Intention in criminal cases essay

It is his purpose to cause it; or II. Pedain, however, disagrees: "A terrorist, who plants a bomb not necessarily foreseeing death or serious injury as virtually certain, can nevertheless be found to have the intention required for murder if attention is paid to the terrorist's attitude to the risk he creates.

Did the defendant foresee that consequence as being a natural consequence of his act? Speaking of intention with regards to murder is particularly difficult. He suggests that because of this, the definition of oblique intent should be reviewed.

If the higher Cunningham standard is allowed to be applied to rape and the lower Caldwell standard is applied to criminal damage, does this mean that property is better protected than people? However both intention and recklessness carry problems with them in their definitions.

Intention in criminal law

Did the defendant foresee that his act would be virtually certain to cause death or serious harm? As of today this is how the law stands, though the courts do not follow it slavishly they are nevertheless good guidelines. Woollin, in its leading judgment from Lord Steyn, distanced itself from the principle of Hyam formulation of foresight of a probable, or highly probable, consequence as the mens rea for murder. If these questions are answered in the affirmative, it was said that this is a proper inference for the jury to draw that the defendant intended the consequence. If a defendant commits an act with a specific aim in mind, and he succeeds in bringing about his aim, it can be said that he directly intended this consequence, and therefore, has direct intent. Speaking of intention with regards to murder is particularly difficult. It would seem that the courts have indeed attempted on several occasions to clarify the meaning of intent. The definition of objective recklessness is now held to be synonymous to that of negligence, as they both require the unconscious taking of a risk. The first crucial note to make is that both intention and recklessness reflect a degree of choice. Attempts to define intention Over the years, there have been difficulties in defining precisely what is meant by intention. There are various emotive issues at play and judges are mindful of the consequence of a mandatory life sentence for those found guilty of murder. The questions to be asked as to whether the defendant had oblique intention were therefore: 1. But their conviction was quashed because it was entirely up to the jury to decide what degree of foresight is required for an inference of intention.

Whilst Woollin is accepted in general, as the judgment of Rix LJ in Matthews demonstrates, the legal definition of intention is still not watertight. There are various emotive issues at play and judges are mindful of the consequence of a mandatory life sentence for those found guilty of murder.

types of mens rea

Conclusion Having now looked at both intention and recklessness, I will now look at some of the similarities and differences between them.

If a defendant commits an act with a specific aim in mind, and he succeeds in bringing about his aim, it can be said that he directly intended this consequence, and therefore, has direct intent.

Recklessness is an alternative fault element for offences such as manslaughter, criminal damage and offences against the person. In a similar vein, Norrie argues that Woollin has not clarified the law as regards intention: "a broader moral conception of malice

Ulterior intent

He suggests that because of this, the definition of oblique intent should be reviewed. Others from the orthodox subjectivist tradition, such as Glanville Williams and Andrew Ashworth also supported the move. Conclusion Having now looked at both intention and recklessness, I will now look at some of the similarities and differences between them. In the case of Hancock and Shankland [6] it was stressed that the probability of the consequence occurring is important in deciding if there is evidence from which to infer intention. If these questions are answered in the affirmative, it was said that this is a proper inference for the jury to draw that the defendant intended the consequence. In addition to this, it must also be proved that the defendant formed the necessary mens rea to the offence. If a defendant commits an act with a specific aim in mind, and he succeeds in bringing about his aim, it can be said that he directly intended this consequence, and therefore, has direct intent. He jury are entitled to infer its decision from all evidence available. Nedrick Subsequent to Hancock and Shankland, Lord Lane CJ in the case of Nedrick made a return to a narrower definition of the level of foresight required for oblique intention in murder. Oblique intent was defined by the Law Commission in the Draft Criminal Code for England and Wales as when a person acts with a practical certainty that the proscribed result will occur.
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(DOC) Intention in the English Criminal Law