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Evaluation of Murder

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Homework- Evaluation of Murder A good law should be clear so both the judge and jury can apply it in a reasonable way, this makes it easier for the jury to follow and provides a consistent outcome. It should be consistent, if not one person could do exactly the same crime as another and they could have completely different sentences. Consistency makes the law fair which is another important element of a good law. The law should reflect the degree of fault and punish the defendant in a suitable way; this also provides justice for the family within the law. It should also provide a defence this also makes the law fair and also provides justice for the defendant as it will reflect the degree of fault. A good law could also be flexible. The actus Reus of murder involves the time limit. The law reform act abolished the original year and a day rule and introduced a new time limit. ...read more.


spite) or aforethought (i.e. planned or premeditated). The Mens Rea for murder is interpreted as an intention to kill or cause GBH. This is a common law definition and is subject to change, making it flexible but also causing uncertainty. There are problems with intention also because it has never properly been defined and cases like Moloney and Hyam only set out guidelines and judges tend to alter between the two. This causes confusion and uncertainty and leads to jury's verdicts being unfair and inconsistent. It also means that the decision is opened up and leads to members of the jury being influenced by personal prejudices. The mens rea of implied malice means a defendant can be convicted of murder and given a life sentence without either intending to kill or foreseeing death as a virtual certainty. This has been strongly critisised in Moloney as unfair because two people could be convicted of murder even though their crimes are completely different. ...read more.


In A-G's Reference (No.3 of 1994), [1997] a man stabbed his pregnant girlfriend. The shock brought on labour and the baby was born 8-10 weeks prematurely and after 4 months, the baby eventually died, as a result of the premature birth. The defendant was charged with the murder of the baby. This brought about the question of whether a foetus is a human being. One possible reform would be to include a foetus as a human being but have separate legislation setting out rules over abortion. Altogether I think the law on murder is satisfactory. However I think certain proposals for reform should be taken into consideration to make the law better. I think English law should follow the example of American law on different degree's of murder as personally I believe it is morally wrong and unfair to treat certain cases of murder like that of R v Cox in the same light as R v Brady and Hindley (1966) for example, who tortured and murdered several children for no apparent reason. I also think the wording of the mens rea should be changed to make it clearer and more consistent. ...read more.

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