using your prior knowledge and research make notes in the box below to show your understanding of the ‘year and a day’ rule. Fatal attack on unborn child 'can be murder case'
  4. 4. Saturday, 25 November 1995 A man who stabbed his pregnant girlfriend, ultimately causing the death of their baby daughter, could have been tried for murder, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Taylor, ruled yesterday. The Attorney General, Sir Nicholas Lyell, had asked judges in the Court of Appeal to rule in a test case that the man had committed either murder or manslaughter. However, Lord Taylor immediately allowed yesterday's ruling to go to the House of Lords because of its importance to the law. He emphasised that his decision would not have any implications for doctors carrying out abortions. Simon Hawksworth QC had argued at the hearing that no offence could be committed against a child who, at the time of the attack which later caused its death, was as yet unborn and therefore not legally recognised as "a person in being". He warned the appeal judges that to uphold the Attorney General's case would "open up a very difficult area" in relation to late abortions and the delivery of live foetuses which are then allowed to die. But Lord Taylor, sitting in the Court of Appeal with Mr Justice Kay and Mrs Justice Steel, said in his judgment: "A doctor who carries out an abortion in accordance with the Abortion Act 1967 is not acting unlawfully and hence, were such a doctor to be charged with murder, the charge would fail because the element that the act must be unlawful could not be made out." The woman victim was stabbed during a drunken row and gave birth three months prematurely. Her baby, which bore a stab wound in her abdomen, died four months later. Two years ago, her boyfriend was acquitted of murdering the child on the directions of a judge at Leeds Crown Court. The man, sentenced to four years in jail for wounding the woman, has not been named at the Court of Appeal and yesterday's ruling cannot affect his acquittal on the murder charge. However, a new point of law has been formulated which will mean that anyone causing unlawful injury to a foetus or a pregnant woman which eventually causes the death of the child may face manslaughter or murder charges. In their conclusions yesterday, the judges ruled: "Murder or manslaughter can be committed where unlawful injury is deliberately inflicted either to a child in utero or to a mother carrying a child in utero. "The requisite intent to be proved in the case of murder is an intention to kill or cause really serious bodily injury to the mother, the foetus before birth being viewed as an integral part of the mother." Lord Taylor allowed the case to be referred to the House of Lords after Andrew Lees, junior counsel for the man in the Leeds trial, said the judgment was "a matter of great public importance with far reaching consequences. "It does widen protection to the unborn child, not only to charges of murder and manslaughter but to charges of unlawful violence. It should be decided by the House of Lords because it is a redirection of law." ‘Queen’s Peace’
  5. 5. ‘Under the Queen’s peace’ means that the killing of an enemy in the course of a war is not murder. However, the killing of a prisoner of war would be sufficient for the actus reus of murder. ‘Unlawful’ the killing must be unlawful. In the box below list down some of the reasons why the killing of another may be deemed as not unlawful and therefore could not be found guilty of murder. An interesting case in which the killing of one person was thought to be justified is Re A (children) (Conjoined Twins) (2000). Reasonable Force In deciding whether the force used was reasonable, the fact the defendant had only done what he honestly though and instinctively thought was necessary in a moment of unexpected anguish is very strong evidence that the defensive action taken was reasonable. In looking at the circumstances, the defendant must be judged on the facts as he genuinely believed them to be. This is so, even if the defendant was mistaken about the true facts. This rule is illustrated by Beckford (1988). Excessive Force
  6. 6. The amount of force used to defend oneself or another must be reasonable in the circumstances. If excessive force is used the defence will fail as shown by the case of Clegg (1995) In 1999 the case was quashed due to new forensic evidence casting doubt on whether the fatal shot had actually been fired by Clegg. Another case in which it was deemed that the level of force used was not reasonable was Martin (Anthony( (2002). So the rules on when use of force can justify the defendant’s actions are as follows: • The defences of self defence of another/prevention of crime are defences which justify D’s actions so that he is held not to have acted unlawfully • The force used must be reasonable in the circumstances • The circumstances include what D genuinly believed to be the situation. This is so even if that belief was mistaken or unreasonable, provided the jury accepts that D genuinly believed it. • However, a personality disorder which affects D’s perceptions of the situation cannot be taken into account. • The amount of force must not be excessive in the circumstances as D believed them to be.
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  9. 9. Profile: UK serial killers As the bodies of five dead women are found in Ipswich, Suffolk, within two weeks, fears are growing that a serial killer is on the loose. How does this compare to past serial killers in the UK? PETER SUTCLIFFE: THE YORKSHIRE RIPPER Through the late 1970s and early 80s, women in the north of England feared a killer known both as the Yorkshire Ripper and Wearside Jack. The killer, who it later emerged was a Bradford man called Peter Sutcliffe, is serving life for the murders of 13 women in West Yorkshire between 1975 and 1981. Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe was Sutcliffe, now 60, also carried out attacks on seven other women jailed for life in 1981 during that period. It is not known what sparked his attacks. Sutcliffe, who struck in Yorkshire and Manchester, claimed at his trial that he had heard "voices from God" telling him to go on a mission to rid the streets of prostitutes. The case only came to the attention of the national press in June 1977 when Sutcliffe claimed the life of Jayne MacDonald, a 16-year-old shop assistant who was not a prostitute. The killings put a great deal of pressure on the West Yorkshire Police murder team. However, the inquiry was thrown off course after three letters and a tape were sent to the investigation team by a man who was to be nicknamed Wearside Jack due to his strong Sunderland accent. The man, whose actions disrupted the investigation, was later found to be a hoaxer. Sutcliffe was sent to Parkhurst prison on the Isle of Wight, but was later transferred to Broadmoor secure hospital in Berkshire in 1984 after a fellow inmate at Parkhurst jail slashed him with a broken coffee jar. During his time in prison, Sutcliffe has been attacked a number of times. In 1997, he was attacked by a fellow patient at Broadmoor, Ian Kay, who stabbed him in both eyes with a pen. Sutcliffe lost the sight in his left eye as a result of the attack. Sutcliffe remains at Broadmoor secure hospital. FRED AND ROSE WEST On New Year's Day 1995 Fred West took advantage of a break in his suicide watch to tie some material to a prison door and hang himself at Winson Green prison in Birmingham. He had been awaiting trial for 12 murders. The deaths included those of his daughter Heather, 16, and eight-year-old stepdaughter Charmaine. Charmaine was murdered and buried under the ground floor of the house he shared with his wife, Rose, 20 years before being discovered in 1994.
  10. 10. Nine bodies were found buried beneath the couple's house in Cromwell Street, Gloucester. Their victims were a mixture of hitch-hikers, lodgers and teenage runaways who had been either lured to Cromwell Street or abducted. He and his wife sexually abused their victims before killing them. Fred West killed himself in prison In October 1995 Rose West was tried at Winchester Crown Court for ten murders - the two others that her husband had been accused of pre-dated their relationship. She was found guilty on all ten counts by unanimous decision and was jailed for life. The home secretary has since told her that she will never be allowed out. There continues to be speculation that Fred West claimed more victims and buried them somewhere in Gloucestershire. HAROLD SHIPMAN Britain's worst serial killer Harold Shipman was jailed in 2000 for killing 15 of his female patients. However, a public inquiry later decided the 57-year-old doctor had killed at least 215 patients over 23 years. Shipman, who committed his crimes while working as a trusted family GP in Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, hanged himself using bedsheets in his prison cell in January 2004. It means the true extent of his crimes may never be known. During his three-month trial Shipman never admitted responsibility for his crimes, nor hinted at a motive or expressed remorse. Shipman's crimes first came to light in 1998 when he made a Harold Shipman is considered to be the clumsy attempt to forge the £386,000 will of one of his victims, UK's most prolific serial killer 81-year-old Kathleen Grundy. Her daughter Angela Woodruff became suspicious after her mother's death and alerted police. It soon became clear that the doctor entrusted to care for his patients was in fact murdering them, mostly by injecting them with fatal doses of diamorphine. Shipman preyed on vulnerable people, usually choosing women living alone as his victims, who may have been elderly but were not seriously ill. The killer jab was often administered on home visits. His oldest victim was a 93-year-old woman and the youngest a 41-year-old man. Shipman was given 15 life sentences in 2000 for murdering 15 patients by administering fatal doses of diamorphine and also found guilty of forging Mrs Grundy's will. But the public inquiry heard a fuller account of the number of victims who died at his hands. Of the 215 victims, 171 were women and 44 were men. IAN BRADY AND MYRA HINDLEY: THE MOORS MURDERERS

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