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Non-fatal Offences Against the Person.

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Introduction

A-Level Law Homework 4 Non-fatal Offences Against the Person (a) Discuss Alice's criminal liability in connection with the incidents involving Briony and Chris. (Your answer should also discuss any relevant defences.) Possible charges, which Alice could be charged with, include offences contrary to sections 18, 20 and 47 under the offences against the person act 1861. The most serious offence is s18 causing GBH with intent; the offence is broken into two parts; The mens rea, which is the defendant's guilty state of mind, which in this offence is an intention to cause GBH and the actus reus, which is the guilty act. The actus reus of the offence is the GBH, which means serious bodily injury has occurred, (R V SAUNDERS) and whether this was caused directly or indirectly to the victim. (R V MARTIN). In Alice's case she has committed the actus reus by causing deep cuts to Chris's fingers but she didn't intend to cause GBH with intent so there is no prove of mens rea. The next possible offence is s20 maliciously wounding or inflicting GBH; the offence is then looked at in two parts. ...read more.

Middle

(b) Reform of the law on non-fatal offences against the person has been proposed on a number of occasions. Explain why reform is said to be necessary, and consider any proposals for reform. The Offences Against the Person Act was initially set up to discipline those who commit assault and acts of violence against others. The reform of the act is therefore vital because the act needs to be kept up to date with new offences and new procedures. The law commissions published a criminal bill which would have repealed sections 18, 47 and 20 under the act to be changed because the language used is too complex, old fashioned, obscure. They also requested that the structure was inadequate with the three sections because it was complicated and technical and that mistakes by legal professionals were bound to result. However the Bill wasn't enacted. The Government 5 years later decided to suggest points which needed changing. The first was that in 1996 there were 83,000 court cases involving non-fatal offences and it was therefore necessary that the law governing such behaviour should be clear, well understood and full-bodied. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Government have also put forward preferred definitions of the mens rea of an offence. Direct intent is where a person acts intentionally with a result of his purpose to cause the harm and oblique intent where it is not his purpose to cause harm, but he knows it would occur if he were to succeed in his purpose of causing some other result. The new terms of the definition of intention are a lot easier to follow and apply to a case. This means that the jury are less likely to make a mistake with intention in a case. Therefore reform is necessary to keep the law on offences up to date with the social changes and expectations, which change in a society on a regular basis to keep a subsidised and fair equality for all people who commit wrongs. Through using the reform and keeping the law up to date the courts and juries are more likely to find sentencing of offences a lot easier and more suitable because they are shortened down and offences are categorized into adequate sub sections. Therefore an appropriate guideline is set which all people whether legal professionals or ordinary people are able to understand and apply properly to a case. ...read more.

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