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Discuss the potential criminal liability of both Raul and Doctor Smith for the death of Margaret.

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Raul and Christiano are standing in a queue at a bus stop when they begin arguing with one another. Raul pushes Christiano who staggers backwards and collides with Margaret, an 83 year old lady. Margaret falls backwards onto the pavement. She is injured and in pain. Margaret is taken to hospital where x-rays reveal that she has broken her hip. Doctors agree that the injury is made worse partly because she suffers from osteoporosis (brittle bone disease). Although Margaret is elderly, Doctor Smith decides to operate in order to allow Margaret any chance of being able to walk in future. A few days later, Margaret is recovering slowly from the operation when she develops a secondary infection. Doctor Smith prescribes Margaret penicillin but she is allergic to the drug and dies. Discuss the potential criminal liability of both Raul and Doctor Smith for the death of Margaret. (25) Raul and Doctor Smith may be liable for the murder of Margaret. Murder is a common law offence and as described by Lord Coke in 1797 " The unlawful killing of a reasonable person in being and under the queen's peace, with malice aforethought, express or implied". ...read more.


In this case an act of a third party would be relevant with the negligent medical treatment imposed by Doctor Smith, and this needs to be sufficiently separate from Raul's conduct so it may break the chain of causation (R v Smith & R v Chesire). Medical treatment has to be thoroughly bad ("Palpably wrong") before it breaks the chain of causation, in this case penicillin was given to her even though she was allergic to it. In this case the original injury is no longer an operative cause of death after the operation, she has been given penicillin as she has developed a secondary infection, this means it does break the chain of causation, because doctor smith should have identified her allergies, and the treatment was thoroughly bad and palpably wrong as in (R v Jordan). The Mens Rea of murder is an intention to kill (Mohan) or an intention to cause GBH (Vickers). Murder is a specific intent offence, meaning that it can only be committed with intention. There are two forms of intention, direct and oblique. Direct intention is when the defendant intends consequences of his or her actions this is not the case with both Raul and Doctor Smith, they did not intend Margaret's death. ...read more.


Considering Gross Negligence Manslaughter it must be proven that there was a duty of care, doctor smith owed a duty of care to his patient, however Raul did not necessarily. (Adamnako). The breach of the duty of care must cause the death, this is exactly what happened to Margaret, doctor smith had a duty of care to know that she was allergic to the drug that killed her, (See causation previously). Gross negligence was present "showed such disregard for the life and safety of others as to amount to a crime" (Bateman) the negligent medical treatment would qualify for this. It can be said that there is a risk of death from both actions, the push and failure to identify what Margaret was allergic to (Misra). In conclusion, it is likely that Raul will redress the offence of murder to unlawful act manslaughter as it is his act which caused the eventual death, and not murder as there was a break in the chain of causation. Doctor Smith from murder to gross negligence manslaughter, as his negligent medical treatment caused the death, and as a doctor he owed a duty of care to Margaret, committing gross negligence when not identifying that she was allergic to the drug. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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