Can you spot the problem?
Jane, an investigative journalist, is on a
train and goes to the toilet when she spots
graffiti asking girls aged 13 to get in touch
for sex, with a number.
Jane texts the number and begins to get
replies. Each is more explicit than the next.
She reports it to a police station, where the
charade is continued by a policeman,
posing as a 13 year old girl.
Eventually they arrange to meet, and David
is arrested at the seaside, with a black
marker pen in his pocket.
Has he committed an offence?
So how can we justify the conviction?
After all, there’s no substantive offence…
Take a look at these
Which do you think is the best reason for
criminalising attempts and why?
All of you should be able to pick the best
reason and give a reason why
Most of you should be able to support
your argument with reference to one
case from your prior learning at AS or A2
Some of you should be able to explain
why one of the other two are inadequate
to justify imposing liability
It allows the police to do their job
These are people who impose a sufficiently
clear risk of intentional harm if they were
allowed to complete their actions e.g. the
drug importer who is stopped at customs
There is a high moral culpability
associated with their acts, which would
have completed if they weren’t
interrupted or stopped. E.g. the person
who poisons drink, which is accidently
…So, what might an attempt look like?
What D did next… Attempted Crime
Trying the handle of a door Burglary
Knocking down a wall Escape from a prison
Walking up behind someone
and taking your hands out of
Placing a ladder against a
Taking out life insurance Making a false claim that
Dragging someone into a
1 Decide whether or not D
should be liable for the offence.
2. Explain why!
In your explanation you should
aim to use relevant legal terms,
and make reference to the
reasons for imposing liability for
Challenge: On the basis of these actions, can you define
what D has to do to be liable for an
attempted crime (the AR)?
What does the law actually say?
Criminal Attempts Act 1981
If, with intent to commit an offence to
which this section applies, a person does
an act which is more than merely
preparatory to the commission of the
offence, he is guilty of attempting to
commit the offence,
s.1(1) Criminal Attempts Act 1981
1. Was his AR “more than
2. Was his mens rea “intention”
Words of Act
Can you work out
the limitations of
the current law?
…and why might it
be a problem?
D can only be liable if he has “...done
an act” s.1(1)
“This section applies to any offence
which, if it were completed, would
be triable in England and Wales as an
indictable offence” s.1(4)
So what do we actually mean by
“more than merely preparatory”
R v Jones 1990
1. D buys a shotgun, shortens its barrel and
2. D leaves his house disguising himself by
wearing overall and a crash helmet.
3. D approaches V’s car as he his dropping
his daughter off at school
4. D opens the door and gets in
5. D says that he wants to “sort things out”
6. D takes out the shotgun from the bag
7. D points it at V and says “you’re not going
to like this”
When does the attempt start?
D argued that he would have also had to:
8. Cock the gun
9. Put his finger on the trigger
…to be liable
What did the Court of Appeal say?
MTMP is the only guidance we have in the act
What’s the issue?
It is a matter for the jury, but the judge
decides whether there is enough evidence for
a reasonable jury to find there was an attempt
What’s the problem?
Answer the Question
Discuss one reason why the Criminal Attempts Act
1981 is not fit for purpose.
Explain one reason why we are justified imposing
liability for an attempt, and link to an example.
Why was Mr White liable for the attempted murder
of his mother? Use the statutory tests.
According to the 1981 Act, What actus reus must D
be completing to be liable?
Can you beat the teacher?
5 minutes… how many mistakes?
Attempts are substantive offences, which were consolidated in the Criminal Attempts
Act 1983. This made D liable if he intended to commit a crime and did an act that was
preparatory. This phrase has caused lots of problems as it is not clear when D goes
from preparing to attempting. In the case of Smith the House of Lords said that he
became liable when he got into the lorry, as this is the point when the crime proper
began to happen. The prosecution had argued that to be liable for an attempt he
would have actually had to try and shoot the knife. This is similar to the tests which
were in operation before the Act, but the Court of Appeal said that they should use
the words of the Act, not previous statutory tests. This has been confirmed by the
Court of Appeal in Geddes, when they held that an attempt was when D went from
execution and implementation to planning and preparation, which meant that D was
guilty when he took his handbag in the toilets.
Can you beat the teacher?
Attempts are inchoate offences, which were consolidated in the Criminal Attempts
Act 1981. This made D liable if he intended to commit a crime and did an act that was
more than merely preparatory. This phrase has caused lots of problems as it is not
clear when D goes from preparing to attempting. In the case of Jones the Court of
Appeal said that he became liable when he got into the Car, as this is the point when
the crime proper began to happen. The defence had argued that to be liable for an
attempt he would have actually had to try and shoot the gun. This is similar to the
tests which were in operation before the Act, but the Court of Appeal said that they
should use the words of the Act, not previous statutory tests, and upheld his
conviction. This has been confirmed by the Court of Appeal in Geddes, when they
held that an attempt was when D went fromplanning and preparation to execution
and implementation, which meant that D was not liable when he was found with his
rucksack and its contents in the toilets.
Welcome to A2 Dominoes!
You know the drill:
Lollipop awesomeness... Your brain, no help.
Sticker satisfactory... No(te) help, or a book.
Too easy? Why is the offence of
attempted rape not
covered by the dominoes?
Practising those application skills
The best way to check you know the law is to use the law.
Each of you has one problem question. You will
be applying the law, as you understand it, to the
problem to produce a perfect model of a mini-
What do you remember about
how to answer them?
In considering whether Megan is liable for the attempted
kidnapping of Chris, is will be important to consider whether she
has done an Act which is more than merely preparatory, with intent
as required under s.1 Criminal Attempts Act 1981.
Following the precedent of JONES, In disguising herself and
equipping herself with the gun, she is clearly only committing a
preparatory action, which would not be enough for MTMP under
the Act. However, it can be argued that in stepping onto the
premises, she is beginning to ‘embark on the crime proper’ as laid
out by GUELLFER and, as she has clearly done more than D in
CAMPBELL, would have appeared to have moved from planning
and preparation to execution and implementation, which is the
guidance issued by the Court of Appeal in GEDDES.
In addition, by ‘deciding’ to kidnap Chris, she is clearly
demonstrating a true desire to bring about the consequence
[MOHAN], especially given her subsequent actions, and thus would
seem to have the intent necessary under the Act.
Having considered the issues, it appears that as she has done an
act which may be considered MTMP and has a clear intent, she
would be liable for the attempt.
Now, swap and mark your classmate’s
Identifies all of the relevant points of law in issue and
demonstrates a high level of ability to develop arguments or
apply points of law accurately and pertinently to a given
factual situation, and reach a cogent, logical and well-informed
Identifies most of the relevant points of law in issue and
demonstrates the ability to develop clear arguments or apply
points of law clearly to a given factual situation, and reach a
sensible and informed conclusion.
Identifies the main points of law in issue and demonstrates the
ability to develop arguments or apply points of law
mechanically to a given factual situation, and reach a conclusion.
Identifies some of the points of law in issue and demonstrates a
limited ability to produce arguments based on their material or
to apply points of law to a given factual situation but without a
clear focus or conclusion.
Identifies at least one of the points of law in issue., but their
approach may be uncritical and/or unselective.
The Mark Scheme:
What’s wrong with each of the five statements?
1. Geddes set down the test for more than merely preparatory. It is when D
begins to embark on the crime proper.
2. Boyle and Boyle were found not guilty of the attempted burglary, as the
courts applied the proximity test to determine whether they had done
something which is more than merely preparatory.
3. Mohan states that an intent is the true wish to bring about the consequence,
and this was expanding on Wherebrow to say that attempted murder required
an intent to kill only.
4. Attempting to do the impossible has no limitations.
5. The Law Commission’s report carried forward two proposals, all the others
In your green books, write out the corrected version,
aiming to be awesome in all ways!