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English criminal law concerns offences, their prevention and the consequences, in
England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows ...

England and Wales
. Criminal conduct is considered to be a
wrong A wrong (from Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early mediev ...

wrong
against the whole of a community, rather than just the private individuals affected. The state, in addition to certain international organisations, has responsibility for crime prevention, for bringing the culprits to
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspectives, ...
, and for dealing with convicted offenders. The
police The police are a Law enforcement organization, constituted body of Law enforcement officer, persons empowered by a State (polity), state, with the aim to law enforcement, enforce the law, to ensure the safety, health and possessions of citize ...

police
, the criminal
courts A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, govern ...

courts
and
prisons A prison (also known as a jail or gaol (dated, British English, British, Australian English, Australian, and to a lesser extent Huron Historic Gaol, Canadian English), penitentiary (American English), detention center (or centre if outside t ...
are all publicly funded services, though the main focus of criminal law concerns the role of the courts, how they apply criminal
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...

statute
s and
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
, and why some forms of behaviour are considered criminal. The fundamentals of a crime are a guilty act (or ''
actus reus ''Actus reus'' (), sometimes called the external element or the objective element of a crime, is the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoke ...
'') and a guilty mental state (or ''
mens rea ''Mens rea'' (; Law LatinLaw Latin, sometimes written L.L. or L. Lat., and sometimes derisively called Dog Latin Dog Latin, also known as Cod Latin, macaronic Latin, mock Latin, or Canis Latinicus, refers to the creation of a phrase In everyd ...
''). The traditional view is that moral culpability requires that a defendant should have recognised or intended that they were acting wrongly, although in modern regulation a large number of offences relating to road traffic,
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, financial services and
corporations A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capa ...
, create
strict liability In criminal law, criminal and Civil law (common law), civil law, strict liability is a standard of Public liability, liability under which a person is legally responsible for the consequences flowing from an activity even in the absence of Tort, ...
that can be proven simply by the guilty act. Defences exist to crimes. A person who is accused may in certain circumstances plead they are
insane Insanity, madness, and craziness are terms that describe a spectrum A spectrum (plural ''spectra'' or ''spectrums'') is a condition that is not limited to a specific set of values but can vary, without gaps, across a Continuum (theory), co ...

insane
and did not understand what they were doing, that they were not in control of their bodies, they were intoxicated, mistaken about what they were doing, acted in self defence, acted under
duress Coercion () is compelling a party to act in an involuntary manner by use of threat A threat is a communication of intent to inflict harm or loss on another person. IntimidationIntimidation (also called cowing) is intentional behavior that " ...
or out of necessity, or were provoked. These are issues to be raised at
trial In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by ...

trial
, for which there are detailed rules of
evidence Evidence for a proposition In logic and linguistics, a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence (linguistics), sentence. In philosophy, "Meaning (philosophy), meaning" is understood to be a non-linguistic entity which is shared by a ...

evidence
and procedure to be followed.


History

England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows ...

England and Wales
does not have a
Criminal Code A criminal code (or penal code) is a document that compiles all, or a significant amount of, a particular jurisdiction's criminal law Criminal law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interactin ...
, though such an enactment has been often recommended and attempted (see
English Criminal Code The jurisdiction of England and Wales does not have a Criminal Code though such an instrument has been often recommended and attempted. , the Law Commission (England and Wales), Law Commission is again working on the Code. History *1818 - Parliame ...
). Many criminal offences are
common law offence Common law offences are crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsa ...
s rather being specified in legislation. In 1980, a Committee of
JUSTICE Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspectives, ...

JUSTICE
said that, upon conducting a search, they found over 7,200 offences, and that they thought that there were probably many more. They said that "it is now impossible to ascertain the entire content of the criminal law at any given time". In 1989, the
Law Commission A law commission, law reform commission, or law revision commission is an independent body set up by a government to conduct law reform Law reform or legal reform is the process of examining existing law Law is a system A system is a gr ...
said that a hypothetical criminal code that contained all existing criminal offences would be "impossibly bulky". In 2001, Peter Glazebrook said the criminal law was "voluminous, chaotic and contradictory". In March 2011, there were more than ten thousand offences excluding those created by
by-lawsA by-law (bye-law, by(e)law, by(e) law) is a rule or law established by an organization or community to regulate itself, as allowed or provided for by some higher authority. The higher authority, generally a legislature or some other government body ...
. In 1999, P J Richardson said that as the case for a moratorium on legislation in the field of criminal justice was becoming stronger and stronger, governments seemed ever more determined to bring forward more legislation. *
Treason Act 1351 The Treason Act 1351 is an Act of the Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assem ...
and
Hanged, drawn and quartered To be hanged, drawn and quartered became a statutory A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislature, legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city, State (polity), state, or country by way of consent. Typically, ...

Hanged, drawn and quartered
.
Petty treason Petty treason or petit treason was an offence under the common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being st ...
and
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*
Suppression of Heresy Act 1414 The Suppression of Heresy Act 1414 (2 Hen. V St. 1, c. 7) was an Act of the Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Delibera ...
and
John Wycliffe John Wycliffe (; also spelled Wyclif, Wickliffe, and other variants; 1320s – 31 December 1384) was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, biblical translator, reformer, priest, and a seminary professor at the University of Oxford. H ...

John Wycliffe
*'' Carrier's Case'' (1473) YB Pasch 13 Edw. IV, f. 9., pl. 5,
larceny Larceny is a crime involving the unlawful taking or theft Theft is the taking of another person's property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themse ...
*
Jesuits, etc. Act 1584 An act against Jesuits, seminary priests, and such other like disobedient persons, also known as the Jesuits, etc. Act 1584, (27 Eliz.1, c. 2) was an Act of the Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature A legisla ...
*'' Bushel’s Case'' (1670) 124 E.R. 1006 writ of habeas corpus *
Habeas Corpus Act 1679 (; from Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin '' ...
* Transportation Act 1717 * Black Act 1723 *
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and Transportation Act 1746 and 1768 *
Murder Act 1751 The Murder Act 1751 (25 Geo 2 c 37), sometimes referred to as the Murder Act 1752,Leon RadzinowiczA History of English Criminal Law and Its Administration from 1750 Macmillan Company. 1948. Volume 1. Page 801. was an Act of the Parliament of Grea ...
*'' King v Pear'' (1779) 168 Eng Rep 208, larceny by trick *''
Trial of Lord George Gordon The Trial of Lord George Gordon for high treason occurred on 5 February 1781 before Lord Mansfield in the Court of King's Bench (England), Court of King's Bench, as a result of Gordon's role in the Gordon Riots, eponymously named riots. Gordon, Pre ...
'' (1781) for treason for the
Gordon riots The Gordon Riots of 1780 were several days of rioting in London motivated by anti-Catholic sentiment. They began with a large and orderly protest against the Papists Act 1778, Papists Act of 1778, which was intended to reduce official Anti-Catholic ...
*'' Case of the Dean of St Asaph'' or '' R v Shipley'' (1784) 4 Doug 73,
seditious libel Sedition is overt conduct, such as speech Speech is human vocal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin ...
*
Burning of women in England In England, burning was a legal punishment inflicted on women found guilty of high treason Treason is the crime of attacking a state authority to which one owes allegiance. This typically includes acts such as participating in a war again ...
and
Treason Act 1790 The Treason Act 1790 (30 Geo 3 c 48) was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, Parliament of the Kingdom of Great Britain which abolished Burning of women in England, burning at the stake as the penalty for women convicted o ...
*'' Bazeley's Case'' (1799) 2 East P.C. 571, establishing crime of
embezzlement Embezzlement is the act of withholding asset In financial accounting Financial accounting is the field of accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial and non financial informa ...
*
Debtors' prison A debtors' prison is a prison A prison, also known as a jail or gaol (dated, English language in England, standard English, Australian English, Australian, and Huron Historic Gaol, historically in Canada), penitentiary (American English ...
*
Offences Against the Person Act 1828#REDIRECT Offences Against the Person Act 1828 {{Redr, {{R from move {{R from alternative capitalisation ...
*
Bloody Code The "Bloody Code" was the system of crimes in England in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It was not referred to as such in its own time, but the name was given later owing to the sharply increased number of people given the death penalty, eve ...
*
Forfeiture Act 1870 The Forfeiture Act 1870 (33 & 34 Vict c 23) is a British Act of Parliament Acts of parliament, sometimes referred to as primary legislation, are texts of law passed by the Legislature, legislative body of a jurisdiction (often a parliament or cou ...
*
Capital punishment in the United Kingdom Capital punishment in the United Kingdom was used from ancient times until the second half of the 20th century. The last executions in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the Uni ...
*''C''
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UKHL 42 *'' Clingham v RB Kensington and Chelsea'' 002UKHL 39 *'' Collins v DPP''
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006
UKHL 40 *''JTB''
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UKHL 20 *'' R v K'' 001UKHL 41 *'' Norris v United States''
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UKHL 16 *'' R (Purdy) v DPP''
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UKHL 45 *'' R v Rahman''
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UKHL 45 *'' GG plc''
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UKHL 17 *'' R v Rimmington and Goldstein''
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UKHL 63 *'' R v Saik''
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006
UKHL 18 *'' R v Sheldrake''
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UKHL 43 *'' Hashnan and Harrup'' (2000) 30 EHRR 241


Criminal law elements

The two basic elements of a crime are the act of doing that which is criminal, and the intention to carry it out. In Latin this is called the ''
actus reus ''Actus reus'' (), sometimes called the external element or the objective element of a crime, is the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoke ...
'' and the ''
mens rea ''Mens rea'' (; Law LatinLaw Latin, sometimes written L.L. or L. Lat., and sometimes derisively called Dog Latin Dog Latin, also known as Cod Latin, macaronic Latin, mock Latin, or Canis Latinicus, refers to the creation of a phrase In everyd ...
''. In many crimes however, there is no necessity of showing a guilty mind, which is why the term "
strict liability In criminal law, criminal and Civil law (common law), civil law, strict liability is a standard of Public liability, liability under which a person is legally responsible for the consequences flowing from an activity even in the absence of Tort, ...
" is used.


Actus reus

''Actus reus'' is
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
for "guilty act" and is the physical element of committing a crime. It is usually the application or threat of unlawful force, though exceptionally an omission or failure to act can result in liability. Simple examples might be A hitting B with a stick, or X pushing Y down a
water well A well is an excavation or structure created in the ground by digging Digging, also referred to as excavation, is the process of using some implement such as claws, hands, manual tools or heavy equipment, to remove material from a solid sur ...

water well
. These are guilty acts and the unlawful application or force. Alternatively, one may have a pre-existing duty to another person and by deliberately not performing it, one commits a crime. For instance, not giving food is an omission rather than an act, but as a parent one has a duty to feed one's children. Pre-existing duties can arise also through
contract A contract is a legally binding agreement that defines and governs the rights and duties between or among its parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview ...

contract
, a voluntary undertaking, a blood relation with whom one lives, and occasionally through one's official position. As the 19th century English
judge A judge is a person who presides over court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In th ...

judge
,
Lord Coleridge CJ John Duke Coleridge, 1st Baron Coleridge, Privy Council of the United Kingdom, PC (3 December 1820 – 14 June 1894) was an English lawyer, judge and Liberal Party (UK), Liberal politician. He held the posts, in turn, of Solicitor General for Engl ...
wrote,
“It would not be correct to say that every moral obligation involves a legal duty; but every legal duty is founded on a moral obligation.”
Furthermore, one can become bound by a duty to take reasonable steps to correct a dangerous situation that one creates. In '' R v Miller'' a squatter flicked away a still lit
cigarette A cigarette is a narrow cylinder containing burnable material, typically tobacco, that is rolled into Rolling paper, thin paper for smoking. The cigarette is ignited at one end, causing it to smolder; the resulting smoke is orally inhaled via ...

cigarette
, which landed on a
mattress A mattress is a large, usually rectangular pad for supporting a lying A lie is an assertion that is believed to be false, typically used with the purpose of deceiving someone. The practice of communicating lies is called lying. A person who ...

mattress
. He failed to take action, and after the building had burned down, he was convicted of
arson {, The remains of Kyoto Animation , often abbreviated , is a Japanese animation studio An animation studio is a company producing animated media. The broadest such companies conceive of products to produce, own the physical equipment for produ ...
. He failed to correct the dangerous situation he created, as he was duty bound to do. In many countries in
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
and
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
,
Good Samaritan law Good Samaritan laws offer legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to those who are, or whom they believe to be injured, ill, in peril, or otherwise incapacitated.U.K. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...
that switching off the life support of someone in a
persistent vegetative state A persistent vegetative state (PVS) or post-coma unresponsiveness (PCU) is a disorder of consciousness Disorders of consciousness are medical conditions that inhibit consciousness , an English Paracelsian physician Consciousness, at its sim ...
is an omission to act and not criminal. Since discontinuation of power is not a voluntary act, not grossly negligent, and is in the patient's best interests, no crime takes place. If someone's act is to have any consequence legally, it must have in some way caused a victim harm. The legal definition of "causation" is that " but for" the defendant's conduct, the victim would not have been harmed. If more than one cause for harm exists (e.g. harm comes at the hands of more than one culprit) the rule states that to be responsible, one's actions must have "more than a slight or trifling link" to the harm. Another important rule of causation is that one must "take his victim as he finds him." For instance, if P gives his friend Q a playful slap on the head, but Q suffers from a rare cranial condition and dies, then P can be guilty of manslaughter regardless of how unlucky he is to have bickered with Q. This is known as the thin skull rule. Between the defendant's acts and the victim's harm, the chain of causation must be unbroken. It could be broken by the intervening act (''novus actus interveniens'') of a third party, the victim's own conduct, or another unpredictable event. A mistake in
medical Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (proced ...

medical
treatment usually will not break the chain, unless the mistakes are in themselves "so potent in causing death." For instance, if emergency medics dropped a stab victim on the way to the hospital and performed the wrong
resuscitation Resuscitation is the process of correcting physiological disorder A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate extern ...
, the attacker would not be absolved of the crime. The interplay between causation and criminal responsibility is notoriously difficult, and many outcomes are criticized for their harshness to the unwitting defendant and sidestepping of hospitals' or the victim's own liability. In '' R v Dear'' a stab victim reopened his wounds while in the hospital and died. But despite this suicidal behavior, the attacker was still held fully responsible for murder. *'' R v Holland'' (1841) 2 Mood. & R. 351 break in causal chain *''
R v Instan ''R v. Instan'' (1893) 1 Law Reports, QB 450 is an English criminal law manslaughter precedent, binding decision, confirming how the ''actus reus'' of that offence can be one of inactive negligence (that is, neglect), as the common law is deemed by ...
'' (1893) 1 QB 450 duty of care, to not omit to help some dying of gangrene *''
R v Smith (Thomas Joseph) ''R. v. Smith (Thomas Joseph)''
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2 QB 35,
959 Year 959 ( CMLIX) was a common year starting on SaturdayA common year starting on Saturday is any non-leap year A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or bissextile year) is a calendar year that contains an additional day (or, in the ...
A.C. is an English criminal law case, dealing with causation (law), causation and homicide. The court ruled that negligence of medical staff, nor being dropped on the way from a stretcher twice ...
''
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QB, negligence of medics does not stop murder *'' R v Hughes''
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UKSC 56, driver who was not as fault for a crash could not be responsible for others deaths although he was prosecuted for driving without a licence or insurance


Mens rea

''Mens rea'' is another
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
phrase, meaning "guilty mind". It is the mental element of committing a crime and establishes the element of intent. Together with an ''actus reus'', ''mens rea'' forms the bedrock of criminal law, although
strict liability In criminal law, criminal and Civil law (common law), civil law, strict liability is a standard of Public liability, liability under which a person is legally responsible for the consequences flowing from an activity even in the absence of Tort, ...
offenses have encroached on this notion. A guilty mind means intending to do that which harms someone. Intention under criminal law is separate from a person's motive. '' R v Mohan''
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2 All ER 193, intention defined as "a decision to bring about... he ''actus reus''no matter whether the accused desired that consequence of his act or not." In the special case of murder, the defendant must have appreciated (i.e. consciously recognized) that either
death Death is the permanent, irreversible cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organi ...

death
or serious bodily harm would be the result of his actions. In '' R v Woolin'', a man in a fit of temper threw his three-month-old son onto a wall, causing head injuries from which he died. Although death was certain and the father should have realized, he did not in the least desire that his son be killed or harmed. The English
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...
sentenced him for
manslaughter Manslaughter is a common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black ...
, but not murder. If a defendant has foresight of death or serious injury the jury may, but is not bound to, find the requisite ''mens rea''. A lower threshold of ''mens rea'' is satisfied when a defendant recognizes that some act is dangerous but decides to commit it anyway. This is recklessness. For instance if C tears a gas meter from a wall to get the money inside, and knows this will let flammable gas escape into a neighbor's house, he could be liable for poisoning. This is called "subjective recklessness," though in some jurisdictions "objective recklessness" qualifies as the requisite criminal intent, so that if someone ought to have recognized a risk and nevertheless proceeded, he may be held criminally liable. A novel aspect of the law on intention is that if one intends to harm somebody, it matters not who is actually harmed through the defendant's actions. The doctrine of
transferred maliceTransferred intent (or transferred ''mens rea'', or transferred malice, in English law) is a legal doctrine that holds that, when the intention (criminal law), intention to harm one individual inadvertently causes a second person to be hurt instead, ...
means, for instance, that if a man strikes another with his belt, but the belt bounces off and hits a nearby woman, the man is guilty of
battery Battery may refer to: Energy source * Electric battery, an electrochemical device to provide electrical power ** Automotive battery, a device to provide power to certain functions of an automobile ** List of battery types * Energy storage, inclu ...
toward her. Malice can also be general, so that
terrorist Terrorism, in its broadest sense, is the use of intentional violence to achieve political aims. The term is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence during peacetime Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the ...

terrorist
s who plant bombs to kill random people are certainly guilty. The final requirement states that both an ''actus reus'' and a ''mens rea'' coincide. For instance, in '' R v Church'', For instance, Mr. Church had a fight with a woman which rendered her unconscious. He attempted to revive her, but gave up, believing her to be dead. He threw her, still alive, in a nearby river, where she
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ed. The court held that Mr. Church was not guilty of murder (because he did not ever desire to kill her), but was guilty of
manslaughter Manslaughter is a common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black ...
. The "chain of events", his act of throwing her into the water and his desire to hit her, coincided. In this manner, it does not matter when a guilty mind and act coincide, as long as at some point they do. *'' R v Steane''
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KB 997, defective intent to help the Nazis, by doing radio broadcasts, rather than help family *''
Fagan v Metropolitan Police Commissioner ''Fagan v Metropolitan Police Commissioner'' is a leading case that confirms the need for concurrence (or coincidence) of ''actus reus'' (Latin for "guilty act") and ''mens rea'' (Latin for "guilty mind") in most offence (law), offences of the cr ...
''
969 Year 969 ( CMLXIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar in , was a reform of the Roman calendar. It took effect on , by edict. It ...
1 QB 439 *'' R v Parker''
977 Year 977 ( CMLXXVII) was a common year starting on Monday A common year starting on Monday is any non-leap year A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or year) is a that contains an additional day (or, in the case of a , a month) ...
1 WLR 600 *'' R v Heard''
007 The ''James Bond'' series focuses on a fictional British Secret Service The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6, is the foreign intelligence service of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain ...
EWCA Crim 125 *'' R v Faulkner'' (1877) 13 Cox CC 550 mens rea for one act does not transfer to others


Strict liability

Not all crimes have a
mens rea ''Mens rea'' (; Law LatinLaw Latin, sometimes written L.L. or L. Lat., and sometimes derisively called Dog Latin Dog Latin, also known as Cod Latin, macaronic Latin, mock Latin, or Canis Latinicus, refers to the creation of a phrase In everyd ...
requirement, or the threshold of culpability required may be reduced. For example, it might be sufficient to show that a defendant acted
negligently
negligently
, rather than intentionally or recklessly. In offences of
absolute liability Absolute liability is a standard of legal liability found in tort and criminal law Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It proscribes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property ...
, other than the prohibited act, it may not be necessary to show anything at all, even if the defendant would not normally be perceived to be at fault. England and Wales has
strict liability In criminal law, criminal and Civil law (common law), civil law, strict liability is a standard of Public liability, liability under which a person is legally responsible for the consequences flowing from an activity even in the absence of Tort, ...
offences, which criminalize behavior without the need to show a criminal mens rea. Most strict liability offences are created by statute, and often they are the result of ambiguous drafting. They are usually regulatory in nature, where the result of breach could have particularly harmful results. An example is
drunk driving Drunk driving (or drink-driving in British English) is the act of driving under the influence Driving under the influence (DUI) is the offense of driving, operating, or being in control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol (drug), alcohol ...
. *'' R v Woodrow'' (1846) 15 M&W 404 selling impure food, strict liability, overturning '' R v Dixon'' (1814) 3 M. & S. 11 that required mens rea *''
R v Stephens ''R v Stephens'' (1866) is an English criminal law, public nuisance in English land law, land law and vicarious liability case decided by the Queen's Bench that applied a strict liability standard (that is no requirement of mens rea) to the violat ...
'' (1866) LR 1 QB 702 strict liability for dumping refuse into a river, despite the defendant (ostensibly) having no knowledge *'' Betts v Armstead'' (1888) LR 20 QBD 771 *''Fitzpatrick v Kelly'' (1873) LR 8 QB 337 food safety *''Sweet v Parsley'' [1970] AC 132 mens rea needed for liability for cannibis being smoked on premises, statutory construction presumes a mens rea *''R v Lambert'' [2001
UKHL 37
cocaine possession claiming no knowledge *Road Traffic Act 1988 s 3ZB


Corporate crime

Serious torts and fatal injuries occur as a result of actions by company employees, have increasingly been subject to criminal sanctions. All torts committed by employees in the course of employment will attribute liability to their company even if acting wholly outside authority, so long as there is some temporal and close connection to work. It is also clear that acts by directors become acts of the company, as they are "the very ego and centre of the personality of the corporation." But despite
strict liability In criminal law, criminal and Civil law (common law), civil law, strict liability is a standard of Public liability, liability under which a person is legally responsible for the consequences flowing from an activity even in the absence of Tort, ...
in tort, civil remedies are in some instances insufficient to provide a deterrent to a company pursuing business practices that could seriously injure the life, health and environment of other people. Even with additional regulation by government bodies, such as the Health and Safety Executive or the Environment Agency, companies may still have a collective incentive to ignore the rules in the knowledge that the costs and likelihood of enforcement is weaker than potential profits. Criminal sanctions remain problematic, for instance if a company director had no intention to harm anyone, no ''
mens rea ''Mens rea'' (; Law LatinLaw Latin, sometimes written L.L. or L. Lat., and sometimes derisively called Dog Latin Dog Latin, also known as Cod Latin, macaronic Latin, mock Latin, or Canis Latinicus, refers to the creation of a phrase In everyd ...
'', and managers in the corporate hierarchy had systems to prevent employees committing offences. One step toward reform is found in the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. This creates a criminal offence for Manslaughter in English law, manslaughter, meaning a penal fine of up to 10 per cent of turnover against companies whose managers conduct business in a Gross negligence, grossly negligent fashion, resulting in deaths. Without lifting the veil there remains, however, no personal liability for directors or employees acting in the course of employment, for Corporate manslaughter (England and Wales), corporate manslaughter or otherwise. The quality of a company's accountability to a broader public and the conscientiousness of its behaviour must rely also, in great measure, on its governance. *Criminal Finances Act 2017 *Proceeds of Crime Act 2002


Participatory and inchoate offences

*Encouraging or assisting crime - Part 2 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 *Soliciting to murder, contrary to section 4 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 *Aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of an offence *Conspiracy (crime), Conspiracy, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 *Conspiracy to defraud *Conspiracy to corrupt public morals *Conspiracy to outrage public decency *Attempt, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 Parts 1 to 3 of Schedule 3 to the Serious Crime Act 2007 list numerous statutory offences of assisting, encouraging, inciting, attempting or conspiring at the commission of various crimes. *''R v Shivpuri'' [1986
UKHL 2
reversing ''Anderton v Ryan'' [1985
AC 560
attempting the impossible *''R v Anderson'' [1986] AC 27 *''R v Betts and Ridley'' (1930) 22 Cr App R, accessory to crime need not be present *''R v Clarkson'' (1971) 55 Cr. App. Rep. 445 for aiding and abetting, need evidence of actually encouraging a crime *''R v Gnango'' [2011
UKSC 59
joint enterprise *''R v Jogee'' [2016] UKSC 8 joint enterprise in a stabbing, need to act or encourage an offence *''R v Reed'' [1982] Crim. L.R. 819 suicide pact conspiracy *''R v Richards'' [1974] 1 QB 776 accomplice cannot be convicted of worse offence than the main actor even if he has the mens rea for one ;Inchoate *Serious Crime Act 2007 ss 44-46 *Criminal Law Act 1977 ss 1-5 *Criminal Justice Act 1987 s 12 and 1988 s 39 *''Wai Yu-tsang v R'' [1992] 1 AC 269 *''R v Stracusa'' (1990) 90 Cr App R 340 *''R v Sadique''
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EWCA Crim 1150 ;Complicity *''R v Stringer (Ian)'' [2012] EWCA Crim 1396 *''R v Rook'' [1993] Crim LR 698 *''R v Giametto'' [1997] 9 Cr App R 1 *''R v Daley'' [2015] EWCA Crim 1515 *Terrorism Act 2000 s 11


Criminal offences


Homicide

*''R v Wallace'' (1931) 23 Cr App R 32 murder conviction overturned for being unreasonable *''R v Adams'' [1957] Crim LR 365 *''R v Hancock'' [1985] UKHL 9, foresight needed for murder *'' R v Dear'' [1996] Crim LR 595 chain of causation not broken for murder when wounds reopened by victim *''R v Woollin'' [1999] 1 AC 82 *''R v Golds'' [2016
UKSC 61
*Road Traffic Act 1988 s 143 *Infanticide Act 1938 s 1 *Homicide Act 195 ss 2-4 *''R v Adomoako'' *''R v Ahluwalia'' *''Attorney General's Reference (No 3 of 1994)'' [1998] AC 245 *''R v Brennan'' [2014] EWCA Crim 2387 *''R (Nicklinson) v Ministry of Justice'' [2014] UKSC 34


Sexual offences

*Sexual Offences Act 1956 *Sexual Offences Act 2003 *Protection from Harassment Act 1997 ss 1-4 *''R v R'' [1991] UKHL 12 a husband can be convicted of raping wife *''R v Evans and McDonald'' [2012] EWCA Crim 2559 rape verdict overturned *''R v Bowden'' [2000] 2 All ER 418, child pornography *''R v Prince'' (1875) LR 2 CCR 154 responsibility for underage sex even though belief girl was 18, not 14 *''R v Penguin Books Ltd'' DH Lawrence, ''Lady Chatterley's Lover'' (1960) and the Obscene Publications Act 1959 *''R v Peacock'' [2012] conviction quashed under the Obscene Publications Act 1959 for hardcore pornography *''R v Oluboja'' [1982] QC 320 *''R v McNalley''
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EWCA Crim 1051 *''R v Bree''
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EWCA Crim 804 *''R v B''
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013
EWCA Crim 823 *''R (F) v DPP''
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EWHC 945


Other personal offences

*Offences Against the Person Act 1861 *''R v Savage'' [1992] UKHL 1, mens rea for assault *''R v Coney'' (1882) 8 QBD 534, bare knuckle fight with consent still assault and actual bodily harm *''R v Brown'' [1993] UKHL 19 consent not a defence to sadomasochistic harm *Offences against the Person Act 1861 *''R v Constanza'' [1997] 2 Cr App Rep 492 meaning of assault, need not be immediate *Serious Crime Act 2007 *Protection from Harassment Act 1997 ss 1-4 *''R v Wilson (Alan)'' [1997] QC 47 *''R v Colohan'' 001EWCA Crim 1251 *Mental Capacity Act 2005 ss 2-3


Theft and property crime

*Theft Act 1968 and Theft Act 1978 *Offences under the Explosive Substances Act 1883 *Offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 *''Oxford v Moss'' (1979) 68 Cr App Rep 183, information could not be property *''R v Morris; Anderton v Burnside'' [1984] UKHL 1 meaning of "appropriates" *''R v Hinks'' [2000] UKHL 53 meaning of "appropriates" *''R v Lawrence v Metropolitan Police Commissioner'' [1972] AC 262, appropriation of property, taxi cab *''R v Marshall'' [1998] 2 Cr App R 282 *''R v Hall'' [1973] 1 QB 126 *''R v Hale'' [1979] Crim LR 596 *''R v Bloxham'' [1983] AC 109 *''R v Gomez'' [1993] AC 442 *''R v Hayes'' [2015] EWCA Crim 1944 *''Haughton v Smith''
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AC 476, no crime of handling when goods not stolen *Burglary and Blackmail *''R v Collins'' [1973] QB 100, entering as a trespasser for burglary *''R v Garwood'' [1987] Crim LR 476 *Unauthorised access to computer material *Unauthorised impairment of a computer *Impairing a computer to cause damage


Fraud

*Fraud Act 2006 *''Ivey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd'' [2017] UKSC 67, Ivey was unable to claim £7.7m in winnings from the Genting Casinos because he had won by cheating, by ‘edge sorting’ with an accomplice, at a card game called Punto Banco. Supreme Court held the 'fact-finding tribunal' should establish a defendant's actual state of mind and then judge whether their conduct was honest or not according to the objective standards of ordinary decent people. *Theft Act 1968 s 32 ‘cheating the Revenue’ is an offence *''R v Chaytor'' [2010] UKSC 52, false accounting for Parliamentary expenses, no privilege protection *''R v Ingram, C., Ingram, D. and Whittock, T., R v Ingram'' [2003] EWCA Crim, cheating by coughing to win Who wants to be a millionaire *''R v Kylsant'' [1931] falsifying Royal Mail trading prospectus *''R v Valujevs'' [2014] EWCA Crim 2888 *Forgery *Offences under Part I of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 *Falsification of pedigree, contrary t
section 183(1)(b)
of the Law of Property Act 1925 *Improper alteration of the registers, contrary t
section 124
of the Land Registration Act 2002 *Offences unde
section 8
of the Non-Parochial Registers Act 1840 *Offences under sections 36 and 37 of the Forgery Act 1861 *Forgery of passport, contrary t
section 36
of the Criminal Justice Act 1925 *Offences under sections 133 and 135 of the County Courts Act 1984 *Offences unde
section 13
of the Stamp Duties Management Act 1891; and supplementary offences under section
14
an
15
*Offences unde
section 6
of the Hallmarking Act 1973 *Offences unde
section 126
of the Mental Health Act 1983 *Offences under section
121
an
122(6)
of the Gun Barrel Proof Act 1868 Motor vehicle document offences: *Offences under section 97AA and 99(5) of the Transport Act 1968 *Offences under section 65 of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 *Offences under section 115 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 *Offences under section 173 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 *Offences under regulations 11(1) to (3) of the Motor Vehicles (E.C. Type Approval) Regulations 1992 (S.I. 1992/3107) made under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 (UK), European Communities Act 1972 *Offences under section 44 of the Vehicles Excise and Registration Act 1994 *Offences under regulations 10(1) to (3) the Motor Cycle (E.C. Type Approval) Regulations 1995 (S.I. 1995/1531) made under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 (UK), European Communities Act 1972 *Offences under section 38 of the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995 *Personation *Personation of a juror *Offences under section 90(1) of the Police Act 1996 *Offences under section 30(1) of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 *Offences under section 34 of the Forgery Act 1861 *Offences under section 24 of the Family Law Reform Act 1969 *Offences under section 60 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 *Cheating (law) *Offences under section 17 of the Gaming Act 1845 *Offences under section 1 of the Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951


Criminal damage

*Criminal Damage Act 1971 *''R v G'' [2003] UKHL 50 subjective recklessness standard abolishing ''R v Caldwell'' [1982] AC 341 *''Morphitis v Salmon'' [1990] Crim LR 48, scratch to scaffolding pole was de minimis damage and not criminal *Crime and Disorder Act 1998 s 30 *''R v Steer'' [1987] UKHL *''R v Hill and Hall'' (1989) 89 Cr App R 74


Offences against the state

*
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*Misprision of treason *Compounding treason *Treason felony *Attempting to injure or alarm the Sovereign, contrary to section 2 of the Treason Act 1842 *Contempt of the sovereign *Trading with the enemy *Offences under the Official Secrets Acts 1911 to 1989 *Offences under the Incitement to Disaffection Act 1934 *Causing disaffection, contrary to section 91 of the Police Act 1996 *Causing disaffection, contrary t
section 6
of the Ministry of Defence Police Act 1987 *Incitement to sedition or disaffection or promoting industrial unrest, contrary to section 3 of the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act 1919 *Offences of procuring and assisting desertion under military law *Offences relating to terrorism *Offences of directing quasi military organisations and wearing uniforms for political purposes under the Public Order Act 1936 *Piracy iure gentium *Piracy with violence, contrary to the Piracy Act 1837 *Offences under the Slave Trade Act 1824 *Offences under the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870 *Offences under the Immigration Act 1971 *Coinage offences under Part II of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 *Offences relating to public stores under the Public Stores Act 1875 *Offences relating to military stores under military law *Offences against postal and electronic communication services *Misconduct in public office *Refusal to execute public office *Offences of selling public offices under the Sale of Offices Act 1551 and Sale of Offices Act 1809 *Purchasing the office of clerk of the peace or under-sheriff, contrary t
section 27
of the Sheriffs Act 1887 *Cheating the public revenue *Offences under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 *Tax evasion and money laundering offences *Offences against military law in the United Kingdom


Other offences

* Offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985, the Licensing Act 2003, section 7 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and other provisions relating to tobacco, and the Drug Trafficking Act 1994. * Offences under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. *Gun law, Firearms and offensive weapons offences (see also Gun politics in the United Kingdom) *Offences under section 1(1) of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 *Offences under sections 139 and 139A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 *Offences under the Knives Act 1997 *Offences under sections 75 to 77 of the Marriage Act 1949 *Offences under section 2 of the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860 *Offences under Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880#Section 7 – Burials to be conducted in a decent and orderly manner and without obstruction, section 7 of the Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880 *Offences under section 59 of the Cemeteries Clauses Act 1847 *Offences under articles 18 and 19 of the Local Authorities' Cemeteries Order 1977 (SI 1977/204) *Doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice – a.k.a. perverting the course of justice, defeating the ends of justice, obstructing the administration of justice *Concealing evidence, contrary to section 5(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1967 *Contempt of court, specifically criminal contempt *Intimidation, contrary to section 51(1) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 *Taking or threatening to take revenge, contrary to section 51(2) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 *Perjury, contrary to section 1 of the Perjury Act 1911 *Perjury, contrary to section 6 of the Piracy Act 1850 *Offences under sections 2 to 4 of the Perjury Act 1911 *Making a false statutory declaration, contrary to section 5 of the Perjury Act 1911 *Offences under section 6 of the Perjury Act 1911 *Fabrication of false evidence *Offences under section 89 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 *Offences under 106 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 *Offences under section 11(1) of the European Communities Act 1972 (UK), European Communities Act 1972 *Escape *Permitting an escape *Assisting a prisoner to escape, contrary to section 39 of the Prison Act 1952 *Breach of prison/breaking prison *Rescue/rescuing a prisoner in custody *Harbouring an escaped prisoner, contrary to section 22(2) of the Prison Act 1952 *Taking part in a prison mutiny, contrary to section 1(1) of the Prison Security Act 1992 *Offences under section 128 of the Mental Health Act 1983 *Causing a wasteful employment of the police, contrary to section 5(2) of the Criminal Law Act 1967 *Administering an unlawful oath, contrary to section 13 of the Statutory Declarations Act 1835 *Offences under the Public Order Act 1986 *Offences under section 31 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 *Offences under Part V of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 *Offences under Part II of the Criminal Law Act 1977 *Offences under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 *Bomb hoaxes, contrary to section 51 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 *Offences against public morals and public policy *Bigamy, contrary to section 57 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 *Offences under section 2(1) of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 (see also Obscenity and Indecency) *Offences under section 2(2) of the Theatres Act 1968 *Certain offences under the Postal Services Act 2000 *Offences under section 1(1) of the Indecent Displays (Control) Act 1981 *Offences under section 1(1) of the Protection of Children Act 1978 *Offences under section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 *Offences under section 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 consisting of importation in breach of the prohibition under section 42 of the Customs Consolidation Act 1876 *Offences under the Bribery Act 2010 *Cruelty to animals#United Kingdom, Cruelty to animals *Environmental crime *United Kingdom traffic laws, Traffic offences *Mayhem (crime), Mayhem *Kidnapping *False imprisonment *Cheating the public revenue *High treason *Misprision of treason *Compounding treason *Misconduct in public office *Refusal to execute public office *Public nuisance *Outraging public decency *Conspiracy to defraud *Conspiracy (crime)#Conspiracy to corrupt public morals or to outrage public decency, Conspiracy to corrupt public morals or to outrage public decency *Common assault aka assault *Battery (crime), Battery *Assault with intent to rob


Criminal defences

The defences which are available to any given offence depend on the wording of the
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...

statute
and rules of the common law. There are general defences. Insanity defense, Insanity, Automatism (law), automatism, Mistake (criminal law), mistake and Self-defense (theory), self defence operate as defences to any offence. Inadvertence due to Intoxication defense, intoxication is a defence to all offences requiring proof of basic intent if the intoxication is involuntary, and in cases where the risk would not have been obvious to a reasonable and sober person and/or the defendant, if it is voluntary, and to offences that require proof of a specific intent. Duress and necessity operate as a defence to all crimes except murder, attempted murder and some forms of treason. Marital coercion is a defence to all crimes except treason and murder. *''Connolly v DPP''
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EWHC 237 (Admin) no Human Rights Act 1998 defence for sending graphic pictures of abortions, considered malicious *''Director of Public Prosecutions v Camplin'' [1978] UKHL 2, provocation, now Coroners and Justice Act 2009 loss of control *''R v Oye''
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EWCA Crim 1725 *''R v Quayle''
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EWCA Crim 1415 *''R v Martin (Anthony)'' 001EWCA Crim 2245 *''R v Coley''
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EWCA Crim 223 *''Re A'' 0012 WLR 480 *''R v Hitchens'' [2011] EWCA Crim 1626 *''R v Howe'' [1987] AC 417 *''R v Ray (Steven) [2017] EWCA Crim 1391


Partial defences to murder

There are two main partial defences that reduce murder to manslaughter. If one succeeds in being declared "not guilty by reason of insanity" then the result is going to an asylum, a clearly inadequate result for somebody suffering from occasional epilepsy, epileptic fits, and many conditions unrecognized by nineteenth century medicine. The law has therefore been reformed in many ways. One important reform, introduced in England and Wales by statute is the diminished responsibility defence. The requirements are usually more lax, for instance, being "an abnormality of mind" which "substantially impair[s] mental responsibility for his acts and omission in doing or being a party to the killing." Loss of control may be pleaded under sections 54 and 55 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. Infanticide now operates as a defence to both murder and manslaughter. See the Infanticide Act 1938 as amended by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.


Insanity

Insanity is a deranged state of mind, and consequently no defence to strict liability crimes, where ''mens rea'' not is a requirement. An old case which lays down typical rules on insanity is ''M'Naghten's case'' where a man suffering extreme paranoia believed the Conservative Party (UK), Tory party of the United Kingdom, were persecuting him. He wanted to shoot and kill Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, but got Peel's secretary in the back instead. Mr M'Naghten was found to be insane, and instead of prison, put in a mental hospital. The case produced the M'Naghten rules, rules that a person is presumed to be sane and responsible, unless it is shown that (1) he was laboring under such a defect of reason (2) from disease of the mind (3) as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong. These elements must be proven present on the balance of probabilities. "Defect of reason" means much more than, for instance, absent mindedness making a lady walk from a supermarket without paying for a jar of mincemeat. A "disease of the mind" includes not just brain diseases, but any impairment "permanent or transient and intermittent" so long as it is not externally caused (e.g. by drugs) and it has some effect on one's mind. So epilepsy can count, as can an artery problem causing temporary loss of consciousness (and a man to attack his wife with a hammer). Diabetes may cause temporary "insanity" and even sleep walking has been deemed "insane". "Not knowing the nature or wrongness of an act" is the final threshold which confirms insanity as related to the act in question. In ''R v Windle'' a man helped his wife commit suicide by giving her a hundred aspirin. He was in fact mentally ill, but as he recognized what he did and that it was wrong by saying to
police The police are a Law enforcement organization, constituted body of Law enforcement officer, persons empowered by a State (polity), state, with the aim to law enforcement, enforce the law, to ensure the safety, health and possessions of citize ...

police
"I suppose they will hang me for this", he was found not insane and guilty of murder.


Automatism

Automatism is a state where the muscles act without any control by the mind, or with a lack of consciousness. A successful automatism defence negatives the ''actus reus'' element of a crime. If someone raises this defence, then it is for the prosecution to legal burden of proof, disprove. Automatismic actions can be a product of insanity, or not. One may suddenly fall ill, into a dream like state as a result of post traumatic stress, or even be "attacked by a swarm of bees" and go into an automatic spell. However to be classed as an "automaton" means there must have been a total destruction of voluntary control, which does not include a partial loss of consciousness as the result of driving for too long. Automatism can also be self-induced, particularly by taking medical treatment. Self-induced automatism can always be a defence to crimes of specific intent (such as murder, wounding or causing grievous bodily harm with intent, theft, robbery and burglary). But automatism is no defence to other crimes (i.e. of basic intent, e.g.
manslaughter Manslaughter is a common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black ...
, assault and
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) if the defendant was reckless in becoming automatismic ''or'' it happens through alcohol (drug), alcohol or illegal drugs. Only where the defendant does not know his actions will lead to an automatismic state where he could harm something can self-induced automatism be a defence to these crimes. For example, in ''R v Hardie'' Mr Hardie took his girlfriend's Valium, because she had just Relationship breakup, kicked him out and he was Depression (mood), depressed. She encouraged him to take them, to make him feel better. But he got angry and set fire to the wardrobe. It was held that he should not be convicted of
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because he expected the Valium to calm him down, and this was its normal effect. *''Hill v Baxter'' [1958] 1 QB 277, dangerous driving, when automatism possible


Intoxication

Technically, intoxication is not a defence, but negates the mens rea for specific intent offenses (e.g. it commutes a murder sentence to manslaughter). In other words, a defendant may have been so drunk, or drugged, that he was incapable of forming the criminal intention required. Voluntary intoxication is considered Recklessness (law), reckless, a state of basic intent, which means one cannot have one's sentence reduced for crimes of basic intent (e.g. manslaughter, assault, etc.). So for instance, in ''R v Sheehan and Moore'' two people threw petrol on a homeless person and set fire to him. They were cleared of murder, but were still convicted of
manslaughter Manslaughter is a common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black ...
, since that is a crime of basic intent. Of course, it can well be the case that someone is not drunk enough to support any intoxication defence at all. On the other hand, if someone becomes involuntarily intoxicated, because his drink is laced or spiked, then the question is whether the normal ''mens rea'' was present at the incident's time. So where a blackmailer drugged a man's coffee, invited him to sexual abuse, abuse a 15-year-old boy, and photographed it, the man was denied the defence of intoxication because the court simply did not believe that the man did not intend to commit the abuse. Sometimes intoxicated people make mistakes, as in ''R v Lipman'' where the defendant took LSD, thought his girlfriend was a snake and strangled her. Here, intoxication operated as a defence because Mr Lipman was mistaken in his specific intent of killing a snake. But intoxication does not negate the basic intent crime of manslaughter, with his "reckless course of conduct" in taking drugs. Lastly, while a mistake about a person or the actual action is acceptable, a mistake about how much force to use to defend oneself is not. Using a sledgehammer to fend off an "attacker" after 20 pints of beer is disproportionate. *''R v O'Grady'' [1987] QB 995 voluntary intoxication


Mistake

*''Williams (Gladstone)'' [1987] 3 All ER 411, mistake of fact depends on reasonableness


Self defence

In all instances one may only use reasonable, and not excessive, force in self defence. In ''R v Clegg'' a soldier in Northern Ireland shouted at a car approaching a checkpoint to halt. When it did not, Mr Clegg fired three shots, killing a woman. She was hit in the back, and Mr Clegg was sentenced for murder because by then the car had passed, the force was excessive and there was no justification for self-defence. Another way of expressing the rule on defensive force is that it must be proportionate to the threat. For instance, as the notorious case of ''R v Martin'' shows, shooting a teenager in the back with a shotgun several times as he tries to escape is not a justified or proportionate exercise of self-defensive force for the Norfolk farmer, even if robbers had trespassed on his property. In that case, Mr Tony Martin (farmer), Martin was found to have diminished responsibility for his actions, because he was mentally ill.


Duress

One who is "under duress" is forced into something. Duress can be a defence for all crimes, except murder, attempted murder, being an accessory to murder and treason involving the death of the Sovereign. In ''R v Howe'' it was held that to allow the defence of duress as a defence to murder would, in the words of Lord Hailsham, withdraw the protection of the criminal law from the innocent victim and cast the cloak of its protection upon the coward and the poltroon - ordinary people ought to be prepared to give up their lives to the person making the threat in preference to killing an innocent. ''R v Gotts'', in a similar fashion, disallowed the defence of duress for someone charged with attempted murder, as the Lords could not see a reason why the defence should be open to an attempted murderer when it was not open to a murderer. In order to prove duress, it must be shown that the defendant was induced by threats of death or serious physical injury to either himself or his family that he reasonably believed would be carried out and that also that "a sober person of reasonable firmness, sharing the characteristics of the accused" would have responded in the same way. Examples of someone's characteristics that might be relevant are age, gender, pregnancy, physical disability, mental illness, sexuality, but not IQ. Using duress as a defence is limited in a number of ways. The accused must not have foregone some safe avenue of escape. The duress must have been an order to do something specific, so that one cannot be threatened with harm to repay money and then choose to rob a bank to repay it, because that choice implies free will. Intoxication is irrelevant to duress, but one cannot also say one is mistaken about duress, when intoxicated. Then a number of cases turn on the choice to join a gang, and inevitably do bad things. The rule is that where one is aware of the gang's nature and puts himself in a position where he could be threatened, duress is not a defence - joining a gang that carries out armed robberies probably precludes any duress defence but joining a gang that is not violent at the time of joining may not. *''R v Hasan''
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UKHL 22, duress, threat of serious injury


Necessity

Whilst a duress defence relates to the situation where a person commits an offense to avoid death or serious injury to himself or another when threatened by a third party, the defence of necessity related to the situation where a person commits an offense to avoid harm which would ensue from circumstances in which he/she or another are placed. Duress operates as an excuse but necessity operates as a justification, rendering the defendant's conduct lawful. Necessity is a defence that argues "I desperately needed to do X, because consequence Y would have been really bad." Logically, this is identical to the concept of "duress of circumstance", where the situation rather than a person is the threat. The common elements are (1) an act is done to prevent a greater evil (2) the evil must be directed to the defendant or someone for who he is responsible (3) the act must have been a proportionate response. But only necessity is a potential defence for murder. The defence of necessity was first tested in the 19th century English case of ''R v Dudley and Stephens''. The ''Mignotte'', sailing from Southampton to Sydney, sank. Three crew members and a cabin boy were stranded on a raft. They were starving and the cabin boy close to death. Driven to extreme hunger, the crew killed and cannibalism, ate the cabin boy. The crew survived and were rescued, but put on trial for murder. They argued it was necessary to kill the cabin boy to preserve their own lives. John Coleridge, 1st Baron Coleridge, Lord Coleridge, expressing immense disapproval, ruled, "to preserve one's life is generally speaking a duty, but it may be the plainest and the highest duty to sacrifice it." The men were sentenced to hanging, hang, but public opinion, especially among seafarers, was outraged and overwhelmingly supportive of the crew's right to preserve their own lives. In the end, the Royal prerogative, Crown commuted their sentences to six months. Since then, in the 1970s, in several road traffic cases, although ''obiter dicta'', it has been stated that there is a defence of necessity. In ''Johnson v Phillips'' [1975], Justice Wein stated that a police constable would be entitled to direct motorists to disobey road traffic regulations if this was reasonably necessary for the protection of life or property. In a later case, ''Woods v Richards'', Justice Eveleigh stated that the defence of necessity depended on the degree of emergency which existed or the alternative danger to be averted. In ''DPP v Harris'' a police officer, charged with driving without due care and attention through a red traffic light contrary to s 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, and having collided with another vehicle containing armed robbers whilst pursuing that vehicle, was not allowed to advance the defence of necessity. Again in Chicon v DPP [1994] the defence of necessity was not allowed in a case of a pit bull terrier dog being kept in a public place without a muzzle - the owner had removed the muzzle to allow the dog to drink. But in the case of ''In re F (Mental Patient Sterilization)'', the defence of necessity was allowed. In the case of ''R v Bournewood Community and Mental Health NHS Trust'', the defence of necessity (in the case of Tort law) was recognized and applied by the House of Lords to justify the informal detention and treatment of a mentally incompetent person who had become a danger to himself. This approach was subsequently found to be a violation of Article 5 of the European Convention of Human Rights by the European Court of Human Rights in ''HL v United Kingdom''. Subsequent to this decision, individuals who lack capacity must be deprived of their liberty in accordance with the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (an amendment to the Mental Capacity Act 2005), not under the common law doctrine of necessity. But more recently, duress of circumstance and necessity have been recognized and used by courts. In a leading case, ''Re A (Conjoined Twins)'',''Re A (Conjoined Twins)'' [2000] 4 All ER 961 conjoined twins were born, one reliant on the other for her heart and lungs. Unless they were separated, both would die, but if separated, the reliant twin would die, the doctors therefore being liable to prosecution for murder. It was, however, held that in this special and incredibly sensitive situation, that the separation was necessary to save the first twin's life.


Procedure and sentencing

In the United Kingdom, a criminal case against Mr Smith is styled ''R v Smith''. "R" is short for Rex or Regina, that is, the Monarchy of the United Kingdom, King or Queen, and the "v" stands for "versus". *''Woolmington v DPP'' [1935] UKHL 1, presumption of innocence *''Rice v Connolly'' [1966] 2 QB 414, right to refuse to answer questions if not under arrest *Judges' Rules (1912), Right to silence in England and Wales, adverse inferences not to be drawn from silence before arrest. The rule was already long established at common law in relation to silence during trial; both rules were weakened by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 *''R v Waterfield'' [1963] 3 All E.R. 659 police power to stop and detain, an assault charge against an officer was invalid as the officer was not acting in execution of duty *''R v Cheshire'' [1991] 1 WLR 844 role of the jury in finding causation *''Connelly v DPP'' [1964] AC 1254 no double jeopardy, but can be tried a second time for a different offence. The rule against double jeopardy was weakened by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 *''R v Wang''
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1 WLR 661 judge cannot direct a jury to find a guilty verdict *''R v Davis''
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UKHL 36, witness anonymity *''R v Incedal and Rarmoul-Bouhadjar'' (2014) terrorism trial not to be held in secret *Hearsay in English law There is a Sentencing Council. This power is now created by section 163 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 It was formerly created by each of the following provisions in turn: *The Criminal Justice Act 1948, section 13. Only applied to felony. *The Criminal Law Act 1967, section 7(3). Only applied where no enactment specified a maximum fine. *The Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973, section 30(1). Amended by the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997, section 55 and Schedule 4, paragraph 8(3). The Criminal Law Act 1977, Schedule 13 repealed "limiting the amount of the amount of the fine that may be imposed or" and see section 32(1) (removed all statutory limits on fines imposed on convictions on indictment). Repealed in part by the Criminal Justice Act 1991, Schedule 13. *The Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, section 127. A general power of Crown Court to impose a sentence of imprisonment on conviction on indictment is created by section 77 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 It was formerly created by each of the following provisions in turn: *The Criminal Law Act 1967, section 7(1) *The Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973, section 18(1)


International criminal law

*International law *Nuremberg Tribunal *International Criminal Court *International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia *International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda *Rome Statute


Criminal law theory

*Crime in the United Kingdom *Crime in London *Law enforcement in the United Kingdom


See also

*Crown Prosecution Service *List of English criminal offences *English tort law *Scottish criminal law *Law_of_Northern_Ireland#Criminal_law, Northern Irish criminal law *Lurking doubt


Notes


References

* * * * * * * * * *


External links


Directgov
Crime and justice (Directgov, England and Wales) {{DEFAULTSORT:English Criminal Law English criminal law,