criminal law notes MURDER

Topics: Criminal law, Law, Murder Pages: 3 (798 words) Published: January 23, 2014
MURDER !!
DEFINITION
The classic definition of murder is that of Sir Edward Coke (Institutes of the Laws of England, 1797):

"Murder is when a man of sound memory, and of the age of discretion, unlawfully killeth within any country of the realm any reasonable creature in rerum natura under the King's peace, with malice aforethought, either expressed by the party or implied by law, so as the party wounded, or hurt, etc. die of the wound or hurt, etc. within a year and a day after the same." For the purposes of convenience, we can say that murder is the unlawful killing of a human being under the Queen's peace with malice aforethought

ACTUS REUS
 
1. UNLAWFUL KILLING
The killing must be unlawful. Certain defences, eg self-defence, will make a killing lawful. The act (or omission) of the defendant must have been the legal cause of the death of the victim. Causation must be established.  

2. HUMAN BEING
The killing must be of a living human being.
 
3. QUEEN'S PEACE
Under the Queen's peace means that the killing of an enemy in the course of war will not be murder. MENS REA
 
1. MALICE AFORETHOUGHT ( now simply called intention) :
Firstly it is important to consider the meaning of intention , where there is no evidence present it will be considered direct intention. Indirect intention is when the person knows that a particular outcome is possible , how ever he did not aim at that out come. (a) Intention to kill ( express malice) : A killing done intentionally in the heat of the moment is just as much murder as one which has been planned and premeditated. An intentional killing is murder if prompted by compassion as much as if it is prompted by greed. So, in Inglis [2011] the Court of Appeal upheld the conviction for murder of a mother whose son was suffering persistent vegetative state following a car accident and whom she had deliberately injected with heroin as an act of compassion. The judge mus dirct the jury with a standard direction...
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