In order to establish a successful conviction
of murder, a prosecution must prove that the criminal act was caused by the
conduct of the accused (actus reus), and the prescribed state of mind (mens rea).
The definition of murder is ‘the unlawful
killing of a reasonable creature in being under the Queen’s peace with malice
aforethought’1. The
actus reus for murder is the unlawful killing of a reasonable creature in
being, and the mens rea is the malice aforethought which was established in Moloney2
(the intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm (GBH)). Intent is a
compulsory element of an offence that must be proved to be convicted for
murder, if not then the offence will be manslaughter.

There are two types of manslaughter; Voluntary
and Involuntary manslaughter. The actus reus for involuntary manslaughter and
murder is the same. Anthony’s liability for the death of Zaheer, Richard and
Yasser shall be considered in details below.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

Death
of Zaheer:

 It
could be argued that Anthony has committed an unlawful act by placing a bomb
under a car parked with the aim of detonating it in order to draw attention to
his cause. This, however, resulted in the death of Zaheer. It could be argued
that Anthony has the actus reus for murder (the unlawful killing of a
reasonable person), but the mens rea is difficult to establish. Evidently, it
could be argued that Anthony does not have the intention to kill Zaheer, his
motive was to draw attention to his cause to the development of genetically
modified crops, which was why he detonated the bomb at 3am on Sunday. In Mohan3,
‘direct intention was defined as a
decision to bring about a consequence, in sofar as it lies within the accused’s
power, irrespective of whether the accused desired that consequence of his act
or not’. In this case, direct intention cannot be proved.

However, it is possible to establish oblique
intention. This arises when a defendant does ‘a prohibited act in other to bring about one particular circumstances
but it is highly likely another result will occur’. If this is the case,
Zaheer’s death may be intended by Anthony, even though he may not have desired
it. Was death or GBH the consequence and aim of the defendant? And did the
defendant recognise it as virtual certainty? The House of Lords struggled with
this question, however, the Court of Appeal in Nedrick4 held
‘that where the charge is murder and in
the rare cases where the simple direction is not enough, the jury should be
directed that they are not entitled to find the necessary intention, unless
they feel sure that death or serious injury was a virtual certainty (bearing
some unforeseen intervention) as a result of the defendant’s actions and that
the defendant appreciated that such was the case’. The judge must direct
the jury to find intention, although, this is not compulsory as it was
established by the Court of Appeal in Mathews
and Alleyne5 ‘that if the two questions are answered
‘Yes’ the jury may but does not have to find intention’.

Oblique intention has been developed over the
years by case law, it was confirmed and modified in Woolin6, the
word ‘Infer’ was replaced with ‘find’ by lord Steyn, it was stated that
‘if the consequence could be foreseen as
a virtual certainty the intention of murder could be found rather than
inferred’. In this case, it could be argued that Anthony did not foresee
the consequence of Zaheer dying as virtually certain, he never thought anybody
would be on the street at 3am on Sunday, and so the jury would not be directed
to find intention from this. Nevertheless, considering the fact that Zaheer is
a police officer, it could be argued that he is performing his duty by
patrolling the street to ensure security. This does not mean Anthony has intent
to murder. Therefore, he would not be guilty for Murder.

Death
of Richard:

In Richard’s case, following the critical
direction principle discussed above in woolin7,
was death or GBH the consequence and aim of the defendant? It could be argued that
death or serious harm was never his aim as he timed the bomb to detonate on
Monday, when he knew the store is usually closed. Also, it is evident that he
had no foresight that Richard or anybody could be under the store considering
the fact that it is usually closed on Mondays. Thus, he would not be liable for
murder.

Death
of Yasser:

 In
Yasser case, it is clear that Anthony did foresee death or serious injury as virtually
certain. He knew the bomb is primed to detonate at noon on a Monday when the
street is usually busy. It could be argued that Deansgate is a part of
Manchester which is usually busy, and there is no way a bomb detonated at noon
would not cause serious injury or death. He knew it may be possible for people
to be on the street but nevertheless did not foresaw that Yasser would be the
victim. Therefore, Anthony would be guilty of the murder of Yasser, both actus
reus and mens rea have been proved.

As Anthony could not be convicted for the murder
of Zaheer or Richard his liability for manslaughter will now be considered.

There are three types of involuntary
manslaughter; constructive manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter and
Cunningham recklessness manslaughter. In most cases, the three types of
involuntary manslaughter is always present.

Constructive manslaughter involves causing
death while committing an unlawful or dangerous act. The actus reus is the same
as for murder (unlawful killing of a
reasonable person who is in being under the Queen’s peace). In this case,
it could be argued that Anthony has committed an Aggravated offence of Criminal
Damage, under s 1(2) of The Criminal Damage Act 19718,
and the mens rea is ‘destruction or
damage to property’.

In order for Anthony to be convicted for
constructive manslaughter, there are three element that must be proved; the defendant commit an unlawful act, the
unlawful act must be dangerous, the unlawful act must be the substantial cause
of the death. The defendant must commit an unlawful act; it is not
necessary to prove that Anthony’s act was unlawful or dangerous, simple that he
intended to do the act. Whether the act is unlawful is clearly a question for
the judge or jury, this was provided for in the case of Lamb9
Sachs LJ, noted; ‘that the act must be unlawful in the criminal sense of the
word’. Similarly in Andrews v DPP10
Lord Atkin held ‘that the unlawful act
must be a criminal one which requires more than negligence on the part of the
accused’. It is clear that Anthony has committed a criminal damage, and
although the jury must be satisfied that Anthony had the required mens rea for
this offence, as he clearly intended to cause damages. Anthony may argue he did
not realise placing a bomb outside was dangerous but his contention will not
succeed as it was held by the House of Lords in DPP v Newbury11
and Jones12 ‘that this is a question of fact for the
jury and the prosecution does not have to prove that the accused recognized the
risk of danger’. Thus, Anthony has committed an unlawful act.

The second requirement is the unlawful act
must be dangerous, it must be likely to cause injury.it must be noted that this
is an objective test, so the question is would a reasonable person think the
act is dangerous? This was illustrated in Larkin13 and
was further explained in Church14 it
was held that ‘the unlawful act must be
such as all sober and reasonable people would inevitably recognise, must
subject the other person to at least the risk of some harm resulting therefrom,
albeit not serious harm’. It could be argued that Anthony have recognised
that if anybody had been at the scene, they would be at risk of some harm. This
is demonstrated from the fact that he envisaged that death or serious injury
might occur in the third bomb. Therefore, it is irrelevant whether or not
Anthony realised that the detonation of the bombs would subject the victims to
serious harm, the important thing is that a reasonable person would have
realise this. Anthony thus satisfy the objective test of unlawful act is
dangerous.

The third element that must be proved is that
the unlawful act was the substantial cause of the death. It must be substantial
cause but need not be the only cause. If an intervening act (Novus Actus Interveniens) breaks the
chain of causation between the defendant’s unlawful act and the death, then
this element will not be satisfied. Also, the unlawful act does not have to be
directed at the victim15. In
this case, the fact that Anthony planted the bomb is not an act directed at the
victims is irrelevant, it was held in Goodfellow16 ‘that it was not necessary for the act
directed to be directed at the victim, all that is necessary is that there is
no fresh, intervening cause between the act and the death’. Therefore,
Anthony is liable for manslaughter for the death of Zaheer and Richard as there
was no break in chain of causation. So with all the three element of
constructive manslaughter proved, Anthony would be guilty of Manslaughter for
the Zaheer and Richard. When looking at Yasser death, there is an intervening
act that could break the chain of causation.

If any of the constituent part of unlawful act
cannot be established, killing by gross negligence may be proved. For a person
to be convicted under gross negligence manslaughter the following conditions
must be proved; the accused owed a duty of care to the victim, a gross breach
of that duty, the gross breach of duty causes the victims death17.
With reference to R v Adomako18, it
could be argued that Anthony owed duty of care to Zaheer and Richard; and that
he breached the duty of care to such an extent that he created a risk of death19,
and the breach was sufficiently gross to warrant being regarded as criminal20.
In Attorney-General’s reference (No. 2 of
1999)21 it
was held ‘that the offence of killing by
gross negligence can be established’ without proof of mens rea on the part
of Anthony, although evidence of his state of mind might be relevant in
assisting the jury in determining the extent to which negligence was gross.

Cunningham recklessness MS requires that the
defendant must be aware of the risk and still go on with it. In Lidar22,
the Court of Appeal affirmed ‘that the
defendant must foresee the risk of serious injury as highly probable and take
the unreasonable risk of it’. It is possible that Anthony foresaw that if
anybody was present at the time the bomb detonated then they were at risk of
suffering serious injury or death, he may not have foreseen the risk of Zaheer
and Richard suffering serious injury as highly probable. Nevertheless, it is
likely that Anthony would be found guilty of Cunningham reckless manslaughter.

 

However, when considering Yasser death, there
is an intervening act of death caused as a result of failure to diagnose a
ruptured spleen, which could break the chain of causation. In other to
establish a conviction for manslaughter, it must be proved that the bomb
planted by Anthony is the primed cause of the death. Factual causation will be
established; ‘but for test’ (but for the defendant’s conduct the victim
would not have died). If Anthony had not planted the bomb, Yasser would not
have been injured for him to be taken to the hospital. In the legal causation,
the defendant’s act must have contributed to the circumstances. It was held in Dalloway23
‘that even if the defendant had been
exercising all due care and control he would not have been able to avoid
injuring the girl as she jumped out in front of the cart without any warning.
But for his negligence the girl would not have been killed’. Anthony’s act
of detonating the bomb contributed to Yasser’s death.

Furthermore, the defendant’s act must be a
substantial or operating cause of the consequence, and must be more than
minimal (more than a de minimis)24. It
could be argued that Anthony’s act was a substantial and operating cause of the
victim’s death, and without the bomb blast, Yasser would not have suffered
serious injury that requires a clinical treatment. In Pagett25 the
court held ‘that the defendant act were
found to be the substantial cause of the consequences and he was found guilty
of murder. His act were not the sole cause of death, but it was a contributory
factor of the death, as there can be contributory factors’.

The general rule is that medical negligence
does not break the chain of causation, but ‘this
is subject to the exception that if the medical negligence was so independent
of the act of the accused and in itself capable of causing death, that the jury
regard the contribution made by the accused as insignificant, which then amount
to a break in causation’. In R v
Jordan26
Beldam LJ states that; ‘it will only be
in the most extraordinary and unusual case that such treatment can be said to
be so independent of the acts of the accused that it could be regarded in law
as the cause of the victim’s death to the exclusion of the accused’s act’.
But in Smith27
the judgement was isolated as the case depends on its fact. However, provided
the chain of causation is broken by supervening factors such as negligent
medical treatment as held in Mellor28. It
is possible for the medical negligence to be just a contributory action and
does not break the chain of causation. Nevertheless, it could be argued that failure
to diagnose medicine could amount to a break in chain of causation, and allow
the victim escape liability. Even if the evidence is capable of showing that
failure to diagnose medication to Yasser were the sole cause of the death, the
court might still conclude that this was not ‘so independent of the acts of the accused’ and not sufficient to
break the chain of causation.

In conclusion, as mentioned earlier, the three
types of involuntary manslaughter could apply in any manslaughter case. Therefore,
from the above discussion, it could be argued that Anthony would be guilty of
the three types of involuntary manslaughter for Zaheer and Richard, and for the
murder of Yasser. Although it was not his aim to cause death or serious injury
to any of the three, but it was virtually certain to result from his actions,
and a reasonable person would have recognized the possible danger which indeed
resulted from his actions.

Word
Count: 2,485.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography:

A. Ashworth, ‘Principles of Criminal Law’ (6th Edition, (2009),
Oxford University Press)

D. Ormerod, ‘Smith and Hogan’s Criminal Law’ (13th Edition, (2007),
Palgrave Macmillan)

J. Dine, J. Gobert and W. Wilson, ‘Cases and Materials on Criminal Law’ (5th
Edition (2006), Oxford University Press)

J. Loveless, ‘Criminal Law: Text, Cases and Materials’ (2nd Edition,
(2010), Oxford University Press)

R. Card, Cross and Jones: ‘Criminal Law’ (20th Edition, (2010), Oxford University
Press)

 

Legislation:

The Criminal Damage Act 1971

 

 

Table of Cases:

Andrews
v DPP 1937 AC 576

Attorney-General’s
reference (No. 2 of 1999 2000 3 All ER 182

Church
1966 1 QB 59

Dalloway
(1847) 2 Cox CC 273

DPP v
Newbury 1977 AC 500

Evans
(Gemma) 2009 EWCA Crim 650

Goodfellow
1986 83 Cr App Rep 23 CA

Jones
1976 2 All ER 365

Lamb
1967 c15 Cox cc 163

Larkin
1943 KB 174 CA

Lidar
2000 4 Archbold News 3, CA

Mathews
and Alleyne 2003 EWCA Crim 192

Mellor
1996 2 Cr App R 245

Mohan
1976 QB 1 CA

Nedrick
1986 3 All ER 1 CA

Pagett
(1983) 76 Cr App R 152

R v
Adomako 1994 3 WLR 288

R v
Jordan (1956) 40 Cr App R 152

Smith
(1959) 2 All ER 193

Woolin
1999 2 AC 82

 

 

1Sir
Edward Coke, 3 Inst 47

21985
AC 905 HL

31976
QB 1 CA

41986
3 All ER 1 CA

52003
EWCA Crim 192

61999
2 AC 82

7
1999 2 AC 82

8
‘Which states that; ‘ A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages
any property whether belonging to himself or another-

a) intending to destroy or damage any property or
being reckless as to whether any property would be destroyed or damaged; and

b) intending by the destruction or damage to endanger
the life of another or being reckless as to whether the life of another would be
thereby endangered;

shall be guilty of an offence’.

91967c15
Cox CC 163

101937
AC 576

11
1977 AC 500

12
1976 2 All ER 365

131943
KB 174 CA

141966
1 QB 59 CA

15 R
v Mitchell 2008 EWCA Crim 850

161986
83 Cr App Rep 23 CA

17 R
v Adomako 1994 3 WLR 288

181994
3 WLR 288

19
Evans (Gemma) 2009 EWCA Crim 650

20
(1925) 19 Cr App R 8

212000
3 All ER 182

22
2000 4 Archbold News 3, CA

23(1847)
2 Cox CC 273         

24Cheshire
1991 3 All ER 670

25(1983)
76 Cr App R 279

26(1956)
40 Cr App R 152

271959
2 All ER 193

281996
2 Cr App R 245