A2 Criminal Law 1 Actus Reus & its exceptions… or how a snail might lead to a manslaughter conviction! MAH 2012-13
All of these we have come across at AS… can you work them out? What’s the legal word?
Introduction: What do we do at A2? Criminal Law G153 60% of A2 Law 3 questions in two hours One essay question One problem question One application question 1. Be here 2. Be equipped Criminal Law G154 3. Do your work 4. Complete the case 40% of A2 Law studies (more on this onSynoptic – Insanity and Automatism Friday!) Source Booklet 3 questions, no choice 5. Listen One essay One case analysis Three short problems
So what are the general rules in criminal law?1. All crimes require two elements* Actus Reus2. To convict it must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt by Should be a positive, voluntary act P Applying it.Which element of the crime do thefollowing refer to?I’m going to steal a car.A punch in the face causing ablack eyeI just shot a man and I’m glad. Leicester v Pearson 1952
Applying the Law At A2, there are more marks for applying than explaining the law. This means you need to be able to use the rules you learn to decide on D’s liability. Using just what you know so far, decide on the liability of each defendant: D is at the doctors, having his reflexes tested. His leg kicks out, causing the doctor to suffer a black eyeD is dancing around, and clips V with her elbow, sending her over a small balcony, causing a broken leg. D is angry at V, and argues with him. Losing his temper he punches him, breaking his nose.D1 spikes D2’s lemonade, hoping he will stay and talk to her. D2 doesn’t realise and drives his car home whilst intoxicated.
Last bit of general knowledge: The many ways to commit a crime (types of actus reus)Consequence or You stab James, who dies. Result Conduct You use James’ phone without permission You are in the wrong place… wrong time!State of Affairs Winzar You forget to close a gate and your child Omission runs onto the road and is killed.
So which type are each of these? D is expelled from the UK. She goes D takes £1000 out of the company to Ireland, who don’t want her andsafe, intending to replace it when he forcibly deport her back to the UK is paid at the end of the month. where she is arrested for being an Velyuml illegal alien. Larsonneur D was sitting on a chair when an eight- D puts metal bars across the exits year-old girl put her hand on his penis doors from a theatre. He then turns outside his trousers for about five the light off and shouts fire. Peopleminutes. The pressure of the childs hand caused him to have an erection. are injured running into the bars. Speck Martin Challenge yourself: Can you identify a legal issue with each one of these. In other words D is arguing that they are not guilty… why?
Omissions: Our first real Student Task: area of the law! On your table there are five sets of facts. In only one of them is there no D walks home from DD’s daughter had crime.D invites his sister to his job as a diabetes. As a result come and stay with lifeguard. As he of their beliefs, they him. Whilst she is walks past the local refused to let All of you should be ablethere, she refuses to river, he sees a doctors treat her to decide as a group eat any food and child in there with insulin and she which is the odd one out dies of malnutrition struggling. He walks died. past. Most of you will be able to explain why the others D is searched by a should be liable. D walks home from his job as a police officer who lifeguard. As he walks, he sees asks him if he has a child in the local river Some of you will be able anything in his struggling. He jumps in to save to explain why the pockets. D replies V, but in the resuscitation majority of theseno, but has a needle accidently breaks one of her scenarios are exceptions which stabs the ribs, resulting in V’s death. officer. to the general rule on criminal liabilty and justify those exceptions.
So, if those are the exceptions… what’s the general rule?Definition: An omission is a failure to do something. They come largely from the common law which means that they are created by the courts General Rule: At A2, to prove our points, we need an illustration or precedent . Here it is a case we have met at AS Airedale NHS v Bland AO2 Thinking: Is it always easy to divide actions into acts and omissions?
What do I mean by a ‘duty of care’? This is a legal not moral decision Donoghue v Stevenson 1932 A criminal example... R v Winters 2010 "You must take reasonable care toavoid acts or omissions which you canreasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. Who then, in law is my neighbour? The answer seems to be - persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as beingaffected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are in The list of situations we question." are going to look at is not finite. Khan & Khan
Duty arising from specific relationships R v Gibbons & Proctor 1918 s.1 Child and Young Person’s Act 1933
Duty arising from contractual obligations R v Pittwood 1902 R v Adomako 1993
Duty arising from public office R v Dytham 1979
Voluntary Assumption of Duty R v Stone & Dobinson 1977 R v Instan 1893
Duty Arising from Dangerous Prior Conduct R v Miller 1983 R v Santana-Bermudez 2003
Starter: Can you name the following cases and tell me which duty of care was identified?1. Neigh neigh... choo choo... Sticker Challenge:2. Fannys been awfully quiet recently3. Is that a needle in your pocket, or are you just unhappy to see me? 15/20 1 mark for name or ½ for facts4. My wicked stepmother didnt even give me an 1 mark for duty apple!5. I may be a policeman, but I dont care.6. Cigarette, mattress7. Ah don’t think that’s going to help him breathe!8. Isnt he just veging out? Cant we (not) do something?9. Aunt I a lovely girl?10. A cold explosion proves deadly?
A new situation? R v Evans (Gemma) 2009 Remember that Khan and Khan had made it clear that the courts could develop more duty situations... They had already done this with the case of Wacker, but the most recent situation is detailed in the edited law report.1. What happened? 5. Name one case which was followed by the CA in this decision2. What is the main problem with omissions? 6. What was the duty, which was developed by the CA here?3. What was the outcome of the appeal? 7. Do you agree that D was “under a plain and4. Which duty could not be used to convict D and obvious duty”? Why? why?
Statutory Duties In addition to those common law areas, there are some specific situations where Parliament has decided that an omission attracts criminal liability. s.170 Road S.1 Child and Young S.6 Road Traffic Act S.19 Terrorist Act Traffic Act 1988 Persons Act 1933 1988 2000s.5 Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004What is the offence created under thisact?Why was the mother convicted? Whatwas her ‘omission’?Do you agree with the new law? Whatkind of situations do you think it wascreated to prevent?
Homework Applying your understanding of the topic of omissions, and the skills required to apply the law successfully, write a paragraph explaining the liability of each of the following defendants1. D, a teacher, decides to read her book whilst on a school trip. V, a pupil, slips and falls into a pond drowning.2. D, a paramedic on duty, cycles past a woman lying on the pavement bleeding. She dies.3. D tells V that his car is safe to borrow, even though it is made of two separate cars welded together. V is driving down the motorway when the car splits in two and V crashes, dying.4. D takes care of her elderly mother, bringing her food each day. D then wins the lottery and books herself on a cruise, but doesn’t arrange care for her mum, and she dies of Due next Friday 22nd June malnutrition.
AO2: Applying the Law Are they liable? SITUATION DUTY? EXPLANATIONJack & Isabel are having a picnic on afarm. Jack lights a fire near a haystack.The haystack catches fire, burningdown the barn next to it. Jack andIsabel run off and do nothing to preventthe spread of the fire.Mitch is a lifeguard at a swimming pool.While on duty, a child drowns. Mitchdidn’t realise what was happeningbecause he was chatting to one of hisfriends.Mark starts to look after his elderlyaunt. She is frail and needs to be helpedwith her feeding. After 3 weeks, Markgets a new girlfriend. He forgets to takefood to his aunt and she dies ofstarvation. Remember: Use cases to illustrate your conclusions
True or False?1. Omissions are not an exception to the general rules on criminal liability2. The list of duty situations is not finite, and has most recently been added to in the case of Evans (Gemma)3. The principle of liability for a failure to act is based on a civil decision, even though it can bring criminal liability.4. Stone and Dobinson were liable for the death of their daughter as they are under a legal duty to ensure she is taken care of. Challenge:5. The case of Wacker illustrates that the civil Can you support your decision and criminal interpretations of duty situations with relevant precedent? are identical
… now use this information and your Student Task: understanding to complete the grid on p.13. All of you should be able to explain what is In your pair, you have one sheet of paper meant by the question (in other words why it with a critical statement relating to is an issue) omissions on it. Most of you will be able to use a case to You are going to add one of the pieces of illustrate the issue (top box) information and then throw it to another pair, who will help you to complete it (and so Some of you will be able to evaluate whether on…) or not it really is a problem (bottom box)Tip: Use your fellow students to help you… between you, you have all the issues covered! *DON’T THROW THE SNOWBALL AWAY*
Writing a good, well developed response You are going to use the information on your snowball What do you mean?to produce a well explained and evaluated The case of Stone and Dobinson, where the paragraph, combining AO1 and defendants attempted to care for the victim, who AO2 refused their help, and the defendants couldn’t get help because they didn’t know how to use a telephone, shows how harsh the duties can be on the defendant. People are liable who should not be. The defendants did try to help Stone’s sister and did their best considering their low level of intellect. This case does not demonstrate a justifiable exception – it is morally unjust that they were convicted and sent to prison. However, in the case of Instan, the imposition of a duty was justified as she was the only carer for the victim, and although D may not realise they are under a legal duty as well as a moral one, by imposing this duty, the courts are helping to protect vulnerable victims.
Finally: Was Jesus right? Should the What about law have a the helper moral who makes basis? it worse? In your pairs discuss the Consistency in the law? proposition that:How does this compare to “The law expects too little fromother areas of the law? us, and instead should require us to help, not walk on by.“ Can you use a case as part of Are all the vulnerable argument? victims protected?
Plenary:Answer one of the following questions A Discuss whether the law on omissions should have a moral basis, using a case to illustrate your argument B Explain why omissions are an exception to the general rule on criminal liability. C Describe what is meant by a ‘duty of care’ D What is meant by a ‘consequence crime’ and give an example of one. E Identify the two key elements in criminal responsibility.
Plenary:How much have you understood?On the front of your handout youhave the assessment objectives. This is what the examiner will expect you to be comfortable explaining and discussing. To demonstrate yourunderstanding, I would like you to answer one of the three AO1bullet points on a post it, and one of the AO2 points. (Separate post its people!)
Homework Write up your response to the Yup, this is how hard I want you to work statement: at A2! “The law expects too littlefrom us, and instead shouldrequire us to help, not walk on by.“ You should aim to write at least a side, and include at least four well described and evaluated cases. Due: Thursday 21st June 2012