Criminal Law : Intention

Topics: Risk, Law, Criminal law Pages: 8 (2829 words) Published: July 5, 2013
* Assess the modern approaches to the definition of 'intention' in English criminal Law -look at hierarchy of fault elements, intention v recklessness, foresight and intention

1) For some offences prosecution must prove BRD that the accused intended a particular consequence. ie murder, intention to kill/GBH , recklessness will not suffice 2) also in OAPA 1861, s18 intention alone suffices , intent to wound/GBH 3) there is no stat definition of intention. Its meaning is found in judicial decisions. Lack of consistency in the approach to the issue 4) Why is intention important? it is the highest level of blameworthiness. the fault elements common in defintion of offences are intention and recklessness. they reflect different degrees of blameworthiness ie intention to kill/gbh for murder-life sentence but recklessness is manslaughter and this carries discretion by judges in sentencing upto a life sentence, ( OAPA 1861 s 5) 5) the concepts of recklessness and intention are distinct and have a hierarchical relationship. so the boundary of intention and recklessness ( the taking of an unjustified risk) should be clearly drawn to reflect teh correct blameworthiness. 6) jury decides on the question of intention and so the direction to them should be clear .

The Meaning of intention
_ the core meaning of intention is 'aim, purpose or objective'. A P intends a consequence if he acts to bring it about. This approach was adopted in Moloney by James LJ, he defined intention as a decision to bring about a particular consequence irrespective of whether D desires it or not. Prior to Moloney in Hyam stated if a result is seen as highly probable it can be equated to intention but in Moloney this was rejected and stated that it is a part of the law of evidence and the substantive law. -ie bomb example - insurance, practically certain Vs will die. does D have intention to kill or is he merely reckless with respect to killing the passengers? in intention, recklessness and probable consequences , A duff (1980) - put forward the view that a consequence is only intended if its non-occurrence would be regarded as a failure. Following this approach D would not have intention to kill as if the passengers survived he would not regard his act as a failure. - but can argue there is no moral distinction between his attitude and that of the purposeful killer. and so should be convicted of murder. intention should include foresight of VC. -In Hyam ( 1975) - HOL held a P intends a result which he foresees as highly probable result of his actions- so broader than VC but decision felt to blur distinction between recklessness and intention.( see belfon) -in the 1980s a serious of case adopted a different definition to intention , in Moloney ( 1985)- HOL held judge does not need to define the word intention, ordinary meaning, except to explain it is not the same as foresight. in 'rare' cases where a direction is needed , where the D 's primary purpose was not to harm V, judge could instruct jury that if the D foresaw the consequence as a natural consequence of his act they could infer that he intended it. Likely Lord Bridge used 'natural consequence' to convey the concept of a very high probability but the guidelines did not make that clear. The problems caused by the guidance were raised in Hancock ( 1986) - where two miners threw concrete over a bridge and killed a taxi driver. They intended to frighten /block the road. Following the Moloney Guidelines the judge asked jury to consider 1) was the result a natural consequence of the Ds acts? 2) did D foresee that hte consequence was a natural result of his acts? the jury convicted the Ds of murder. They appealed to CA. Then crown appealed to HOL. HOL held the Moloney guidelines were misleading and quashed the conviction. Lord Scarman stated they needed a reference to probability because this was a significant factor when taking into account all the evidence to decide if there...
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