• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Law
  • Word count: 1884

Law of Homicide

Extracts from this document...


EXPLAIN THE ELEMENTS OF actus reus and mens rea IN THE LAW OF HOMICIDE? Actus Reus is a term used in criminal law and is Latin for "guilty act". Literally the Latin phrase means bad act. The actus reus is the act which, in combination with a certain mental state, such as intent or recklessness, constitutes a crimes. For example, the crime of theft (Theft Act 1968) requires appropriation of property taking something belonging to another (actus reus). Coupled with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the object. This is the (mens rea) which means guilty act in Latin. The phrase "actus reus" denotes one of the elements the must be proven by the prosecution before anyone can be liable for criminal punishment. A murder statue for example, typically prohibits the "killing of a human being". So without the "actus reus" there can be no criminal liability. The R v Lewis 1971 case concerned the victim who broke her legs by jumping of the windows when her husband threatened to hurt her if she did not open the door. So she jumped of the 3rd floor window to escape from him because she knew that if she opens the door she was going to get beaten as usual. So when they took this to court the man was found guilty of grievous bodily harm under S.18 of the Offence Against the Person Act 1861. ...read more.


Provocation may be alleged as a defence to certain crimes in order to lessen the severity of the penalty normally imposed. For example, provocation that would cause a reasonable person to act in a heat of passion - a state of mind where one acts without reflection - may result in a reduction of a charge of murder to a charge of voluntary manslaughter. One of the cases where these defences have been used is R v Ahluwalia 1992. Diminished Responsibility is a potential defence by excuse by which defendants argue that although they broke the law, they should not be held criminally liable for doing so, as their mental functions were "diminished" or impaired. These defences have been used on this case R v Hobson 1988 Suicide Pact describes the suicides of two or more individuals in an agreed-upon plan. The plan may be to die together, or separately and closely timed. Suicide pacts are important concepts in the study of suicide, and have occurred throughout history, as well as in fiction. Suicide pacts are generally distinct from mass suicide. The latter refers to incidents in which a larger number of people kill themselves together for the same ideological reason, often within a religious, political, military or paramilitary context. Suicide pacts, on the other hand, usually involve small groups of people (such as married or romantic partners, family members, or friends) ...read more.


To verify this there is a case about a man called Darren Hoffe an employee with IC roofing, the employee died after falling through a skylight because he had no safety harness or equipment supplied from the job and he also had no safety training in working at heights. The company director named Mr. Colin Cooper was charged with manslaughter which was under Section 2(1) of healthy and safety act 1974 which states that " it shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees". Mr. Cooper was trialled for murder but jury found him guilty of corporate manslaughter and was jailed for 12 months. The jury told him that every person has a duty of care. By summing up by what I have written in this essay I think that the actus reus and the mens rea are very important elements in manslaughter and murder, as you know that they decide what they can be charged with if the defendant is found guilty. And without these two elements you would not be able to tell which crime was a accident. Without the mens rea elements of homicide, accidents which result in fatalities could be considered to be as serious as premeditated murder cases. An interesting development is the advert of corporate manslaughter which is aimed at encouraging and hopefully punishing those who do not exercise the correct level of duty of care is order to avoid fatalities. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Law 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 GCSE Law essays

  1. Study the concept of Reasonable man and reasonability in tort law.

    The defendant must exhibit the degree of skill which a member of the public would expect from a person in his or her position. Care must be taken in assessing that standard to relate what is expected of the professional to the expertise he claims to hold and not to demand unrealistic standard of skill and knowledge.

  2. Criminal Law (Offences against the person) - revision notes

    - The HOL claimed that depression was a characteristic for provocation. This case of Smith has made the 2 defences be come blurred Involuntary Manslaughter The top level of involuntary manslaughter is: - * UNLAWFUL ACT or * CONSTRUCTIVE INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER You are charged with this rather than claim it as a defence, like voluntary manslaughter.

  1. The Age Of Criminal Responsibility

    (S Broadbridge) Conclusion As we can see above, it cannot be denied that the issue of the age in which a person can be held responsible for a criminal offence is a much debated issue.

  2. The Law Relating to Negotiable Instruments

    now Hundis are used more and more as internal bills of exchange. Hundis are negotiable instruments under the Act, although they are so independently of the provisions of the Act. They are recognized by custom as negotiable, and the Act recognizes the custom pertaining to Hundis.

  1. Describe the special defences of diminished responsibility and provocation, Comment on the advantages and ...

    The jury can then consider whether the combined effect of the other matters which do fall in this section amounts to abnormality of mind. Provocation Where on a charge of murder there is evidence on which the jury can find that the person charged was provoked (whether by things done or by things said or both together)

  2. Discuss dishonesty.

    Deception itself is not known to be a crime, but there are six impressionable crimes in which deception is involved, including; (1) Obtaining property (2) Obtaining an overdraft, an insurance policy, an annunity contract, or the opportunity to earn money in a job or to win money by betting.

  1. Law- Strict liability, mens rea actus reus

    B- In most cases it is necessary to show the link between the defendant's act and the consequence for the accused to be guilty e.g. occasioning actual bodily harm (punch face and the injury is a broken nose- there is a clear link).

  2. Involuntary Manslaughter

    It is reasonable to say that the death of the woman was not foreseeable however unfortunately for manslaughter it is sufficient that the act may foreseeably cause some harm. Mitchell was therefore given life imprisonment for an act that was in most people's opinion minor.

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