Criminal Law Essey

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  • Topic: Criminal law, Actus reus, Mens rea
  • Pages : 5 (1761 words )
  • Download(s) : 18
  • Published : February 8, 2013
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Liabilities of Natalia:
As far as the first scenario is concerned Natalia decided to frighten Otto and Pamela. In order to prove criminal liabilities we need to prove Actus reus , Mens rea and Causation. In the given scenario we see that due to angriness Natalia wanted to frighten her former boyfriend and his new girlfriend, Pamela. To fulfil her intention she took some petrol and poured it through the letterbox of the house where the couple were living, setting fire to it by using a lighted match. So there is Actus reus and Mens rea existed. Unknown to Natalai Otto and Pamela were absent at the moment and Ruth, Pamela’s mother, was staying at the house to care for Pamela’s children, Steven and Tina. As a result Ruth died at the scene and Pamelas children Steven and Tina badly injured. It is clearly stated in the scenario that it was unknown to Natalia. And her intention is to frighten Otto and Pamela. So it may be said that guilty mind i.e. Mens rea to frighten Ruth Steven and Tina is absent there. In the given scenario it is expressly stated that Ruth died on the spot due to fire caused by guilty act done by Natalia. So there is Causation and no dought that the death of Ruth is the result of Natalias act. If that is the case Natalia may be held criminally liable for the death of Ruth. There also a pre arranged plan and state of mind existed.

In the given scenario it is expressly stated that Natalias intention was to frighten Otto and Pamela. Not to frighten Ruth, Steven and Tina. But it can be infrared that it was not unknown to Natalia to live Steven and Tina with their mother Pamela together with Otto in that house. Criminal intention can be further broken into two groups, direct and oblique. A direct intention is the willful desire to commit an act. It must be understood that the intention sufficient to amount to mens rea is only the intention to perform the required criminal act, not an intention for the result to occur. Assault occasioning actual bodily harm[1] is a good example here. The requisite mens rea is intention to cause frighten. If Natalia intentionally frighten Ruth and harm results, She is guilty of the offence. The fact that she does not intend harm is irrelevant. She intended to do the act, and harm is simply a by-product. Mens Rea does not have to be proven in relation to one or more elements comprising the actus reus although intention, recklessness or knowledge may be required in relation to other elements of the offence. Natalia should have waited until Otto and Pamela was seen to live in the house before starting the fire. The reasonable person would have foreseen a probability that people would be exposed to the risk of injury. Anyone in the house, neighbors, people passing by, and members of the fire service would all be in danger. In English law[2] provides a statutory framework within which mens rea is assessed. It states: English law is a formal term of art that describes the law for the time being in force in England and Wales. ... A court or jury, in determining whether a person has committed an offence, (a) shall not be bound in law to infer that he intended or foresaw a result of his actions by reasons only of its being a natural and probable consequence of those actions; but (b) shall decide whether he did intend or foresee that result by reference to all the evidence, drawing such inferences from the evidence as appear proper in the circumstances. [3]Therefore, the jury is allowed wide latitude in applying a hybrid test to impute intention or foresight (for the purposes of recklessness) on the basis of all the evidence. If the prosecution can prove Actus reus, Mens rea and Causation Natalia may be held liable. Now we can discuss whether any self-defence for Ntalia from criminal liabilities. In order to release from criminal liability Natalia has to prove that, Otto and Pamela provoked her, she has no intention to frighten Ruth, Steven and Tina. And the death of Ruth Steven and...
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