Actus Reus essay (Law 02)

Topics: Actus reus, Criminal law, Law Pages: 1 (390 words) Published: September 25, 2013
Actus Reus means ‘guilty act’. This may be established through a Positive Voluntary Act. This was demonstrated in R v McPherson where the positive voluntary act of taking whiskey amounted to the Actus Reus of theft. In relation to omissions, Stephens J stated, “If A sees B drowning and can save him by holding out his hand. A abstains from doing so in order that B may be drowned. A has committed no offence.” The first duty situation is where D has a contractual duty. This was demonstrated in R v Pittwood where D had a contractual duty to shut the gate. His failure to do so led to the death of V and D was found guilty of manslaughter for not performing his duty. The second duty is a duty through relationship. This was demonstrated in R v Gibbins v Proctor, where D had a duty to look after his daughter because of their relationship. His failure meant he could be charged with manslaughter. The 3rd duty is a duty taken on voluntarily. This was demonstrated in R v Stone & Dobinson, where D assumed responsibility for D’s sister. They were found guilty of manslaughter for neglecting V as they hadn’t carried out their duty. The fourth duty is a duty through one’s official position. This was demonstrated in R v Dytham, where a policeman was found guilty of an offence for failing to intervene in a fight. He had a duty to do so because of his job. The fifth duty is a duty where D has set in motion a chain of events. This was demonstrated in R v Miller, a tramp set fire to a mattress and did nothing to prevent it from spreading. As he had started the fire, he had to put it out and therefore charged with arson. The sixth duty is a statutory duty, i.e. a duty through law. This was demonstrated in Greener v DPP where D’s dog bit V. D had a duty under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to ensure his dog was muzzled and therefore found guilty of an offence. Actus Reus may also be established through state of affairs. These operate against normal principle of criminal law as D is found...
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