“In general the criminal law prohibits the doing of harm but does not impose criminal liability for an omission to act”. Assess the truth of this statement and the arguments used to justify it.
An omission can be most easily described as a failure to do something. There is generally no liability in English law for failing to act. For example, there is no legal duty to help someone who is in danger (i.e. somebody who is drowning).
Many people often get confused between an act and an omission, so first it must be decided whether you are dealing with an act or an omission. There are three situations where the question “act or omission” arises: continuing acts, supervening faults and euthanasia.
An act is usually where the defendant is proven guilty of a crime because they possess all the elements of actus reus and mens rea and an omission is where the a person has failed to do something which generally there is no liability for, but like any rule there are many exceptions so this has lead me to believe that the statement above is false.
For example if somebody refuses to provide a breath sample or failed to report an accident, they can then be found liable because a limited number of statutory provisions create liability for omissions in specified circumstances such as the Road Traffic Offences Act 1988.