Responsibility is a Necessary but not a Sufficient Condition of Liability

Topics: Criminal law, Reasonable person, Tort Pages: 8 (2945 words) Published: January 9, 2013
Mens Rea (Blameworthiness)

Duff = “responsibility is a necessary but not a sufficient condition of liability” An actor is responsible when they are sufficiently blameworthy in causing the harm or committing the wrong = we blame those who have control over their actions (committing a crime is a mental process)

* MR is the guilty mind. Note that it is not necessarily a moral/culpable judgment, and there can be involuntary MR e.g. drugged paedophile in Kingston. * There are many MR states of mind: the sentencing advisory panel stated that there are 4 levels of culpability = intent, recklessness, knowledge, and negligence [in some crimes only negligence is required * Two species of MR Cognitive (involves intention or foresight by D) and Normative (evaluation of D action taking into account surrounding circumstance and D state of mind) * Proof of Cognitive = subjective test (assume state of mind is ascertainable only direct evidence is a confession) – jury ascertain reasonable person but destroy subjectivity * DPP v Smith = D trying to escape from the police in a car was signalled to stop. He did not do so. A PC jumped onto the car's bonnet. D drove at high speed, swerving from side to side, until the officer was thrown off and killed. = CJA S8 – endorses the idea that intention is to be subjectively ascertained

Some crimes are only committed intentionally so must distinguish from recklessness e.g. GBH * Direct intent – It was D’s purpose/aim/objective to bring about the AR. - Duff = test of failure – would D intend their actions to be a failure * Oblique intent – The AR was a necessary by-product of D committing his offence, although it was not his purpose. * Intent is a subjective concept and must be judged according to what D wanted to happen or foresaw happening (s.8 Criminal Justice Act 1967 = lays down evidential rule as to how intention is to be proved and makes it clear that intention is a subjective state of mind = court or jury must draw inferences from all relevant evidence): * D will intend something if it was his purpose to bring it about. Similarly, a jury may use as evidence of intention that D foresaw the result of his act as a virtual certainty and it was a virtual certainty. (Woollin, which affirmed the test in Nedrick) * Nedrick = D poured paraffin through C letter box and set light to it. A child died in the fire. The judge directed the jury as follows: "If when the accused performed the act of setting fire to the house, he knew that it was highly probable that the act would result in serious bodily injury to somebody inside the house, even though he did not desire it - desire to bring that result about - he is guilty or murder. “The jury convicted of murder and the defendant appealed on the grounds of a mis-direction.  Held: There was a clear misdirection. The Court of Appeal reviewed the cases of Maloney and Hancock & Shankland and formulated a new direction from the two decisions. Lord Lane CJ: "the jury should be directed that they are not entitled to infer the necessary intention, unless they feel sure that death or serious bodily harm was a virtual certainty (barring some unforeseen intervention) as a result of the defendant's actions and that the defendant appreciated that such was the case."

* Woolin - D threw his crying child at the cot but missed and he hit his head and died. This was the exact opposite of what D intended. Judge misdirected jury by saying that intention could be inferred from D’s realisation of a ‘substantial risk’. = "Where the charge is murder and in the rare cases where the simple direction is not enough, the jury should be directed that they are not entitled to find the necessary intention, unless they feel sure that death or serious bodily harm was a virtual certainty (barring some unforeseen intervention) as a result of the defendant's actions and that...
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