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

Law should encourage citizens in their civic duty to do 'the right thing' in a moral sense and not to turn a blind eye or to fail to act to help someone who is in need. Consider to what extent the criminal law relating to omissions (failures to act)

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Law should encourage citizens in their civic duty to do 'the right thing' in a moral sense and not to turn a blind eye or to fail to act to help someone who is in need." Consider to what extent the criminal law relating to omissions (failures to act) reflects this view. An omission is when a person voluntarily fails to act. The general rule is that an omission cannot make a person guilty of an offence. This was explained by Stephen J in which he stated; "A sees B drowning and is able to save B by holding out his hand. A abstains in doing so in order that B drowns. A has committed no offence." However, there are exceptions where the failure to act is the actus reus of a crime; an Act of Parliament can create liability for an omission because the defendant has a statutory duty. An example of this would be if a parent had neglected their child of food and clothing then they would be in breach of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933. ...read more.

Middle

In the case of R V Stone and Dobinson, Stone's elderly sister came to live with the two defendants. She was frail and became bedridden and eventually died of malnutrition. Both defendants were found guilty of manslaughter because not only did they fail to care for her, but they also failed to summon help when she became ill. A duty can also arise through one's official position such as the case of R V Dytham. The defendant was a police officer who watched a man get beaten to death. He failed to intervene or call for help which could have saved the man's life, and instead he told another witness that he was going off duty and then left the scene. He was found guilty of neglecting to perform his duty as an officer. The final exception to the rule of omissions is when a duty arises because the defendant set in motion a chain of events. In the case of R V Miller the defendant fell asleep whilst smoking a cigarette which caused his mattress to catch fire. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some countries have legislation known as the 'good Samaritan law' where a person has a duty to help someone in an emergency situation, and failure to do so can lead to prosecution. Although it ensures morality is enforced and helps to eradicate selfishness from society this law can become controversial for certain circumstances. For example, according to the good Samaritan law, an aquaphobic person who fails to jump into a lake to save someone will be prosecuted for not helping. Although this example is an extreme case, the principle is clear that a person is not always able to fulfil this duty. In conclusion I believe that the law is well provisioned to ensure that people have a duty to help others in a range of circumstances and it has successfully incorporated society's morals so that anyone who has deliberately done wrong by an omission can be found guilty for not carrying out the responsibility society expects of them. ...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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

Good attempt to answer the question set.

Marked by teacher Edward Smith 09/07/2013

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

    Briefly explain the meaning of, and reasons for, strict liability as a criminal offence

    3 star(s)

    Therefore, they can be seen as inconsistent. As illustrated in the case of Winzar V Chief Constable of Kent, there is no need to prove fault.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    With close reference to the cases of Shaw v DPP and Knuller v DPP ...

    3 star(s)

    They want to come to fair conclusions when it comes to the laws and religion. Although no matter what the government decides to do between law and religion, everyone is not going to be happy, the aim is often to make sure that the people are happy.

  1. Discuss the Criminal Liability of Dave for the murder of Edward

    Diminished responsibility is a four stage test. Firstly, it must be proved that the defendant suffered from an abnormality of mind, described in Byrne as so different from a normal mind that a reasonable person would term it abnormal. Dave may be argued to have an abnormality of mind, shown

  2. The justifiable use of force in self-defence depends entirely upon the circumstances in which ...

    Even though possessing explosive substances is an offence under the Explosive Substances Act 1883, he was still allowed the defence. This may, however, be too unreasonable to produce petrol bombs and they are very dangerous. This, therefore, broadens the defence.

  1. Problems with the Law on Theft

    This ruling was for policy reasons to protect those who are vulnerable. However, the major condemnation aimed at these three cases were that the prosecution had brought the wrong change and that they should have, instead, been charged with Deception offences.

  2. The rules and principles of causation not only provide fair practical solutions to the ...

    The intervening act must be sufficiently serious and sufficiently independent in order to break the chain of causation. An act of a third party is usually in the form of medical treatment similar to the cases of R V Smith and R V Cheshire.

  1. Sources of the English Legal System and the Relationship between Legislation and Judicial ...

    According to Elliott and Quinn 2011, the judges listen to the attestation and the legal argument and prepare a written decision as to which party wins depending on what they believe and the facts and how the law administers them.

  2. How Satisfactory Is The Current Law On The Deception Offences?

    Similarly, in R v Talbott the defendant gave false details and obtained housing benefit. She was actually entitled to the benefit, but causation was established by the fact that the benefit officer would not have paid her if she had known the defendant was lying.

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