• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Defences in criminal law.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Defences When someone is charged with an offence there are various different defences that may be available to them. These defences are Insanity, Automatism, Intoxication, Mistake, Self-Defence and Consent. Insanity Insanity is available to all offences where Mens Rea is required. It is not available for strict liability offences where no mental element is required. The legal definition of insanity is not the same as the medical definition. It is not common for defendants to plead insanity because most insane defendants are hospitalised under the mental health act before they go to trial. The legal definition of insanity arose from the case of M'Naughten (1843). From the definition it can be seen that three elements need to be proved. These are 1.) There must be a defect of reason. This means that the defendant's powers of reasoning must be impaired. This does not cover absent-mindedness or confusion. 2.) This must be the result of a disease of the mind. This disease can be a mental disease or a physical disease which affects the mind (Kemp 1956). ...read more.

Middle

When the defendant does not know that his actions might lead to a self induced automatic state in which he may commit an offence, he has not been reckless and can use the defence of automatism. Intoxication This covers intoxication by alcohol, drugs or other substances, such as glue-sniffing. When a defendant relies on intoxication he does so to show that he doesn't have the necessary Mens Rea. Whether the defendant is guilty or not depends on whether the intoxication was voluntary or involuntary and whether the offence charged is one of specific or basic intent. Specific intent offences are murder and S18 OAPA. Basic intent offences are manslaughter, S20 & S47 OAPA, assault and battery. Voluntary intoxication can negate the Mens Rea for a specific intent offence, e.g. if the defendant is so intoxicated that he has not formed the Mens Rea for the offence, he is not guilty (Sheehan and Moore 1975). When the offence charged is one of basic intent then intoxication is not a defence, because recklessness is enough to constitute the necessary Mens Rea (Majewski 1977). ...read more.

Conclusion

Was the defendant under actual or threatened attack from the victim? 2.) Did the defendant act only to defend himself from the victim? 3.) Was his response in proportion to the degree of danger?. Section 3(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 states that "a person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime". If force is used after all danger from the assailant is over then the defence of self-defence is not available, and if excessive force is used the defence will fail (Clegg 1995). Consent Consent is available as a defence for assaults where there is no injury or only a minor injury. It is never available for S18 & 20 OAPA, and is sometimes not available for S47 OAPA. This is because it is not seen to be in the public interest that people should try to cause, or should cause, each other ABH for no good reason. The Court of Appeal listed certain situations in which the consent of the victim is legally relevant and renders the conduct in question lawful, for example, surgical interference, sporting activity, tattooing & piercing. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Criminal Law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Criminal Law essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How effective was the defence of intoxication?

    3 star(s)

    which D was a diabetic who wounded (s20) his ex-girlfriends' new boyfriend after taking insulin but no food, causing loss of consciousness so D did not have the mens rea. It was held that intoxication arising from excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs were distinct from intoxication from unexpected side-effects of therapeutic substances.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Critical evaluation of murder for A2 law unit 4

    3 star(s)

    Clegg fired at the car, with his final shot hitting a passenger in the back, killing her. Evidence shows that the car had gone past by the time the last shot was fired. It was held that self defence or defence of antoher could not be used as there was no danger when he fired that shot.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss whether the rules governing insanity as a defence in criminal law are in ...

    3 star(s)

    defendant didn?t take his insulin and had a hyperglycaemic episode and then took a car and drove it whilst being disqualified. It was proven that because the defendant had disease of the mind, defect of reason, not knowing the nature and quality of the act and not knowing it was

  2. Property Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Police Powers of Search and Entry.

    Gross negligence manslaughter Gross negligence manslaughter is related to involuntary manslaughter where the defendant is acting lawfully. Rv Adomako (1995) There was a case where an anesthetist failed to notice that a tube had become disconnected from the ventilator and the patient died.

  1. Law - Unit 3 - Mock Exam Question

    Firstly if a special relationship exists between two people. In R v Lowe (1973) a father failed to call a doctor when his nine-week-old baby became ill. He had a duty to act, though on the facts he lacked the mens rea of an offence because of his low intelligence.

  2. List and explain the six most important cases for the law on insanity, explaining ...

    Burgess (1991) In the Canadian case of Parks (1992), the defendant got up in the middle of the night, got dressed and then drove 15 miles away to his in-laws. He then stabbed and killed his mother in-law, and severely injured his father in-law. He claimed he had been sleepwalking.

  1. The History and Main Features of Criminal Law in the USA.

    [9]The early common law decisions have in some instances been translated into statues in many of our states. These statues have broken down the crime of homicide into graded levels: murder, voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, and negligent manslaughter. The most serious type of homicide is a murder.

  2. Explain the meaning of Actus reus and mens rea

    is taking an unjustifiable risk as to the outcome of his actions. In Cunningham the jury decided that Cunningham was not aware of the risk of poisoning from removing a gas metre. Explain the principle of transferred malice Transferred malice is the principle that where someone carries out the actus

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work