Uk Recklessness Essay

Topics: Law, Criminal law, Appeal Pages: 8 (3431 words) Published: May 23, 2013
The law to recklessness has developed and changed over a very long time and for much of this time the two types of recklessness have been Cunningham Recklessness and Caldwell recklessness , however this has recently changed. In this essay I am going to talk about the history of recklessness, how the case of R v G and another 2003 has affected it and the proposals for reform which were considered as a result of the case. The History on the Law on Recklessness

The law on recklessness has a long and complicated history. It started in section 51 of the Malicious Damage Act 1861 which stated that 'whoever shall unlawfully and maliciously commit any damage, injury, or spoil being to an amount exceeding five pounds, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.' The first person to be charged under this act was in the case of R v Pembliton 1874 . In this case the defendant had been fighting in the street and thrown a large stone at the people he was fighting, however it missed them and it hit a window which caused damage exceeding five pounds. Even though he did not intend to break the window the jury convicted him but later the conviction was quashed as he did not intend to 'unlawfully and maliciously' break the window. This was seen when Blackburn said 'I think it is impossible to say in this case that the prisoner has maliciously done an act which he did not intend to do.'   This made the courts interpret that 'maliciously' meant that intention needed to be proved but they were inclined that intention could be shown by proof of reckless disregard of a perceived risk. This approach was followed in R v Welch 1875 in which the courts decided that the defendant intended to kill, maim or wound a mare and he still carried on recklessly and not caring at all about whether the mare was injured or not.   The Outline of Criminal Law published in 1902 said the meaning of 'maliciously' in reference to arson. It stated that' it is essential to arson that the incendiary either should have recognised the probability of its taking fire and have been reckless as to whether or not it did so.' This was brought about by the case of by the case of R v Child 1871 where it was held that that the defendant had not intended to set fire to the house and he thought that his actions would not cause that effect. Another case that the Outline of Criminal Law used was the case of R v Faulkner 1877 where the defendant was stealing some rum by candlelight and he spilt some of it and it caught fire. It relied on R v Pembliton and it was noted that he did not intend to cause the fire and his conviction was quashed. After the outline was published, not a lot changed ion the law of recklessness until the case of R v Cunningham1957 . In this case the defendant stole money from a gas meter and in doing so, tore the meter from the wall and left the gas pipes exposed and the gas leaked and affected the woman living next door. His appeal was successful as he said that the word 'maliciously' was used to mean wicked and it was said that he could have been found guilty if (1) an actual intention to do the particular kind of harm that in fact was done; or (2) recklessness as to whether such harm should occur or not (i.e. the accused has foreseen that the particular kind of harm might be done and yet had gone on to take the risk of it.)' this statement was accepted to be accurate and it was accepted and became the Cunningham test which is still used today. The case of R v Mowatt 1968 shows more development in the law on recklessness. The defendant struck the victim he was robbing and was charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. The trial judge failed to give any direction on the meaning of 'maliciously' and the jury convicted him and he tried to appeal on this point but that failed. It failed because the courts held that an act may have the consequence of causing some physical harm to some other person, even if the harm foreseen was relatively...
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