Discuss the criminal liability of Dave for the murder of Edward. (25)
I would charge Dave under s18 of OAPA (1861). For a s18 offence, there needs to be a Mens Rea of intention where the defendant must see some harm and consequence, and the Actus Reus of GBH or Murder. For s18 to be applicable, direct intention needs to be proven. When Direct Intention cannot be proven, oblique intention (as per Woolin, however more recently Matthews and alleyene” is applied, which has more criteria. When it comes to D “foreseeing some harm” it is obvious there is a direct intention as Dave had the knife, ran after Edward and stabbed him in the leg. The Actus Reus can also be seen when Dave stabs Edward in the leg. In terms of causation, we must prove that Dave is the cause of Edwards’s death. In terms of factual causation (which has to be used alongside legal causation), but for Dave stabbing Edward in the leg, would Edward have died? No he would not, therefore Dave is the factual cause of Edwards’s death, as per “R v Pagett” where D was the cause, however it is not like “R v White” where D was not the cause. In terms of legal causation, we must prove that Dave is the significant and operative cause of Edward’s death. This can be seen when Dave stabs Edward in the leg, severing a main artery and causing he to bleed to death, as per “R v Cheshire”. We also need to prove that there is no break in the chain of causation and from Dave going into his kitchen, seizing the knife, running after Edward, and stabbing him in the leg, we can see that there is no break in the chain of causation, as per R v Smith. In response to this, Dave could offer one of two defences; Provocation or Diminished responsibility. If Dave were to present provocation, there is a 3 stage test involved, where there needs to be evidence for the jury that the person being charged was provoked to lose his self control by something said or done, and that the provocation was enough to make a “reasonable man”...
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