You are on page 1of 50

RECAP

Principle of legality  Elements of certainty and predictability to ensure people know the existence and extent of the law Role of Courts  Precedent  Law making  Develop the law through interpretation  Take into account provisions of ECHR

Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea

Throughout the web of the English criminal law one golden thread is always to be seen, that it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the prisoners guilt.

Woolmington v DPP
per Viscount Sankey Duty on prosecution to prove guilt If there is reasonable doubt, prisoner to be acquitted. No matter what the charge, where the trial

Burden of Proof
 On the prosecution  Standard Of Proof beyond a reasonable doubt Exceptions? Common law defence of insanity Statute expressly provides otherwise

Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea


Actus reus Prohibited conduct External elements Every part of the definition of an offence that is not the mens rea Mens rea Guilty mind Fault element AR first no AR, no need to talk about MR

Generally apply in all criminal cases

Eg: Theft  Dishonestly appropriating property belong to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

What is Actus Reus?


Prohibited conduct (not very good) External elements (too vague) Every part of the definition of an offence that is not the mens rea (duh?)

What is Actus Reus?


 Act, omission, or event  Occurring in certain defined circumstances  Resulting in a defined consequence

Act
 Specifically described  Results/Consequences

Omission
Distinction between act & omission a fine one Eg. Greener v DPP (1996) The Times, Feb 15 1996 3(3) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991:If the owner of a dog allows it to enter a place which is not a public place but where it is not permitted to be and while it is there it injures any person, he is guilty of an offence Act or omission?

Omission
 Criminal law imposes no obligation on persons to act so as to prevent the occurrence of harm or wrongdoing  Save for exceptional circumstances  Compromise need to preserve freedom of autonomy and the need to protect peoples lives and wellbeing. (Herring)

Omission
1. Express

offences

2. Legal

duty to act

Omission
Express offences
Definition of the offence specifies an omission to act Examples Section 24A Theft Act 1968 he dishonestly fails to take such steps as are reasonable Section 6(5) Road Traffic Act A constable may arrest a person without warrant if that person has failed to provide a specimen of breath for a breath test when required to do so

Omission
Express offences Ahmad (1986) 84 Cr App Rep 64, CA s1(3) Protection from Eviction Act 1977 Acts of landlord which are likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of a residential occupier with the intention to cause him to give up occupation amounts to harassment Landlord failed to rectify serious defect with such intention Held: Not guilty

Omission
1. Express

offences

2. Legal

duty to act

Omission
2. a) b) c) d) e)

Where there is a legal duty! Duty arising from holding a public office Duty arising out of contract Duty arising from relationship Duty arising voluntarily Duty arising from own wrongful acts

Omission
2. a) b) c) d) e)

Where there is a legal duty! Duty arising from holding a public office Duty arising out of contract Duty arising from relationship Duty arising voluntarily Duty arising from own wrongful acts

Omission
Duty arising from holding a public office

Dytham (1979) QB 722  An on-duty uniformed policeman witnessed a murder but did not do anything to prevent it  Charged for CL offence of misconduct in a public office  Held: there was a deliberate failure and willful neglect without reasonable excuse/justification.

Nation Wednesday October 17, 2007

Inspectors suspended over ferry tragedy


By V.P. SUJATA

PUTRAJAYA: Two Marine Department ship inspectors who were the officers-in-charge on Saturday when the ferry Seagull Express 2 caught fire and sank have been suspended from duties.

Omission
2. a) b) c) d) e)

Where there is a legal duty! Duty arising from holding a public office Duty arising out of contract Duty arising from relationship Duty arising voluntarily Duty arising from own wrongful acts

Omission
Duty arising under a contract

Pittwood (1902) 19 TLR 37  Facts

Omission
Duty arising under a contract

Pittwood (1902) 19 TLR 37 Held:  Guilty of gross negligence manslaughter  a man might incur criminal liability from a duty arising out of contract."  Duty owed to road users even though contract with railway company

Omission
Duty arising under a contract

Instan [1893] 1 Q.B. 450  Facts  per Hawkins, J. Why should not a contract be implied from such circumstances as those in this case? Suppose two people agreed to live together for their mutual benefit, would not the mere fact of their living together be evidence from which an undertaking might be implied?

Instan [1893] 1 Q.B. 450  Not every moral obligation involves a legal duty  There was a clear duty in this case  She took in food using the deceaseds money  Under the voluntary head?

Omission
2. a) b) c) d) e)

Where there is a legal duty! Duty arising from holding a public office Duty arising out of contract Duty arising from relationship Duty arising voluntarily Duty arising from own wrongful acts

Omission
Duty out of relationship

Gibbins and Proctor (1918) 13 Cr.App.R. 134  Facts  Duty on Gibbins as father  Duty on Proctor to look after the child  Held: Guilty for murder

Omission
Duty out of relationship

Airedale NHS Trust v Bland [1993] AC 789  Invasive medical procedure  No consent, no benefit  Not under a duty nor entitled to carry on medical treatment  Held: the omission to perform what had previously been a duty would no longer be unlawful  Compare with Smith [1979] Crim.L.R. 251

Omission
2. a) b) c) d) e)

Where there is a legal duty! Duty arising from holding a public office Duty arising out of contract Duty arising from relationship Duty arising voluntarily Duty arising from own wrongful acts

Omission
Duty from volunteering Voluntarily assume responsibility, knowing that there was reliance. Instan [1893] 1 Q.B. 450 But did she volunteer to take care of her aunt? Stone and Dobinson [1977] Q.B.354 They agreed to take in Stones sister who fell sick. Neighbour? Ruffell [2003] EWCA Crim. 122 Agreed to take deceased back into the house.

Omission
2. a) b) c) d) e)

Where there is a legal duty! Duty arising from holding a public office Duty arising out of contract Duty arising from relationship Duty arising voluntarily Duty arising from own wrongful acts

Omission
Duty arising from own act

Miller [1983] 2 A.C.161  Facts  When the accused created a dangerous situation  Actus Reus of arson is present if accidentally starts fire and thereafter, recklessly failed to take any steps to put it out.

Omission
New categories?  R v Khan & Anor [1998] Crim.L.R. 830  Duty on drug dealer owed to druggie?


Acts or omission?
Fagan [1969] 1 QB 439 Facts Found guilty of assault Act or omission?

Acts or omission?
(The distinction is a) morally and intellectually dubious distinction. per Lord Mustill in Blands case

Acts or omission?
Lord Mustill in Blands case Removing the feeding tube positive act or omission? Leaving the tube but not letting the nutrients pass through? Timed feeding? Essentially, what is being done is to omit to feed.

Acts or omission?

Why is it important to distinguish acts from omissions?

Acts or omission?
NHS Trust A v M, NHS Trust B v H [2001] 1 All ER 801

Acts or omission?
NHS Trust A v M, NHS Trust B v H [2001] 1 All ER 801
Deprivation of life Deliberate act resulting in death Not providing treatment Death is due to injuries Includes discontinuing treatment when no longer in the best interest to do so

Omission
Recap


 

Criminal law imposes no obligation on persons to act so as to prevent the occurrence of harm or wrongdoing Save for exceptional circumstances Compromise need to preserve freedom of autonomy and the need to protect peoples lives and wellbeing. peoples (Herring)

The Star
Nation Thursday October 18, 2007

Coward security guard picked up


By ANDREW SAGAYAM

KUALA LUMPUR: A security guard, who fled when robbers hit the goldsmith outlet where he worked, has been picked up for questioning. The police want to know why he ran away as he had a gun while the robbers just had parang and hammers.

What is Actus Reus?


 Act,

omission, or event  Occurring in certain defined circumstances, and/or  Resulting in a defined consequence

What is Actus Reus?


 Act,

omission, or event  Occurring in certain defined circumstances, and/or  Resulting in a defined consequence

Event (or conduct, status, condition) S 25 Theft Act Going equipped for stealing, etc. (1) A person shall be guilty of an offence if, when not at his place of abode, he has with him any article for use in the course of or in connection with any burglary or theft.

Event (or conduct, status, condition) Street Offences Act 1959 1 Loitering or soliciting for purposes of prostitution (1)It shall be an offence for a common prostitute (whether male or female) to loiter or solicit in a street or public place for the purpose of prostitution.

Event (or conduct, status, condition)


Aliens Order 1920 An offence for an alien to be found anywhere in the UK if leave to land in the UK has been refused Larsonneur (1933) 97 J.P.206

Event (or conduct, status, condition)


Licensing Act 1872 12 Penalty on persons found drunk Every person found drunk in any highway or other public place, whether a building or not, or on any licensed premises, shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale. Winzar v CC of Kent (1983) The Times, 28 March

What is Actus Reus?


omission, or event  Occurring in certain defined circumstances, and/or  Resulting in a defined consequence
 Act,

Certain defined circumstances




S 25 Theft Act Going equipped for stealing, etc. (1) A person shall be guilty of an offence if, when not at his place of abode, he has with him any article for use in the course of or in connection with any burglary or theft.

Certain defined circumstances


Night Poaching Act 1828 ... If any person shall ... by night, unlawfully take or destroy any game or rabbits in any land, or shall by night unlawfully enter or be in any land, with any gun, net, engine, or other instrument, for the purpose of taking or destroying game, he shall be liable .