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

After Woollin, the law of Intention remains unclear, but nonetheless works in a satisfactory manner. Discuss

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

After Woollin, the law of Intention remains unclear, but nonetheless works in a satisfactory manner. Discuss With regard to the law of intention it was hoped ?Woollin would have seen an end to the misunderstanding of the criminal laws concept of intention.?[1] The law of intention has been one that has been at the centre of ?theoretical debate and judicial disagreement?[2] for many decades and is still one that is not completely understood, even though many have tried to define it. There are two types of intention, direct and oblique. While direct intention has proven much easier to define, oblique intention continues to create confusion within the courts and this has caused several questions to arise, particularly questions regarding good motives and morality. ?The courts and even Parliament have attempted to define the concept of oblique intention?[3] yet with little success. While many would argue that the Nedrick[4] and Woollin[5] guidelines has resolved the ?lingering tension between a law of virtual certainty and guidelines based on Hyam-style recklessness,?[6] some would disagree and claim that Woollin has not actually had much affect on the law of intention, but simply changed the wording and failed to give the law a true definition of intention. Some may even go as far as arguing that there is still uncertainty within the law. However, while the definition may still be unclear, one thing that can be agreed on is that the law works in a satisfactory manner and cases such as R v Steane[7], Re A (Children)[8] and R v Matthew and Alleyne[9] are clear evidence of this. ...read more.

Middle

However, as the law is subjective and the jury is not bound to find intention, but rather use the evidence to find intention, it can be found that the doctor was indeed lawful. He may have killed Mary in order to prolong Jodie?s life, but it was intended with good motive and the law ?permits such a action if it can be justified.?[26] If the operation to separate them had not happened, then both the twins would have died before their first birthday. This allows the courts to have the ?power to develop new defences?[27] with regard to medical liability ?so as to ensure that what they regard as important moral distinctions are marked appropriately.?[28] While the law may be indeed flexible and open to consideration, it must also not be too flexible. Many will argue that because there is a degree of flexibility then this provides no certainty within the law. It was said that by ?applying the Woollin judgment?it would result in many individuals avoiding convictions for murder.?[29] However, this is not the case, which is supported by the case of R v. Matthews and Alleyne and the example of a terrorist bomber. A terrorist aims to create a warning by blowing up a building with no intention to kill, and is not certain death will occur. Yet death did occur as a result, then can the terrorist be convicted of murder? If the virtual certainty test was applied it may and can be found that the defendant had no intention to kill and then can not be convicted of murder. ...read more.

Conclusion

Principles of Criminal Law. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009, 173 [11] [1975] AC 55 [12] [1985] AC 905 [13] Criminal Justice Act 1967 s.8 [14] [1961] AC 290 [15] [1979] QB 695 [16] [1985] AC 905 [17] Fafinksi, S. "Mens Rea: Intention, Recklessness, Negligence and Gross Negligence." Law Express: Criminal Law. By E. Finch. UK: Pearson Education Limited, 2008. 95 [18] Ibid [19] Ashworth, A, Principles of Criminal Law, OUP, New York, 2009, pp. 175 [20] Ibid [21] [1986] AC 112 [22] Ashworth, A, Principles of Criminal Law, OUP, New York, 2009, pp. 174 [23] Fafinksi, S. "Mens Rea: Intention, Recklessness, Negligence and Gross Negligence." Law Express: Criminal Law. By E. Finch. UK: Pearson Education Limited, 2008. 96 [24] [1957] Crim LR 365 [25] Ibid [26] Fafinksi, S. "Mens Rea: Intention, Recklessness, Negligence and Gross Negligence." Law Express: Criminal Law. By E. Finch. UK: Pearson Education Limited, 2008. 97 [27] Ashworth, A, Principles of Criminal Law, OUP, New York, 2009, pp. 177 [28] Ibid [29] Coffey, G, ?Codifying the meaning of ?Intention? in the Criminal Law,? The Journal of Criminal Law, 2009, 73, pp. 404 [30] Khan, A, ?Intention in Criminal Law: Time to change?? Statue Law Review, 23, 3, 2002, pp. 235 [31] Ibid [32] European Convention on Human Rights 1950 [33] Khan, A, ?Intention in Criminal Law: Time to change?? Statue Law Review, 23, 3, 2002, pp. 236 [34] Ibid., p. 237 [35] Khan, A, ?Intention in Criminal Law: Time to change?? Statue Law Review, 23, 3, 2002. 237 [36] Ashworth, A, Principles of Criminal Law, OUP, New York, 2009, pp. 171 [37] Ibid., p. 176 [38] Ashworth, A, Principles of Criminal Law, OUP, New York, 2009, pp. 177 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Criminal 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 University Degree Criminal law essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    "There is no statutory definition of intention in English law. Indeed, over the past ...

    5 star(s)

    There is a security guard within a metre of the safe door who he is aware of yet proceeds with the act and consequently the security guard is killed by the explosives. Initially, with regards to oblique intention an objective test was applied as in DPP v Smith11.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Under the current law, homeowners are permitted to use "reasonable force" against intruders.[3] However ...

    4 star(s)

    permissible and proportionate.17 Reasonableness of the degree of force used In contrast to the first stage, the second stage - whether degree of force used by the householders was reasonable - is an objective test.18 It is irrelevant what the householders subjectively believed to be reasonable force.

  1. R v Nedrick and R v Woollin: intention in murder.

    The House of Lords by a majority of 3:2 upheld Mrs Hyams's conviction for murder, though they did not produce a coherent judgment which clearly defined the requirement for intention. Eleven years later, the House of Lords again had to consider what direction a jury should be given on the meaning of intention, in R v.

  2. Consent in the law.

    In one case, the victim's participation in practical jokes played on RAF companions was accepted as evidence suggesting that he too could become a victim and consented to this. R v Aitkin and Others [1992]. There are however two main question concerning consent.

  1. In this essay it is my intention to evaluate by means of a critical ...

    reference to foresight of consequences, I do not believe it is necessary for the judge to do more than invite the jury to consider two questions. First, was death or really serious injury in a murder case (or whatever relevant consequence must be proved to have been intended in any other case)

  2. Criminal Law - Defining Intention

    the term of ?oblique intent?, was called by Glanville Williams as the ?side-effect? of the defendant?s intent.[11] Moreover, oblique intent can also be found in cases which are related to inchoate offences. The actions are done by the accused where a result is a step to achieve the desire end under his plan.

  1. This essay will discuss the similarities between the Irish and UK legislation on assisted ...

    Assisted suicide is not illegal in Switzerland unlike most European countries. Swiss law is regulated by their Penal Code. Article 115 of the Swizz Penal Code states: ?Every person who shall for selfish motives encourage or assist another person to commit suicide shall be liable for imprisonment for a term

  2. Mens Rea. The different types of mens rea are those of intention, recklessness, ...

    The appeal was allowed and a conviction of manslaughter was substituted for this case. While the consequences of the act of the defendant were foreseeable beyond reasonable doubt, the fact that the defendant failed to foresee them acquitted him of the intent to murder.

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