Criminal Law Case Study Essay

Criminal Law Case Study Essay

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The offence Harry would be charged with is William’s murder. The area of Law that this case is concerned with is criminal law (homicide). The two offences that constitute homicide are murder and manslaughter. The classic definition of murder was set by Sir Edward Coke (Institutes of the Laws of England, 1797). Murder is defined by the Law as causing the death of a human being within the Queen’s peace with the intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm. It comprises of 2 elements. These are the actus reus (guilty act) and the mens rea (intention).
The actus reus and causation are the first elements that need to be satisfied. The defendant, Harry in this case must be proved to have caused the victim’s death. In this instance two matters need to be considered. Whether the defendant in fact caused the victim’s death and if so, if it can he be held to have caused it in the eyes of the law. Regarding causation in law, in R v Smith [1959] 2 QB 35 it was held that ‘the defendant’s act would be regarded as the cause in Law, if it could be shown that it was the operating and substantial cause of death,’ which we see here. It is clearly illustrated that Harry in fact, caused William’s death instantly by driving the lemon slicer into his heart. According to the Court of Appeal in R v Pagett (1983) 76 Cr App R 279 and R v Cheshire [1991] 1 WLR 844 the issue of factual causation is mainly one for the jury once it has been determined by the courts that there is enough evidence to be left to them and this can be established through the ‘but for’ test. However there appears to be no issues regarding causation in this case because William’s death is caused instantly by Harry.
The burden of proof lies with the prosecution and in criminal p...

... middle of paper ...

...dy [1989] 1 WLR 350
R v Vickers [1957] 2 QB 664
R v Woollin [1999] AC 82
Secondary Sources
FINCH E, FAFINSKI S (2007) Criminal Law Pearson Education Unlimited
GLAEBROOK P.R (2003) Statutes on Criminal Law 2003-2004 13th Edition, Oxford University Press
HERRING, J (2001) Criminal Law 7th Edition, Palgrave Macmillan
ORMEROD, D. (2011) Smith and Hogan’s Criminal Law 13th Edition, Oxford University Press
Online Resources
Criminal Evidence (2010) [Online] Available from - [Accessed 7th March 2014]
E-Law resources, Causation in Criminal Liability [Online] Available from - [Accessed 8th March 2014]
Law Teacher, Homicide – Murder [Online] Available from - [Accessed 8th March 2014]

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