Criminal law governs crime which are basically offences against a state.

To be convicted of a crime, there must be proof beyond reasonable doubt that an act was done voluntarily and there was knowledge of the act causing the event. These two elements Actus Reus and Mens Rea respectively, constitutes to a crime. In the Empress Car Case, the details are outlined below: The company was convicted in a high court for allowing effluent from a drum collecting diesel to flow into a nearby river. On the company’s compound, there was a diesel tank which was surrounded by a containement bund to negate spillage. However, the protection of the bund was overridden when modification to the tank was effected by the company which involved affixing an extension pipe directly to the tank in order to channel it to a drum outside the bund. They found it more convenient to extract the oil from the drum as opposed to the tank. The flow of oil to the drum was controlled by an unlocked/unsecure tap. Sometime on 20th March, 1995, the tap was opened unknowingly and caused the drum to overflow into the compound and subsequently into the river. They were convicted for causing poisonous, noxious or polluting matter or solid waste to enter controlled water named the River of Ebbw Fach against section 85 (1) of the Water Resources Act 1991. The company later appealed it’s conviction the the Lordships’ House (Privy Council). Lord Hoffman in his decision dismissed the appeal and upheld the decision by the high court to find that the company had caused the pollution. His decision was summarised into five statements :

(1) Justices dealing with prosecutions for "causing" pollution under section 85(1) should first require the prosecution to identify what it says the defendant did to cause the pollution. If the defendant cannot be said to have done anything at all, the prosecution must fail: the defendant may have "knowingly permitted" pollution but cannot have caused it. (2) The prosecution need not prove that the defendant did something which was the immediate cause of the pollution: maintaining tanks, lagoons or sewage systems full of noxious liquid is doing something, even if the immediate cause of the pollution was lack of maintenance, a natural event or the act of a third party. (3) When the prosecution has identified something which the defendant did, the justices must decide whether it caused the pollution. They should not be diverted by questions like "What was the cause of the pollution?" or "Did something else cause the pollution?" because to say that something else caused the pollution (like brambles clogging the pumps or vandalism by third parties) is not inconsistent with the defendant having caused it as well. (4) If the defendant did something which produced a situation in which the polluting matter could escape but a necessary condition of the actual escape which happened was also the act of a third party or a natural event, the justices should consider whether that act or event should be regarded as a normal fact of life or something extraordinary. If it was in the general run of things

The introduction of iso-octanol into their sewers by an unknown party was not considered especially because no one was caught performing the act. treating it ad discharging this treated liquid into the river. if a worker oblivious to the contents. it will not negative the causal effect of the defendant's acts.a matter of ordinary occurrence. In analyzing causation. This conviction was upheld on the grounds that the defendants were responsible for discharging treated sewage into the river. Here. we may also discuss delivberate human acts (third parties) and natural events. The case saw the defendant (Yorkshire Water Services Ltd). An example was drawn where a factory owner leaves a drum containing highly flammable vapour in a place where it can be ignited. Acts and Ommission 2. They were thereby charged for pollution. The . Therefore once it can be proved that the polluting matter originated from its facility it can be said that they caused the pollution. the prosecution must prove that the pollution was caused by something which the defendant did. These statements were governed or structured from the following principles in their entirety: 1. we have seen that it was the responsibility of the defendant to properly maintain the diesel tanks but for their failure to do so allowed for the entry of the oil into the river. The but for can be considered a starting point in any causation inquiry. Strict Liability Hence it was stated during the hearing that “if the charge is ‘causing’. Causation can be related to criminal law when one’s action or non action results in a negative result and as a consequence affects society. During the night. Causation 3. (5) The distinction between ordinary and extraordinary is one of fact and degree to which the justices must apply their common sense and knowledge of what happens in the area. Relating this to the Empress Car case. The company’s operations required them to ensure treated sewage was discharged into the river. This. If it can be regarded as something extraordinary. even if it was not foreseeable that it would happen to that particular defendant or take that particular form. it will be open to the justices to hold that the defendant did not cause the pollution. We can examine causation by referring to the National Rivers Authority v Yorkshire Water Services Ltd [1995] case . who were responsible for collecting sewage. rather than merely failed to prevent” This statement requires us to examine the above principles. for the purpose of holding someone responsible. someone discharged iso-octonal into the sewer which subsequently drained into therover. throws a cigarette butt into the drum which created an explosion. even though they did not actually discharge the chemical into the sewers.

It was because of the owners action that the negative outcome was experienced. the situation differs for household pets. An example of omission can be where a . The cost companies incur for product research. poisonous snakes. This is analogous to the doctrine of "res ipsa loquitur in which control. and insurance is usually passed on to the consumer in the form of higher product prices. we can still say that the owner provided an avenue in order for the explosion to happen. As opposed to performing a positive act which in itself contributes to a negative outcome. test them before placing them on the market. wild animals. and provide clear directions and warning labels.owner acted carelessly leaving the drum outside and this caused the explosion. The idea of forseeability was in relation to negligence and is not relevant under Section 85(1) where liability is strict. Strict liability is liability that does not depend on actual negligence or intent to harm. Three activities associated with strict liability are:Dangerous Activities Strict liability applies to activities that are unreasonably dangerous. ownership and damages are sufficient to hold the owner liable even without proof of specific negligent acts or omissions. materials or possessions which are inherently dangerous such as explosives. those who conduct them may be held strictly liable. Activities are considered unreasonably dangerous when they involve a risk of harm even when reasonable precautions are taken. or assault weapons. The defendant is held strictly liable only if he or she had reason to believe the pet was dangerous to others. being a natural event. To win a strict liability case. if one fails to act or omits to ac. safety features. but that is based on the breach of a duty to make something safe. If lighteneing. Although these activities may be socially useful or necessary. Even when strict liability does not apply. Companies conducting dangerous activities know that they are strictly liable for the harm they cause. criminal liability may also be considered. Based on the above. Defective Products Product liability is the legal responsibility of manufacturers for injuries caused by defective products. a question was raised as to what principle would some acts of third parties or natural events negative causal connection forthe purpose of section 85 (1) and others not? Lord Salmon suggested an answer in Alphacell Ltd v Wooward [1971]. It usually applies to ultra-hazardous activities. The workers action and lightening were only coincendence. struck the drum also causing an explosion. Deriving out of this. we can determine that Empress Car company conducted dangerous activities. Strict liability for product manufacturers is meant to encourage manufacturers to design safe products. the prosecution must prove only causation and damages. that the difference might depend upon whether the act of a third party or natural event was foreseeable or not. the negligence standard still may be used to hold owners of household pets liable for the harm they cause. Animals The law traditionally has held owners responsible for any harm caused by their untamed animals. However. This brings us to Strict Liability which is automatic responsibility (without having to prove negligence) for damages due to possession and/or use of equipment.

com/Strict+Liability .org/pages/623/Causation-Role-causation-incriminal-law.thefreedictionary.police officer observes a patron at a club being evicted and assaulted by the bounces until he subsequently died.html#ixzz1bJ4YDQva http://legal-dictionary. Here we have a positive act being done by the defendant and also a failure to prevent the negative outcome. Act. He awoke to find the mattress on fire but preceeded to another room to sleep.jrank. Causal. We can also say that the officer but for his failure to maintain peace caused the death of the patron. who was a squatter . He therefore was charged with misconduct for omitting to execute his duties or exercise his responsibility.JRank Articles http://law. lit a cigarette as he fell asleep on a mattress. The officer takes no step to intervene. In R v Miller.Defendant. In either case causation is central to criminal liability Read more: Causation . Harm. and Moore . Tort. for such statutes either prohibit citizens from causing certain results or require them to cause certain results.Role Of Causation In The Criminal Law . Causation enters into both the prohibitions and the requirements of a typical criminal code. Lord Diplock raised the question of causation in the case where the defendant. This non action was an action which leads to the death of the patron.

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