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

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Introduction

Deepti Teelanah Decide whether the rules of causation are now weighted too far against the interests of the defendant. When deciding on a case of death, the courts use the 'but for' test, i.e. but for the defendants act, the death would not have happened. In the case of White 1910: The accused had intended to murder his mother, he had poison in a glass ready for her but she suddenly died from a heart failure, she died due to the heart failure and not the poison. The defendant could only be liable for attempted murder but it is clear that he had desired it to happen. He could not, therefore be found guilty of murder. When deciding what the legal cause of death is, two more issues are looked at more closely: Firstly, did the act of the defendant play a significant (more than a minimal role) part in causing the death of the victim? Secondly, has any other event occurred to break the chain of causation? It has been determined that an event of this kind needs to be something completely unforeseeable. ...read more.

Middle

It is foreseeable that others might be involved in the death, like for example in the case of Benge 1865, where the victims might already have a pre-existing medical condition and refuse treatment. Or that they themselves might aggravate their injuries. In the case of Holland 1841, the victims hand was severely cut by Holland, who attacked him with an iron bar. Blood poisoning occurred and the victim was advised to have his finger amputated, however, he refused to do so and developed lockjaw and died. The defendant was found guilty of his murder. In the case of Dear 1996, this is another case that shows where victims might aggravate their injuries: the victim indecently assaulted Dear's 12 year old daughter and the defendant later attacked him and slashed him with a Stanley knife. The victim died two days later from the wounds but apparently had done nothing to staunch the flow of blood. It was suggested that he reopened hid wounds himself. Despite this, the defendant's conviction was upheld. The Court Of Appeal stressed that the question to be asked of the jury was if the injuries inflicted by the defendant were 'an operating and significant cause of his death'. ...read more.

Conclusion

This can sometimes still prove to be difficult in order for a defendant to prove that the chain of causation has been broken. Does the voluntary act of the third party interrupt or break the chain of causation between the voluntary act of the accused and the resulting death? Again, legal responsibility is often imposed, in the context of interpersonal relationships, on those who influence others by advising, encouraging, helping, permitting, coercing, deceiving, misinforming or providing opportunities to others that motivate or enable them to act in a way that is harmful to themselves or to others. In some cases (coercion, deceit) the persons held responsible would naturally be said to have caused the persons influenced to act as they did, while in others they would not, though the weaker interpersonal relationship is in some respects analogous to more plainly causal relationships. Failing to help or provide opportunities to others by advising, warning, informing or rescuing them or supplying them with agreed goods and services are other grounds of responsibility for negative agency that, again, are at least analogous to causal relationships. The existence of this wide spectrum of causal or near-causal grounds of responsibility recognized in law and morality raises the question whether any uniform theory of causation is capable of accounting for all of them ...read more.

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