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

What offences has Basil (who is educationally subnormal) committed in the following circumstances?

Extracts from this document...


(4) What offences has Basil (who is educationally subnormal) committed in the following circumstances? On his way home from school, Basil experiments with a box of matches that he has taken from home earlier in the day, trying in particular to set alight various substances that he finds in Derek's caravan. Since the box has become soggy, nothing does catch fire. Basil then decides that he will take any money that he can find, and searches a drawer but finds none. In the course of his search, he knocks over and destroys an extremely rare and valuable pot-plant. Irritated by his lack of success, Basil throws a metal door stop in the general direction of the wall of the caravan. The door stop strikes a window (which Basil did not see because it was hidden behind a curtain) shattering the glass and striking Derek who has come to investigate suspicious noises in his caravan. Derek remonstrates loudly and Basil becomes thoroughly alarmed. He takes up a cricket bat and, as Derek lunges at him, strikes him a severe blow on the head, knocking Derek unconscious. Thinking that he has killed Derek, Basil takes two large plastic refuse sacks and secures these around Derek's body. Derek dies of asphyxiation. Firstly, if Basil is under the age of 10, he may not be held liable for any of criminal offence. ...read more.


Under s.9(1)(b) the ulterior offence, that the accused should steal or attempt theft must also be satisfied. This occurs as he aims to 'take any money he can find', and the actus reus of theft contrary to s1 of the Theft Act 1968 has three elements. The appropriation of property, under s.3(1) of same act states that an appropriation is any assumption of the rights of an owner, and this assumption requires only some rights of the owner(Gomez). As Alan picks up the money such rights have been assumed. Property, as defined in s.4(1) 'includes money'. The requirement that the property belonging to another as specified in s.5(1) is present as the money belongs to Derek Basil did not form mens rea until inside when he decides to look for the money, and this is covered under 9(1)(b) style burglary. Aggravated burglary is that Basil had a 'weapon of offence.' Under s.10(1)(b) this is any article used/adapted for use for causing injury. at the time of the burglary. This requirement is clearly satisfied by the use of the cricket bat he pounds Derek with. Whilst the weapon was not brought into the building with him, this does not matter, as it has been held that picking up some scissors in a hospital during a burglary and using them as a weapon will be sufficient grounds for aggravated burglary(A-G's ref no.1 of 2000). ...read more.


(A-G Ref no.3 of 1998). Following McNaghten's case, three things must be established for this defence to succeed. Defect of reason, disease of the mind and not knowing the nature and quality of the act was wrong. Basil obviously had a disease of the mind, as being educationally subnormal; it is covered by the Kemp definition. Due to this condition, even if she 'retained her normal powers of reason' as they are below that of a reasonable person this is still covered by the McNaghten's Rules. (Clarke). As it is required that the defendant must know his act was legally wrong (Windle), it is likely that being a child also, Basil was not aware that the nature and quality of the act was wrong, however this depends on the extent of his mental illness. If that defence were to fail, Basil may rely on the common law defence of self-defence. Here it must be shown that the threat to oneself was imminent (Fegan), clearly it was, as Derek was about to attack him, and it was adequate. Even if Derek wasn't going to cause any serious harm to Basil, following Beckford, if Basil genuinely believed he was going to, this mistake of fact can be admitted. Critique-shortcomings of recklessness distinctions Caldwell unfair on def's in property damage etc, but in personal injury/homicide unfair on victims as no punishment. Whilst freedom given to autonomy in Cunningham, welfare recognised in Caldwell, perhaps one definition of recklessness would be faire, easy for a jury to understand and introduce consistency into law. ...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 Law of Tort 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 Law of Tort essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Taking selected areas of the civil and or criminal law, evaluate whether sportsmen and ...

    4 star(s)

    Matthew Cubbin v Stephen Minnis (2000) is the case of a 24 year old male who received �18500 for a fracture to his right leg. These injuries occurred in the player's work place, as they play football for a living.

  2. What is the meaning of intention in English criminal law? Is it always possible ...

    state of the law was flipped into some turmoil by the House of Lords. In Caldwell (1981). The accused was charged with two offences, the first under s.1 (1) Criminal Damage Act 1971 criminal damage, but also under s.1 (2)

  1. Using actual situations, describe the elements of actus reus and mens rea in criminal ...

    The actus reus of manslaughter is also the unlawful killing of a person. However, there are two separate forms of manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter is where the defendant has committed the actus reus and mens rea of murder (the unlawful killing of a person and the specific intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm)

  2. Gross negligence and recklessness.

    He argued that in popular speech there is no distinction between the person who recognises a risk and goes on nevertheless and the person who never addresses his mind to the obvious risk at all. The law, said Diplock, should not perpetuate 'fine and impracticable distinctions'.

  1. Non-fatal Offences Against the Person.

    Occasioning means causing the assault through either intention or subjective recklessness. (R V PARMENTER: SAVAGE). The assault in this case for Chris was battery, the actus reus was proved because there was physical harm to the skin and there was also mens rea for assault because she intended to cause

  2. Any crime in law is made up of two elements, the actus reus which ...

    the actus reus, all that needs to be proven is the intention. Non fatal offences against a person include assault, battery, common assault, Grievous Bodily Harm, GBH with intent, malicious wounding and malicious wounding with intent. Battery is not defined in any statue but is charged under 5.39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

  1. The terms Actus Reus and Mens Rea

    Unable to wake the victim and believing her to be dead the accused threw the supposed corpse into the river. It was later revealed that her death was caused by drowning. The judge in this case makes an important direction to the jury.

  2. In this report, the differences between contractual liability and tortuous liability are explained. In ...

    It was established in Donoghue v. Stephenson (1932). This case established the principle that everyone is under a legal obligation to take reasonable care to ensure that others will not be injured because of careless conduct. The claimant will have to prove that the defendant owed him a duty of care in the first instance.

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