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

Causation - the 'but for' test.

Extracts from this document...


CAUSATION - It must be proved by the court that the defendant caused the victims death even if he may not be the sole/main cause of death. It must be stressed that a death must be caused by the unlawful act of the assailant. However, in some cases, the defendant might not have been directly responsible for the final act which caused death but will still be liable for the homicide because he set in motion the chain of events which led to it. Causation is applicable to many offences but I will concentrate particularly on those cases involving fatal offences against the person, in the form of murder and manslaughter. * Establishing the chain of causation There are no rules laid down by statute to govern the concerns of causation; but principles have been established by case law, as each problem rose before the courts. In few cases it is difficult to distinguish whether the defendants conduct caused the death in question, but the jury must be convinced beyond reasonable doubt. ...read more.


R v Malcharek (1981) the assailant attacked a woman causing such injuries that she was put on a life support machine. In no hope of recovery the doctors decided to switch the life support machine off while she was "brain dead". Half an hour later she was pronounced dead - the def was convicted of murder and appealed on the grounds that the doctors had broken the chain of causation between the attack and the death of the victim by switching off the life machine - the court of appeal dismissed this. The substantial cause of death was due to the original wounds inflicted by the def not the "mere effect of the life support machine"; as soon as the machine had been switched off, the wounds continued to cause the death. * Natural consequences of the def's act - victim dies as result of some act/event which would not have occurred but for the act done by the def and which is a natural consequence of the def act - it was FORESEEABLE as likely to occur in the normal course of events; the def will still be held to have caused the death e.g. ...read more.


R v Jordan(1956) def stabbed V who was admitted to hospital and died 8 days later - in C/A, 'fresh evidence' of two doctors was allowed to the effect that (a) in their opinion death had not been caused by the stab wound, which was mainly healed at time of death, but by the medical treatment; (b) the victim had been given anti-biotic to which he was allergic to, and and large amounts of introvenous liquid; and (c) according to evidence the treatment was "palpably wrong", and the direct and immediate cause of death (pneumonia). To relieve the def of liability, the medical treatment must (a) be independant of the def's act and, (b) be potent in causing death, thus (c) reducing the def's act to insignificance. * Where the victim has tried to escape and caused himself harm - Mackie (1973) a manslaughter conviction was upheld when a father frightened his 3 yr old son so severely that the boy fell down the stairs and was killed. It is necessary in some cases to give a jury further guidance on the issue of causation, particularly where it is possible that the victims reaction was out of all proportion to the def's threat. SHAHNOOR BHUIYA ...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 Capital Punishment 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 Capital Punishment essays

  1. 'Liability in criminal law normally requires the prosecution to establish that the accused has ...

    Goff LJ concluded that 'if a reasonable act of self defence against the act of the accused causes the death of a third party, there is no reason in principle why the act being involuntary should relieve accused of the criminal responsibility.'

  2. Legal Causation.

    The first rule of legal causation states the defendants act must have contributed to the victim's injury or death in a significant and operative way. In R v Cheshire there was an argument in a chip shop, D shot V in the stomach and leg.

  1. Our aim of for both questions is to explore the guilty conduct required of ...

    It is clear that the act of the accused need not be the sole or main cause of death; however, it is wrong to assume that Tim is not liable if he is less than one-fifth to blame.7 In Dyson it is immaterial that the blows would not have caused death sine qua non (but for)

  2. Research project - The escape from Sobibor.

    At about the middle of the day, the prisoners all assembled in the main yard for the daily head count. Without warning, Felhendler ran out of line and yelled, "Our day has come. Most of the Germans are dead. Let's die with honor.

  1. What evidence is there to support the claim that Don Delillo is a disturbing ...

    and how this has caused such a vast change in the way in which we view death. Lyotard describes the post-modern society as one that signifies the "death of the grand narratives" (Lyotard) and the reign of the little, and local narratives.

  2. Decide whether the rules of causation are now weighted too far against the interests ...

    Also in the case of Mackie 1973, a father frightened his 3 year old son so severely that the child fell down the stairs and was killed. In another case, Williams 1992: the prosecution claimed that the deceased had jumped from a moving car because he was in fear of being robbed.

  1. Analyse the philosophical principles of at least one ethical theory and evaluate its application ...

    to life, regardless of any crime they commit, then there is no arguing for the death penalty. Similarly, if one believes that, criminal's rights aside, no entity, including the state, can rightly take a life, then there is no use in arguing for capital punishment.

  2. Explain, by reference to decided cases, how the courts have approached the requirement of ...

    As demonstrated in Dalloway 1847 where the 'but for test' was applied in order to determine whether the defendant was criminally liable for having had killed a three year old child. It was decided after having had looked at the facts that if it hadn't been for the driver travelling

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