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Intention In Criminal Cases Essay

1813 words - 7 pages

The key issue in this case is Intention. The big question, which I will try to answer, is whether or not Chris and Dorris intended to kill Andrew. Intention can often be linked to the Mens Rea, which can also be described as the guilty mind. Most crimes have to have included a Mens Rea and an Actus Reus. Without the Mens Rea there is no crime unless a reasonable man could foresee the outcome. Therefore Chris could be held liable for the death of Andrew even though he did not intend to kill him, his only intentions were to save Bill. The reason for this is that Doris a doctor gave her professional opinion to him, which gave him the foresight of the death and made him liable. However Chris would have a number of defences the first would be that he had a duty to fulfil, as a fireman he has the duty of saving lives. If he simply omitted to carry out his duty then he would be in breach of his contracted service to the public. So he had to act in the correct way as to how he felt was best. It could also be argued that he acted out of necessity and chose the lesser of two evils. The first option he had was to leave the both of them and let them die, the second was to let one die and save the other. The first option was the worst action to carry out and the second was the better of actions. So his actions were just. Necessity works as a complete defence however there is some confusion as to when necessity is involved as the courts are not clear as to whether it works or not. They have developed Duress of Circumstance, which works for all crimes apart from treason, murder, or attempted murder. In a similar case Re A 2001 Fam. 147 where doctors won the right to separate two conjoined twins to save the life of the other, after the parents appealed the Judge said while the wishes of the parents were entitled to great respect, the court was obliged to determine the issue on the basis that the welfare of the children was paramount. However in the case of Dudley and Stephens the court would not allow it. But in Buckoke v GLC 1971 chancery 655 where a fire engine jumped a red light whilst racing to a blaze. Lord Denning said that there was no defence for the driver. However he should not be prosecuted but congratulated. So clearly there is some confusion as to whether it works or not but I feel that this would be a strong defence.Doris could also be held liable for aiding and abetting the murder but I feel that she could use all of the above information in her favour as well and the defences would work just the same for her as well.Steane (1947) KB 997, The appellant, a British subject who before the war had been employed as a film actor in Germany, was convicted on a count of entering the service of the German broadcasting system in January, 1940. Before he consented to broadcast he had been much ill treated by the Germans and had received a threat that if he refused to broadcast his wife and children would be put in a concentration camp. Held, the prosecution...

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