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Criminal Law

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Criminal Law Michealmas Term Essay 1 Questions about causation are simple factual ones. Therefore juries require no direction in answering them. Discuss Causation is an element of 'Result Crimes', in which the conduct itself does not constitute a crime, for example, shooting a gun, but rather the conduct along with it's harmful consequence, for example, shooting a gun at a person and the person dying. It is this gap between the conduct and harmful result, which gives rise to the uncertainty as to who's conduct caused the harmful result, and even if the harmful result was due to a human action, or just a natural event. When determining the chain of causal events leading up to a result, only the facts are relevant. However, once the causes are determined, principles of law must be applied to identify which of these causal acts were unlawful, as a person cannot be convicted for an innocent act. Therefore, causation is a question of fact and law. ...read more.


To make causation even more complicated, substansive events can occur following the original harm action, which rob the original action of responsibility for the result. This is providing it can be found that the second act significantly altered the course of events, which would have occurred, following the first act. The person who committed the original act is still charged, but not for the result which occurred. These are known as 'intervening acts'. This is shown in Jordan, where the jury ruled that the hospital's incompetence was more to blame for the victim's death, rather than the original assailant, whose actions were not lethal, therefore the medical staff held responsible. The complications of what constitutes an intervening act, then arise. Firstly, the intervening act must be so abnormal, that a reasonable person would not foresee it occurring in the course of events following the original action. Secondly, intention for the result, or 'causal energy', of the actor's (from the original and intervening act), must be measure. ...read more.


This belief is mimicked in Malcherek and Steel. Where the above issues arise, the judge should, if not intervene, direct the jury as to the moral issues involved. Furthermore, in English criminal law, the victim can bare no responsibility for the crime committed, even if it were not for their negligence or refusal to seek remedy, the harm result would not have been so severe. This is displayed in the case of Blaue. This liberal concept that a person should never be discriminated against for acting within their basic rights (for example: freedom of religion; freedom to move freely in the world as they please) is quite a difficult one for a jury to uphold. For example (1.3), 'in the eyes of the law' a female doctor who is sexually assaulted whist walking through a town centre in mid-afternoon, is indifferent to a prostitute who is sexually assaulted whist walking through a 'red-light' district at midnight. However, the jury consist of lay people from all aspects of society, who are susceptible to the common stereotypes and prejudices society breeds. ...read more.

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