Cases - Offences Against the Person

Case Name

Key piece of information


Main aim of the D based on the evidence was the consequence of the crime = direct intent, eg ,murder


Indirect intention to kill cannot be inferred by jury unless it was a VC based on the evidence and D appreciated this.


Intention cause GBh which results in death automatically becomes an intention to kill = implied malice.


D will not have unlawfully killed the V even if he has a mistaken belief as to the use of force, as long at the unreasonable force is an instinctive reaction based on an honest belief.


Jury must find indirect intention if on the evidence death was VC and D appreciated this.


Factual causation is satisfied if But for D’s actions the V would not have died.

Malchareck and Steel

A reasonable creature in being stops existing once the V is brain dead. Switching off the life support machine does not break the chain of causation.

AG Ref No3 1994

A reasonable creature in being starts as a human being when they can breathe unaided.


Unlawful killing includes taking your V’s physical and metaphysical beliefs as you find them, even though D may not be aware of religious beliefs of V.


Substantial cause of death means more than a minimal cause, or more than slight or trifling.


D must be the substantial and operating cause of death to prove he legally caused death.

Matthews and Alleyne

The Woollin test is a rule of evidence that the jury don’t have to follow when working out if D had indirect intention kill.


You must take your V as you find them including any unknown physical conditions.


Even though Pretty’s husband would be killing wife as she wanted this as a mercy killing he would get the same mandatory life sentence as a serial killer.


Unlawful killing – Excessive force will be an unlawful killing where D has planned the attack and is no longer in danger.


Mandatory life sentence is fair to mass murderers.

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